Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad
Front view of the 971 engine
|Locale||Huron National Forest|
|Dates of operation||1994–2017|
|Track gauge||16 in (406 mm)|
The Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad is a 16-inch-gauge (410 mm), 1/4-scale ridable miniature railway, located in Fairview, Michigan. The railroad runs through the scenic Huron National Forest and the Comins Creek valley. The railroad has remained in operation since 1994.
This Minimum-gauge railway — truly a big backyard railroad —was created by Joanne and Howard Schrader. They began construction of the Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad station and the 72-foot (22 m) engine house in 1994. In 1995, seven passenger cars from the Pinconning and Blind River Railroad were restored for use on the line. The cars are named after area counties and other points of interest in the Huron National Forest. From 15 April to 2 December 1996, the Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad constructed two wooden trestles and a 115-foot (35 m) wooden tunnel. The longest trestle spans over 220 feet (67 m). The railroad meanders through jack pine country near the valleys of the Au Sable River.
The Schraders are publishers, distributors and operators of a railroad catalog.
Trainorders.com reported in 2017 that the Schraders were retiring from operating the railroad and the catalog. The facility, owners' residence and acreage was listed for sale in 2017, together with the affiliated railroad catalog store.[better source needed] The railroad was sold, is being refurbished, and will reopen on Memorial Day weekend, 2019.
The Custom Locomotive Works in Chicago constructed a pair of miniature F-7 A diesel locomotive units for the Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad over a period of nine months. The front locomotive contains the engine while the slug unit balances the weight. The units have a combined weight of 11,000 pounds and length of 30 feet (9.1 m) long; they are 58 inches (1,500 mm) high. The powered unit has an 80 hp Perkins diesel engine driving 16 wheels and supplying power to an air-brake system.
Locomotive No. 5661 is a 4-6-4 oil-fired steam engine, known as the "Hudson", built in 1961 by E.C. Eddy of Fairview. The locomotive originally ran on the Pinconning and Blind River Railroad. It now runs on the AuSable on selected Sundays and holidays. The Hudson steam locomotive was restored circa 2002.
The trackage was laid by family and friends. It is serpentine, sometimes with parallel and crossing tracks, making a surprising 1.5 miles (2.4 km) trip, approximately 18 minutes long. The railroad uses over 5,500 railroad ties. In 1995 four switches were added to the route.
The Summer Schedule in 2015 was Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. The Fall Color tour for 2015 ran on two weekends in October. The scheduled days were extremely limited at about 38 days per year. 2017 was said to be the railroad's final year of operation.
The ride, which is about 1.5 miles (2.4 km), takes just under 20 minutes.
- The trail includes other railroad attractions, e.g., the Junction Valley Railroad, another 1/4-scale rideable miniature railway in Bridgeport; Saginaw Railway Museum in Saginaw; and the S.S. City of Milwaukee in Manistee, a restored railroad car ferry. The Junction Valley Railroad closed in 2016.
- Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad (n.d.). "Home". Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
- "MTM on the Road: Michigan-Au Sable Valley Railroad". WFQX. October 1, 2014. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
- "Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad". Pure Michigan. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
- "Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad". Oscoda County Chamber of Commerce. January 7, 2015. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
- "Riding Scale Railroads in the US". discoverlivesteam.com. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
- "Ride this Train" (PDF). Trains Magazine (2017 ed.). Kalmbach Publishing. 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
- "Michigan AuSable Valley". Weichert Realty. Archived from the original on August 13, 2017. Retrieved August 12, 2017.
- Pohle, Jerome. Oddball Michigan: A Guide to 450 Really Strange Places. p. 194. ISBN 9781613748961.
- Kalmbach Publishing Company (March 1, 2000). Guide to Tourist Railroads and Museums. Trains Magazine. Kalmbach Publishing Company, Books Division. pp. 186–187.
- Kalmbach Publishing Company (February 1, 2001). Guide to Tourist Railroads and Museums. Kalmbach Publishing Company, Books Division. pp. 187, 208.
- Kalmbach Publishing Company (February 1, 2004). Tourist Trains. Kalmbach Publishing Company, Books Division. pp. 210, 435.
- Wolverton, Jason (May 26, 2014). "The World's Longest Miniature Train Ride". A Medium Corporation. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
- "Michigan Train Rides And Museums". American-Rails.com. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
- "Closed for Maintenance and Repairs until Memorial Day Weekend 2019". Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
- Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad (n.d.). "History". Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
- Carstens Publications (2002). Railroads. Railfan & Railroad. 21. Carstens Publications. p. 21.
- "Schrader's Railroad & Catalog For Sale". Train orders. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
- Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad (n.d.). "Locomotives". Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
- Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad (n.d.). "Schedule". Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
- "Train Lovers Guide". Retrieved August 29, 2017.
- "North Central State Trail: Michigan". Retrieved August 12, 2017.
- Owczarzak, Brianna; Holland, Alana (July 7, 2016). "Last season for Junction Valley Railroad". WNEM. Retrieved August 13, 2017.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad.|
- Photos, at Michigan Railroad Photo Collection hobbyist site
- Schraders' Railroad Catalog
- Photo gallery at Weichert Realty
- Mitchell, Steve (April 26, 2017). "Once Around, Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad" (Video, DVD). Yard Goat Images – via YouTube.
- Soehnel, Joe (September 22, 2015). "Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad" (Video) – via YouTube.
- Zealathos, Lord (July 16, 2013). "Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad, Steam Locomotive on Blueberry Hill" (Video) – via YouTube.