MARP July 12 meeting in Lapeer features president of Great Lakes Central Railroad

Including a typically busy and important agenda, the July 12 meeting of Michigan Association of Rail Passengers (10 a.m. in Lapeer, east of Flint) will have both historic and current features for members and guests.

The historic portion is the site of the meeting, which is the early 1900s GTW Railroad Depot on the north side of the CN tracks, at 73 Howard St., 48446. That’s just south of old M-21 and south of downtown Lapeer. Historical buffs should check this link:

Not only will the historic depot and its adjacent rail equipment be a top attraction, but the guest speaker will bring the group up to date on the status of the the Great Lakes Central Railroad, the company that took over the operations of TSBY.

And he will know what he is talking about. The guest is Mike Bagwell, president of Great Lakes Central. Link to

Vice-chair Don Monteith is responsible for bringing Bagwell our way so he can discuss the status of Wally, the proposed commuter service from Howell to north of Ann Arbor along the Great Lakes Central route that probably will be using commuter passenger equipment owned by the GLC.

Just as importantly, Monteith wants Bagwell’s take on the proposal that MARP actively support the state’s smaller freight rail lines, like GLC, “to help keep what operations (that) are still going in the state of Michigan, and in reality, to expand these lines usage!”

Monteith wants to preserve these lines for future passenger service and contends that “If we lose the freight lines, we won’t have passenger trains there, like to Traverse City, Petoskey, Grayling, Gaylord, Tawas City and Alpena!”

Monteith also says: “We have a great opportunity to expand these operations, because rails have a big advantage over trucks, by using only 25 percent the fuel when compared to trucks! Truck’s biggest expense, is fuel cost. Also, almost everything that travels over 600 miles on U.P.S., travels on trains, except air service, but these costs are also skyrocketing!

“Trucks can move between 70 to 90 ton-miles per gallon of fuel, and rails haul over 430 ton-miles per gallon of fuel – and nobody is making any more oil to put into the ground!” (Can you believe that Monteith is a retired auto company executive.)

Monteith also will report on his progress on helping to bring Indian Trails service to Charlevoix and an indirect connection to the Beaver Island ferry service there.

If you would like to carpool with someone from your area, please email Rich Vavra-Musser at


Those who checked this link learned that the depot is just a few yards west of the defunct interlocking with the New York Central line from Detroit to Mackinaw City. Remnants of that line are still operated by the Lapeer Industrial Rail Road (LIRR) south of the CN line and can be traced by drivng south through Lapeer before or after the meeting. LIRR is owned by the Adrian & Blissfield Railroad. Check this link:

Questions? Email Jim Wallington at

The agenda will be posted at before the meeting.

Dick Pakarek should be credited for setting up the meeting site and Don Monteith for arranging the speaker.


Station Location:
73 Howard Street Lapeer MI 48446

Take I-69 to exit 155, Lapeer Road, M-24. Turn north onto Lapeer Road (a.k.a. M-24) and go 1.8 miles. Turn right onto Genessee Street and go 1/2 mile. Turn right onto Court Street. The Amtrak station is just before the railroad tracks on your left (Howard Street.)