CP-WEST DETROIT

STIN-6 is southbound coming off the North Yard Branch and is entering the Conrail Detroit Line at CP-WEST DETROIT on February 2, 1999. This location is milepost 2.9, and marks the northern end of the Detroit Line.

Photograph Copyright 1999-2001 Marcus U. Dogg



CP-WEST DETROIT Connects the Conrail Detroit Line, Michigan Line, and North Yard Branch as well as CN/CP traffic from the Detroit River tunnel. It is the epicenter of Conrail operations in the Detroit area. Back in the Days of Yore, West Detroit was the beginning/end point for no fewer than four railroads. This obviously made it the epicenter for almost all large railroad companies in the Detroit area.


West Detroit as seen on the 1916 USGS Detroit folio map.
From the collection of Jeff Knorek

Careful readers shall note that this map does not reflect the present gap in the mainline from CP-VINEWOOD to CP-WEST DETROIT, which used to be straight rail instead of the circuitous, torturous meandering of the North Yard Branch through CP-SPRINGWORKS, CP-SCOTTEN, and CP-WEST DETROIT today.


West Detroit as seen on the 1975 Conrail ETT #7 map of Detroit.
From the collection of Jerry Sundin

That gap was once a portion of the right-of-way of the then NYC Bay City Branch, which was purchased by the Cadillac Motor Division for plant expansion after WWII. Since Cadillac was exclusively switched by NYC, the NYC was very agreeable to selling the r-o-w to keep the Cadillac folks happy. In addition to stroking this important customer, high-maintenance diamonds could be removed in the plant at West Detroit as a bonus, and they could still run trains to/from North Yard via the route from CP-SCOTTEN to CP-SPRINGWORKS. Operations folks shall forever question the wisdom of the latter point's value; the result has been a sharp 10 mph curve that is prone to derailments when the slack action isn't controlled PERFECTLY on those long trains with those long cars running to and from the Detroit Line.

Much of the post-war expansion of the Automotive industry in the Detroit area occured along the NYC Bay City Branch in suburban Macomb County. History has seen the traffic pattern of the New York Central-related areas of southeast Michigan shift from an east-west operation in NYC days to the north-south operation of the Conrail era of today. While we are not holding our breath, we are hopeful that the demise of the Cadillac plant means that Conrail will rebuild the straight rail between CP-VINEWOOD and CP-SPRINGWORKS.

Current traffic patterns see approximately 20 trains off the Conrail North Yard Branch and the Detroit Line, 20 CNIC trains on the GTW Shoreline Subdivision, 10 CP trains to/from the Tunnel, and six Amtrak trains passing through West Detroit.

Access to West Detroit is difficult and trespassing should be avoided.


West Detroit Stuff


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This website and all contents herein Copyright 2001 by Jeff Knorek except where noted.