New Web Site Launched

The Port Huron And Detroit Railroad Historical Society is proud to announce the launch of their new web site. The goal of the new site is to be an information portal into all of the projects that the society tackles.

Model Engine Display Steams Up

From the Times Herald.
Residents show off mini trains.bilde-300x215
Where the rail forks near the former Port Huron & Detroit Railroad Company office building, traffic was heavy Saturday.
Fifteen small-scale live steamers ran throughout the day on three circular tracks, the longest of which was 92 feet.
It was all part of an event co-sponsored by the Port Huron & Detroit Railroad Historical Society and the Michigan Small Scale Live Steamers.
“People accuse us of playing with our trains, but we operate our trains,” said Tom Myers of Shelby Township, the treasurer of the steamers group.
Myers owns 17 live steamers. He brought four of them to Saturday’s event.
Between 100 and 120 people stopped by to see the train action throughout the day, said Bud Gilbert, president of the historical society.
“I think we did pretty good, considering the weather,” Gilbert said.
The historical society has 62 members and the steamers group has about 30 members.
“To have somebody like these guys in the club, it’s so unique,” Gilbert said of the steamers group. He said it’s uncommon for train models to include live-action steam engines.
Some of the steamer members had visited the railroad site before, but it was the group’s first time participating in an event there, Myers said. The location, which includes a roundhouse, is at 2100 32nd St.
“It’s a fantastic facility,” said steamer member Will Lindley of Livonia. “To be able to have a chance to preserve it is important. Historically, the building is in such good shape for its age.”
Lindley owns nine or 10 model trains. He brought two with him for the event, including an actual coal-fired locomotive.
The historical society’s next event is expected to be within three weeks when the group brings in the Port Huron & Detroit Railroad Company’s full-scale caboose, which was bought new in 1947. It last rode the rails 26 years ago, Gilbert said.
That is an event Lindley said he’d like to see.
“That’s exciting to get an original piece of equipment and, being steel, it should be in pretty good shape,” he said.
“To be able to recover that caboose — once they’re gone, they’re gone.”

City Is End Of The Line For Caboose

From The Times Herald .
The caboose is no longer on the loose.
It’s back in Port Huron, where many people believe it belongs.
The Port Huron and Detroit Railroad Historical Society took a big step Saturday in bringing a slice of railroad history back to the city, as they returned a caboose that was used by the company from 1946 to 1984.
The society hopes to put the rail car to work again, as part of a historical center at the company’s old headquarters, off 32nd Street.
“To have a piece of rolling stock back after 20 years is pretty neat,” said Port Huron and Detroit Railroad Historical Society president Bud Gilbert. “We are really lucky to have it.”
The caboose arrived in pieces Friday night, coming from Walled Lake, where it had been part of the Michigan Star Clipper Dinner Train.
Volunteers worked throughout Friday evening and Saturday morning to put the pieces back together.
One of those volunteers was Bruce Sawdon, 79, of Marysville, who worked for the company for 33 years, including 13 at the company’s roundhouse.
“It’s a piece of history,” he said. “It brings back a lot of memories. It hasn’t changed that much.”
Gilbert said Sawdon looked like a “kid in a candy store,” after seeing the caboose again.
Catherine Houghton, 92, of Port Huron also came out to see the caboose. Her family owned the railroad for more than 60 years.
“The railroad was not like other businesses. It was alive. We felt pretty strongly about it and wept tears when the last train went through,” she said. “It was a family thing.”
Houghton also mentioned she was ready to get back to work and help paint the caboose in its original two-tone blue and white.
“She truly loved it,” Gilbert said. “Her family was the railroad.”
Society members couldn’t contain their smiles in looking at the history.
“It’s very rewarding,” said member Ted Frantz, of Wadhams. “This is a big step forward. Most of these are being used for scrap metal. We are glad we are able to save this ‘junk.”