Author Topic: 10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR  (Read 2503 times)

GP30M4216

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10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR
« on: June 15, 2010, 12:25:30 AM »
This past Sunday, June 13, the Little River Railroad ran their first Hillsdale Flyer for the year.  The Little River is based out of Coldwater, MI, just a few miles up I-69 from the Indiana border.  They operate over the line of the Indiana Northeastern, which, of course, operates in Indiana.  The trackage the Hillsdale Flyer runs over is part of the Old Road, the first LS&MS mainline from Elkhart to Toledo, before the Lake Shore Water Level Route became the primary route.  

The ride lasts about 4 1/2 hours including a run around at Hillsdale and 45 minute lunch stop at the historic Jonesville depot, today a bed and breakfast.  The train departs from the historic depot at Coldwater and operates over the Old Road to Hillsdale and return, on some of the oldest railbed in the state of Michigan.  Our train consisted of Little River 4-6-2 #110, and Private Observation car #1414, formerly MSO's "The Solomon," in new Pullman green paint.  A single car was more than adequate to handle the small crowd.  The route covers nearly 30 miles of trackage in each direction, and passes through a couple small towns intermixed with rural farmland.  While the small number of passengers made it feel like we really had the place to ourselves, I doubt they can make a go of this many more times with such small attendance.  In addition to the photos, here are 10 reasons to make the trek up I-69 or US-12 to Michigan to ride one of their Hillsdale Flyers later this year (see schedule below).  Enjoy the photos!

1. A historic consist including vintage open-platform business car #1414
2. Ride behind the largest standard gauge steam locomotive currently operating in Michigan.
3. Get up close to the Pacific #110 and watch first hand the crew perform maintenance en route.
4. A delicious lunch and tour of the historic Jonesville depot.
5. Check out active on-line industries, sidings, and Hillsdale Yard, served by the Indiana Northeastern.
6. The Old Road is one of the oldest railbeds in the state of Michigan.
7. Keep an eye out for concrete whistle and mile posts.
8. 4-6-2 #110 is the world's smallest Pacific class locomotive ever built.
9. Enjoy the views and sounds of small towns and rural southern Michigan
10. Support this family run operation working hard to make these trips a "go!"
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 12:41:36 AM by GP30M4216 »

GP30M4216

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Re: 10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2010, 12:27:34 AM »
Some additional photos to follow (scroll down below the photos for the Hillsdale Flyer schedule for 2010!)

GP30M4216

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Re: 10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2010, 12:30:02 AM »
Our 4-6-2 locomotive and single open-deck observation made our train look rather like a stately inspection train from the Roaring 20s!

GP30M4216

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Re: 10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2010, 12:32:12 AM »
A few closeups along the way...

GP30M4216

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Re: 10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2010, 12:39:44 AM »
As I said in the first post, the event was a lot of fun but rather sadly attended.  It would be great to see more support for this operation and their excursions, particularly these longer-haul ones that actually rack up some mileage and allow the #110 to stretch her legs a little on the well-maintained sections of the mainline! 

The dates of the other Hillsdale Flyer excursions and some additional information is listed below.  The Little River also offers shorter trips to Quincy on weekends, fall steam doubleheaders, plus occasional dinner train opportunities.  Full schedule here: http://www.littleriverrailroad.com/schedule.htm

Consider riding a Hillsdale Flyer later this year:

August 15:
HILLSDALE FLYER - 10AM
   
ROUND TRIP FROM COLDWATER TO HILLSDALE   
*RESERVATIONS REQUIRED CALL: 574-215-0751   
TICKETS: $65.00/ADULTS  $45.00/CHILDREN     
LUNCH INCLUDED AT JONESVILLE STATION     
APPROXIMATELY A 4 1/2HOUR TRAIN RIDE

September 26:
HILLSDALE FLYER -10AM
   
ROUND TRIP FROM COLDWATER TO HILLSDALE   
*RESERVATIONS REQUIRED CALL: 574-215-0751   
TICKETS: $65.00/ADULTS  $45.00/CHILDREN     
LUNCH INCLUDED AT JONESVILLE STATION     
APPROXIMATELY A 4 1/2HOUR TRAIN RIDE

November 7:
HILLSDALE FLYER -10AM
   
ROUND TRIP FROM COLDWATER TO HILLSDALE   
*RESERVATIONS REQUIRED CALL: 574-215-0751   
TICKETS: $65.00/ADULTS  $45.00/CHILDREN     
LUNCH INCLUDED AT JONESVILLE STATION     
APPROXIMATELY A 4 1/2HOUR TRAIN RIDE

Thanks for reading....hope you enjoyed the photos!

IU_Tower

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Re: 10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2010, 01:15:21 PM »
The grain spur in pic #4 makes the main look quite nasty.  :o

GP30M4216

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Re: 10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2010, 10:21:12 PM »
Yes, that siding is at the Star of the West grain elevator in Quincy.  It was rebuilt in 2009 when that industry restarted rail service after several years of using trucks only.  INER has worked hard to gain new customers despite the hard economic times. 

They've also been renewing the Old Road, as it was very dilapidated and had been since Penn Central days.  They've been doing the work in increments.  Amazing how much better the ride is on fresh ballast and some new ties!  They've gotten as far west at the Sun-Gro siding east of Quincy, and I believe they're going to do another segment into Quincy this year.  They've already replaced some crossing protection through and west of Quincy.  Slowly but surely, the INER is turning into a well-maintained little operation!

Chris Brown

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Re: 10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2010, 10:39:04 PM »
I have never been there. I should ride it. I have been to Townsend, TN where the locomotive use to operate at the present location of the Great Smoky Mountains national park.

IU_Tower

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Re: 10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2010, 09:56:42 AM »
Maybe they'll let ya park a hopper on a little used spur somewhere on the line Chris.... ;D

Rick

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Re: 10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2010, 09:58:40 AM »
I just took a ride on this over father's day.  I will post some of my pics soon.   There had to be 200 people on our trip.  8 cars total and it was an hour and half trip to Quincy and back.  I didn't realize this was so close to home.  You can even volunteer and learn to fire and operate the loco.  The people who work here are fabulous and the small town of Coldwater is railfan friendly.  Many people chased our train all the way to Quincy. There are a ton of access points on this line for taking pictures of this railroad or the INER. 

Chris Brown

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Re: 10 Reasons to ride the Little River RR
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2010, 08:53:15 PM »
Funny. ;D