Chicago & West Michigan Railway
Exact Location:
Newaygo County- southwest of White Cloud.
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Chicago & West Michigan RR logo
Logo of the Chicago & West Michigan Railway

The Chicago & West Michigan Railway consisted of several lines. The branch which the NCT crosses began as the Muskegon and Big Rapids Railroad in 1873. Like many early railroads, it quickly went bankrupt, and in 1876 became part of the Chicago & West Michigan Railway. This line operated until 1899, when it was purchased by the Pere Marquette Railway. This line was abandoned, possibly around 1926.

Chicago West Michigan RR bed crossing the North Country Trail
the view northeast on the former Chicago & West Michigan RR from the NCT (photo by jhy)

 The fact that this rail bed has remained quite clear of trees indicates that the berm was well-built. Note that the road's nickname was the Fruit Belt Line.

Surprisingly, southern Michigan was noted for growing fruit before the logging era. This line carried peaches and apples to Chicago.

Chicago West Michigan RR inspection car
Chicago & West Michigan inspection car (photo Stoner collection, UMB)
This inspection car looks particularly "steampunk." Picture it rolling along this berm on its way to White Cloud. The Muskegon to Big Rapids route was a nearly straight line from southwest to northeast. At White Cloud (currently a Trail Town), there was a junction with the White River RR, which ran north to Bitely.

Also see:
Pere Marquette Railway

Michigan Railroads
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The North Country National Scenic Trail is 4800 miles long, spanning eight states. For more information, visit the North Country Trail Association