News Archive

Dec 04 2005

An American Treasure Comes to St. Johns

"Shrink Wrapped and  Ready To Go"

Last Wednesday November 9th 2005, as we were driving to Traverse City, near Lake Michigan, to set up a base camp for the crew who would be transporting the Sault Ste. Marie railcar to her new home in St. Johns, the words to the song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" by Gordon Lightfoot, kept repeating in my head. There were 50 MPH winds, and drops were forming on the windshield that looked like freezing rain!
"When the gales of November came early"

Apr 11 2006

Gandy Dancers

"Gandy Dancers"

Years ago, they called them   “Gandy Dancers”.  Men who laid and maintained railroad track.  There seems to be a lot of confusion about the term Gandy Dancer and how it originated.   The first recorded use of this term was in 1918, and it  was used in reference to the worker tamping down ballast between the ties.  Since he moved in a circle, it may have resembled dancing.  There is another theory also.  Some believ

May 11 2006

Swinging on a Star

"Up She Goes"

The whole process took less than an hour, but there was a lifetime of anticipation dangling on the end of that line, and we all held our breath.

Sep 06 2006

First Annual Railroad Days

The restored historic Grand Trunk Depot will be the site of the first annual “St. Johns Depot Railroad Days” to be held on Sept 15,16, & 17th from 10 am until 6 pm.

The railroad first arrived in St. Johns January 16, 1857. That was nearly 150 years ago. Maybe you can see a correlation between the railroad and the beginning of St. Johns. If it were not for the railroad, St. Johns would not have developed as it has, maybe not at all. It seems fitting that we remember the railroad along with our Sesquicentennial celebration.

Oct 18 2006

1903 RPO Car comes to St.johns

Final Turn of the RPO Car Journey

At approximately 2:53 pm on Tuesday October 17th, 2006, a very special delivery was made to the historic Grand Trunk Railroad Depot in St. Johns, Michigan. A well worn, but much loved and admired retired member of the Detroit Mackinac Railroad system was hauled by truck to its new home, where it will become part of the new railroad museum. The Barney and Smith RPO (Railroad Post office car) has been residing in a historic roundhouse in East Tawas, Michigan, since 1964.

Nov 22 2006

The Ghost Train Returns

#10 The St.Johns

The “Ghost Train” is back!

Arriving at gates one and two; the only train that still runs through St. Johns, will make a return appearance. Let me rephrase that. It won’t make an appearance. It’s a Ghost Train, you can’t see it! But you will hear it, and the kid in all of us will love it.

On Sunday December 3rd from 1 – 3 pm you can stop in to the Depot and play with the model trains, and listen for the Ghost Train. It is scheduled to pass through town every half hour, and the horn announces its arrival.

Jul 01 2007

St.Johns Depot Railroad Days

The 2nd annual St. Johns Railroad Days will be held at the site of the historic Grand Trunk Depot in St. Johns Michigan,
Saturday August 11th and Sunday August 12th from 10am until 6pm.
The Depot will be filled with all different scale model trains for young and old alike to play with. Yes, anyone can touch these trains and have fun.

Jul 29 2007

Railroad Days Surprise

Quentin Kuntz and Elaine Twichell

June 27th, 2007 started out as any other day. I was busy at the Depot when a man walked in and said “I have your sign”. “Pardon me”, I said. “I have your sign”, he repeated. He then introduced himself as Quentin Kuntz, and it all came flooding back.Well over a year ago, I received a letter from Mr. Kuntz, informing me that he had a sign from the Depot, which he “liberated” in June of 1973, and that he wanted to return. “Great” I said. “Our first annual St.

Sep 15 2008

Railroad Days 2008

You are invited to come and share your memories and stories of the railroad at the 4th annual “St. Johns Depot Railroad Days” held at the restored historic Grand Trunk Depot in St. Johns. The event will be held on September 27th and 28th, from 10 am until 6 pm. This is a celebration of the return of the railroad. It was 1964 when the last passenger train came through St. Johns, and now with the help of the volunteers of the Clinton Northern Railway, the memories have come alive.

Oct 18 2008

"Cost of a Passenger Car"

To build a passenger car of the best kind requires about 2,400 feet of poplar, 3,400 feet of ash, 1,000 feet of white pine, 2,300 feet of yellow pine, 500 feet of the best oak, 400 feet of the strongest hickory, 400 feet of cherry, 400 feet of maple veneer, and perhaps small amounts of other woods.