GTW Shore Line Subdivision

The Detroit & Toledo Shore Line Railroad as seen on a map of the GTW from the 1956 book Handbook of American Railroads by Robert G. Lewis. It shows the GTW Holly Sub and the Mount Clemens Sub as double track territories, and clearly illustrates the Shore Line's role as a bridge line for GTW traffic to and from Toledo. What is does not show is the parallel NYC rail that is now the Conrail and NS Detroit Line, nor does it show the parallel DT&I north of FN Tower that is now the GTW River Spur. We are grateful for this clarity!

The Territory

The Grand Trunk Western Shore Line Subdivision was once the Detroit & Toledo Shore Line Railroad Company (D&TSL). It served as a bridge line for joint owners NKP and GTW until N&W sold its half to GTW in 1981. From that time forward the Shore Line Sub has been lengthened to include territory that was once part of the Wabash Rwy from Rouge Bridge to West Detroit, as well as territory that was part of the GTW Mount Clemens Sub.

The Shore Line sub parallels the NS Detroit Line from the Michigan/Ohio State Line northward all the way to Gibraltar. From there it parallels the Conrail Detroit Line all the way to River Rouge Yard where it briefly diverges toward the NS Rouge Bridge and then back again to parallel the Detroit Line from Delray north to West Detroit, whereupon it parallels the Conrail North Yard Branch as far as North Yard (at a location called Forest Lawn on GTW).

It runs on the east side of the Detroit Line right of way from Ohio to FN Tower in Trenton, where is crosses over both mains to the west side. At CP-BEAUBIEN on the North Yard Branch it crosses back over to the east side of Conrail property.

Dizzy yet? Don't be, because at FN the GTW River Spur joins in on the fun, running parallel to both the Detroit Line and the Shore Line Sub from there to CP-MILL on the Detroit Line, creating a wide right of way shared by 4 mainline tracks and 3 subdivisions of 2 railroads. Visually, it is very impressive: Four mainline tracks running straight and parallel, each separated by earthen right of way with cattails and grasses and wetlands instead of ballast. It is like this, to varying degrees, all the way from FN Tower in Trenton to CP-MILL in Ecorse.

Through traffic from GTW Flat Rock Yard or Toledo Lang Yard to Durand or Port Huron uses the The Shoreline Sub north from FN Tower to NS River Bridge and CSX Delray to Milwaukee Junction OR uses a brand new connection from the Shore Line Sub called COOLIDGE to get onto the Conrail Detroit Line south of CP-YD in order to bypass the NS Bridge/Delray mess altogether. Trains return to GTW rail at CP-VINEWOOD.

Coolidge is the long-awaited answer to the congestion at Ecorse Jct., NS Bridge, CSX Delray, and the Dix Ave. interlockings. Previously, northbound GTW (CNIC) trains would have to hold at Ecorse Jct., and southbound trains would have to hold at CP West Detroit and or Delray until these interlockings were clear of cross traffic. Now, they can skip all of this congestion if Conrail has a clear route for them between CP YD and CP Vinewood.

The latter is a big if. Jim Harlow writes: " Ever since the D&TSL and/or GTW has operated on the Wabash past Waterman Ave. (called "Dix Ave." in the past GTW ETTs - and a SEPARATE interlocker apart from CP Waterman), all trains operating by here have been snarled and confounded here by the yard operations of the MC/LS&MS/NYC, etc., taking place at the South Receiving Yard part of the Livernois Yard complex. This should be continuing right up to the present day. I recall that when I worked at West Detroit tower, we'd have to hold those poor Trunks until their trains crews and dispatchers cried bloody murder, waking the GTW Superintendent up in the middle of night to wake up and call the CR Superintendent about their delays, and the like -- No Foolin Here. The reason was all the switching traffic that crossed the Wabash mains at Waterman, and the switching traffic at Livernois Yard crossing the Wabash/GTW at West Detroit. Now - the switching traffic at West Detroit has virtually disappeared since the closing down of most operations at Livernois Yard, BUT still continues at CP Waterman (Dix), especially during the early evening when the "vansite" next to the South Receiving Yard is being switched for the night "fleet's" intermodal traffic pickups (those trains originating at Sterling and North yards and running south out of Detroit). If you could see how the switches on CR are laid out at Waterman, I think you would be amazed. As one follows the track from the CP Waterman interlocking towards the South Receiving, one first crosses the double track of the former Wabash, and then comes immediately to a hand-throw switch just outside of the interlocking limits on this lead. The right-hand side of this switch is the lead into the Vansite, where various tracks begin to fan out off that track, and the left-hand track is the lead into South Receiving, where tracks immediately fan out from that track also. What happens there in the evening is that the Vansite job first switches the Vansite to block the intermodal pickups cars, then drags them out of that yard and places them on different tracks in the South Receiving Yard - and maybe also on the two sidings paralleling the CR No. 1 track between CP West Detroit and CP Waterman (called the "NYC Passing Track" and "No. 1 in the NYC", east to west). In dragging out these cuts south out the Vansite, the switcher uses a stub-ended track from a hand-throw switch located between the CP Waterman and Dix Ave. interlockings, so that the CR mains aren't tied up. Now -- once all the loaded intermodal cars are taken out of the Vansite, the switcher replaces them with empty cars, for loading the next day, or cars that need unloading -- from either the South Receiving Yard or the two sidings between CP West Detroit and CP Waterman. This switching process consumes HOURS of time in the early evening. And if the operators DARED to hold up this switching job by running a GTW in either direction by there, they would, at the very least, lose most of their skin, and get threatened by the CR trainmaster with their jobs! Holding up switching would might mean delaying a CR southbound for his pickup, thereby creating a blockage on the CR mains. Sometimes, those CR southbounds were well over a mile in length, so stopping at CP Waterman for a pickup would mean West Detroit and CP Scotten would be entirely sewn up with these long trains, blocking ALL the east-west CR tracks at West Detroit. If this sounds like a nightmare, oh Yes, it was, and probably still is, as I assume that NS and CSX trains still pickup intermodal traffic at Waterman on their way out of town at night. This area was not designed to handle long trains performing these maneuvers."

Local traffic from Flat Rock or Trenton to Downriver industries will stay on the River Spur and continue north to GTW South Yard. There is very little Local traffic on the Shore Line Sub north of FN.

The Shore Line Sub is double track from mp 4.6 Milwaukee Junction south to mp 0 West Detroit where it is single track as it crosses the Conrail Michigan Line. At mp 50.1 it becomes double track to mp 47.8 Delray where it again narrows to one track, becoming double track at mp 47.7 until returning to single track at mp 43.2 Ecorse. It is single track from there all the way to Toledo.

Locations of note (North to South):

  • milepost 4.6 Milwaukee Junction (junction with the GTW Holly Sub)
  • 53.8 Beaubien Street (crossing with Conrail North Yard Branch, junction with GTW Tunnel Industrial Track, location of Detroit Amtrak station)
  • 51 Vinewood (junction with Conrail North Yard Branch)
  • 50.2 West Detroit (Conrail Michigan Line crossing)
  • 47.8 Delray (CSX Detroit Subdivision crossing)
  • 47.0 NS River Bridge (junction with NS Detroit District)
  • 46.7 Victoria Avenue (Conrail Junction Yard Secondary crossing)
  • 46.2 Pleasant Street (This is where GTW will park a northbound train while awaiting clearance through NS bridge and Delray)
  • 46.0 Dearoad
  • 44.9 Coolidge (junction with Conrail Detroit Line)
  • 43.2 Ecorse (Beginning of Double Track, location also known as "Mill Street" on the GTW River Sub and Conrail Detroit Line...a good, safe place to railfan that is directly adjacent to an abandoned Great Lakes Steel rolling mill)
  • 38.9 Sibley
  • 37.3 FN (junction with GTW River Sub, crossing with Conrail Detroit Line)
  • 36.8 Trenton (north siding switch)
  • 34.7 Edison Yard(Local support yard for Rockwood sand and Monsanto chemical business)
  • 34.1 Denby (Conrail McLouth Steel Industrial Track crossing)
  • 31.2 Rockwood (Sand spur)
  • 30.0 South Rockwood
  • 28.5 Chapman (South Siding Switch)
  • 22.5 Stoney Creek (Detroit Edison Fermi II spur)
  • 18.7 Monroe (NS Monroe Ford Lead crossing)
  • 18.6 Warner (North Siding Switch)
  • 16.8 Plum Creek (NS Monroe Detroit Edison lead crossing)
  • 16.2 Greenings (South Siding Switch)
  • 13.9 Mortar Creek
  • 7.7 Vienna (North Siding Switch)
  • 3.4 Lang-Vienna Industrial Track (to the Consumer's Power Whiting Power Plant)
  • 2.0 Lang Yard
  • 0.2 Junction with CSXT Toledo Terminal SD

Text and data graciously provided by Shawn O'Day, Brad (the GTW Freak) Kindschy, and Jerry Sundin.
Jim Harlow's text Copyright 2002 by Jim H. Harlow

The Trains

GTW Train 508 (Toledo Lang - Trenton turn) is moving northward at mp 31.2 over the Huron River in Rockwood Michigan in April 1995. He is pulling many D&TSL sand hoppers this day, a normal consist for him. Finding a train with D&TSL reporting marks in its consist is a rare thing anymore.

Photograph Copyright 1995-2002 Jeff Knorek

Traffic volume is moderate to heavy, depending on what side of Trenton you are, with some 4-6 to 10-12 trains each day. Somewhat lighter on weekends. Train symbols that ply all or part of the GTW Shore Line Subdivision include:


  • 242 (Flint - CSX Toledo Stanley) Manifest
  • 243 (CSX Toledo Stanley - Flint) Manifest
  • 258 (Battle Creek to IORY Cincinnati via Flat Rock) Racks
  • 264 (Flat Rock - Oshawa) Empty Racks
  • 265 (Toronto Mac Yard to Cincinnati via IORY) Loaded Racks

CNIC Inter Divisional

  • 380 (Flat Rock - London) Manifest
  • 381 (London - Detroit Flat Rock) Manifest, usually has truck frames at the head end
  • 382 (CSX Toledo Stanley - Toronto) Manifest
  • 383 (Toronto - CSX Toledo Stanley) Manifest
  • 385 (Toronto - Detroit Flat Rock) Manifest, heavy on auto parts
  • 386 (Detroit Flat Rock - Toronto) Manifest
  • 388 (Detroit Flat Rock - Montreal) Manifest

CNIC Intra Divisional

  • 413 (Cincinnati - Pontiac) Manifest
  • 455 (Flat Rock - Battle Creek) Manifest
  • 456 (Battle Creek - Detroit East Yard) Manifest


  • 508 (Toledo Lang - Trenton turn) Local

Misc. Unit

  • 732 (North Bay - Toledo Lang [CSXT]) Sulphuric Acid
  • 745 (Kitchener - Flat Rock) Budd Frames
  • 748 (Toledo Lang - Montreal) Grain Load


  • 750 (BRC Chicago - River Rouge Detroit Edison) Coal Loads
  • 751 (River Rouge Detroit Edison - BRC Chicago)
  • 752 (UP Proviso - River Rouge Detroit Edison) Coal Loads
  • 753 (River Rouge Detroit Edison - UP Proviso)
  • 754 (UP Proviso - River Rouge Detroit Edison) Coal Loads
  • 755 (River Rouge Detroit Edison - UP Proviso) Coal Empties

Trains 750, 752, and 754 come southward off of the Holly Sub down the Shore Line to Edison yard, and then get on the Industrial Track between Vreeland and Gibralter Roads. The power cuts off and runs around the train to get on the North end. Then an 827 job is called to take the train from Vreeland Road up the River Spur to the River Rouge Detroit Edison plant near Short Cut. The reserse is done for outbound MT trains 751,753, and 755. Text by James Deeds.

  • 760 (BNSF Cicero - Monroe Detroit Edison)* Coal Loads
  • 761 (Monroe Detroit Edison - BNSF Cicero) Coal Empties
  • 762 (BNSF Cicero - Monroe Detroit Edison)* Coal Loads
  • *note: these trains may be diverted to another Detroit Edison plant served by CNIC

  • 763 (Monroe Detroit Edison - BNSF Cicero) Coal Empties
  • 766 (BNSF Cicero - Whiting Consumer's Energy) Coal Loads
  • 767 (Whiting Consumer's Energy - BNSF Cicero) Coal Empties
  • 768 (BNSF Cicero - Monroe Detroit Edison) Coal Loads
  • 769 (Monroe Detroit Edison - BNSF Cicero) Coal Empties
  • 780 (Monroe Detroit Edison - Toledo Lang [CSXT]) Coal Empties
  • 781 (Toledo Lang - Monroe Detroit Edison) Coal Loads
  • 782 (River Rouge Detroit Edison - Toledo Lang) Coal Empties
  • 783 (Toledo Lang - River Rouge Detroit Edison) Coal Loads
  • 784 (Whiting Consumer's Energy - Toledo Lang [CSXT]) Coal Empties
  • 785 (Toledo Lang - Whiting Consumer's Energy) Coal Loads
  • 786 (Essexville Consumer's Energy via Durand - Toledo Lang [CSXT]) Coal Empties
  • 787 ([CSXT] Toledo Lang - Essexville Consumer's Energy via Durand) Coal Loads
  • 788 (Lansing BW&L - Toledo Lang ]CSXT]) Coal Empties
  • 789 ([CSXT] Toledo Lang - Lansing BW&L) Coal Loads
  • 796 (Essexville Consumer's Energy via Durand - NS Toledo Homestead) Coal Empties
  • 797 (NS Toledo Homestead - Essexville Consumer's Energy via Durand) Coal Loads
  • 798 (Lansing BW&L - NS Toledo Homestead) Coal Empties
  • 799 (NS Toledo Homestead - Lansing BW&L) Coal Loads

Data graciously provided by Shawn O'Day, Jim Koglin, James Deeds, Mike Swick,
Darryl Wattenberg, and Wayne "King" Kuhl

Dispatching and Radio Chatter

The GTW Shore Line Sub is controlled by CNIC TD2 Dispatcher. The line is dispatched by track warrant.

    Radio Frequencies:

  • 160.530 Mhz AAR 28 dispatcher
  • 160.590 Mhz AAR 32 road
  • 160.845 Mhz AAR 49 BOC Yard master

Note: These frequencies are used system wide, so one may hear CNIC dispatchers talking to trains on other subdivisions.

GTW Shore Line Sub Stuff

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This website and all contents herein Copyright 2002 by Jeff Knorek except where noted.