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.

Much has happened since last year’s celebration. The Clinton County Arts Council has left the depot and moved its gallery to 211 N. Clinton Avenue, in order to dedicate the Depot to the history and excitement of the railroad. The desk of the original ticket agent ( Harry S. Buck) and his tools of the trade are as they were years ago. Railroad signs and memorabilia now hang on the walls. One of the most exciting artifacts is the “St. Johns” sign that hung from the east side of the building. It had been “liberated” from the depot in 1973 and returned just last year. The 1926 Maintenance of way car “Annie” has a fresh coat of paint, thanks to the dedicated volunteers of the Clinton Northern Railway. Soon she will have all of her signage repainted just as it was when she was in service for the Ann Arbor railroad. Many new artifacts have been donated to the ever-growing collection.

Featured inside the depot will be six model trains for young and old to run. The featured train is the Polar Express. A one-of-a-kind hand built three-story dollhouse size “Toy Shop” owned by April and Ron Gill, that features a “Z” scale running train, is on loan for the weekend. Also on display will be Lionel, HO Scale, 1 ½ inch scale, G Scale, and N Scale model trains. The G Scale 54” Union Pacific “Big Boy”, and the New Amtrak Train are a new addition this year. Set up in the old baggage room on the east side of the building will be a large display of Dept. 56 “Christmas in the City” village, and items donated for a Silent Auction, many of which are railroad related. Items for sale in the gift shop include, tee shirts, the “Sounds of Steam” CD that features locomotives running thru St. Johns, and “Soot and Cinders” candles made only for the Clinton Northern Railway gift shop. You will also find a gentleman selling antique railroad watches, the very ones that the men of the rails lived by.

Guided Tours will be given through the three vintage railcars. Two of which are located at the depot, and one is located at the city’s water treatment plant. It is our hope to have that car (Marie) moved over to the depot very soon. We are also working in collaboration with the Paine Gilliam Scott Museum who will have their railroad artifacts on display. They are in possession of a model of the inter-urban that ran from St. Johns to Lansing.

Railroad days are not just for the railroad fan. There will be tasty treats such as Hanover Chocolatiers Mint Chocolate Steam Engines, and as always, there will be gourmet Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream made with real mint from the Crosby Mint farm.

The suggested donation is $2.00 per person, or $5.00 per family. All proceeds go toward the restoration of the 1902 Barney and Smith Sleeper car, the 1903 Barney and Smith combination Railroad Post office and baggage car, and the 1926 Ann Arbor Crew Car.

The Clinton Northern Railway extends an invitation to anyone who may be interested in joining a model railroad
Club that will meet at the depot. Young and Old alike are welcome. For more information call the number below.

The Depot is located at 107 E. Railroad Street across from the Veterans Memorial and the fourth block North of the Courthouse in St. Johns. For further information, please call 1-989-66 TRAIN.