Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad
Exact Location:
Kent County- Rockford to Cedar Springs
Grand Rapids & Indiana RR logo
Grand Rapids & Indiana logo (from a defunct rootsweb site)
The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad was chartered in 1854 with the goal of connecting Grand Rapids, Michigan, with cities in Indiana. The first 20 miles of rail opened in 1867, between Grand Rapids and Cedar Springs, Michigan. Eventually, the GR&I ran from Cincinnati, Ohio to the Straits of Mackinac, and was the longest north-south line in the country in 1891, retaining its name, but operating as a branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Much of the route is now the Fred Meijer White Pine rail-trail. The North Country Trail is concurrent for 7.5 miles, from Rockford to Cedar Springs, some of the oldest miles of the GR&I.

After the end of the logging era, the railroad advertised itself as a means to travel to the north for recreation and fishing. It was soon nicknamed The Fishing Line.

Notable passengers include hunters traveling to Petoskey for the last nesting passenger pigeon hunt. The GR&I transported many of the harvested woods which made Grand Rapids the Furniture City.

The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad ceased operation in 1984, but a portion of the track is still in use from Cadillac to Petoskey as the Great Lakes Central Railroad.

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The North Country National Scenic Trail is 4600 miles long, spanning seven states. For more information, visit the North Country Trail Association