An Eastern Regional Railroad - 1930's - 1940's
Detroit Toledo and Ironton Railroad

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DT&I logo The Detroit Toledo and Ironton Railroad (DT&I) started as a local coal and iron-hauling railroad whose promoters envisioned a lengthy narrow gauge line from southeastern Ohio's rich Jackson County mineral lands to Springfield, Ohio, Fort Wayne, Indiana and even on to Chicago. The DT&I in modern times principal reason for existence was traffic DT&I 1931
Detroit Toledo and Ironton
originating at the northern end of the route from the automobile factories in the Detroit area southward from Toledo through Lima and Springfield, Ohio to Ironton, Ohio on the Ohio River. The DT&I went into the 30's with very limited passenger service with only one coach train per day, except Sundays, between Detroit and Ironton. It had petitioned the ICC to allow it's withdrawal but was still running in April 1931. All other DT&I branches were freight only. After iron and coal mines gave out in the Southern Ohio area served by the DT&I it regained stature during the 20's as a Ford Motor Company investment, and improvements were made. After Ford sold the line in 1929 things began to deteriorate and line abandonments increased, and other trackage rights arrangements took place. After a brief recovery during the Conrail days, the DT&I was sold to the Grand Trunk Western (CN) in 1979.. It now has trackage rights into the Cincinnati gateway.
History of the Detroit Toledo and Ironton Railroad Company (DT&I)
Ohio Southern and predecessors
1874 - The Springfield, Jackson & Pomeroy Railroad organized on December 17, 1874 in Ohio to link the three Ohio towns of its corporate name.
1876 - Construction of the SJ&P began in a northerly direction from Jackson on December 7, 1876.
1877 - On March 26, 1877 work started at Springfield and for a brief time the SJ&P was operated in two unconnected segments as a narrow gauge railroad.
1878 - The last spike was driven July 18, 1878 at Dills, east of Bainbridge,
1879 - A 4-1/2-mile branch to Eureka, south of Jackson, was completed in June. The SJ&P also built several coal mine spurs in the same area.
1879 - The SJ&P was sold at a sheriff's sale and reorganized on November 2 as the Springfield Southern Railroad Co.
1879-81 - SS changed from narrow to standard gauge.
1881 - On May 23, the Springfield Southern became the Ohio Southern Railroad Company and a period of relative prosperity set in.
1892 - In December the OS commenced building an extension in a northerly direction from Springfield to Lima.
1893 - Line to Lima completed.
1895 - OS was forced into receivership on May 9, 1895 at a time when construction of a Cincinnati-Columbus line ground to a halt.
1898 - OS sold at a foreclosure sale on October 15, 1898 and the Ohio Southern was history.
North End
1895 - The Lima Northern Railway Company was organized in Ohio on March 27, 1895. The LN built north from Lima to reach a Wabash connection at Lima Junction, a point near Seneca, Michigan, and from there reached Adrian over the Wabash, an arrangement that lasted until fairly recent time when the present DT&I abandoned the line south from Adrian into Ohio.
1896 - On March 27, 1896, the Detroit & Cincinnati Railway Co. was incorporated in Michigan to build between the state line in Lenawee County, Michigan, and the city of Detroit. However, the only trackage laid down, in 1895 and the following year, was from the Ohio-Michigan line north to the Wabash connection near Seneca by the Lima Northern; the Detroit & Cincinnati is not known to have constructed any trackage.
1897 - On February. 20, 1897, the D&C was reincorporated in Michigan as the Detro1t & Lima Northern Railway Company.
1897 - D&LN acquires LN.
1897 - The D&LN pushed construction from Adrian into Tecumseh and the first train ran over this 14-mile extension on May 27, 1897.
1897-98 - D&LN reaches Detroit and Toledo through trackage rights, some construction and agreements with various other Michigan railroads of the time.
1898 - On September 6 the D&LN went into receivership.
1901 - D&LN and Ohio Southern reorganized as the Detroit Southern Railroad Company.
Detroit Southern and predecessors
1848 - Iron Railroad Company authorized.
1849-50 - The narrow gauge line Ironton to Vesuvius opened, 6-7 miles.
1870-80's - Spurs to iron mines developed. Tunnel at Vesuvius is only one on future DT&I.
1881 - The Toledo, Delphos & Burlington Railroad Company, having already acquired the Dayton & South Eastern, added the Iron Railroad on October 25, 1881.
1884 - The Toledo, Cincinnati & St. Louis, successor to the TD&B went bankrupt and was sold on June 28, 1884.
1887 - Iron Road changed to standard gauge.
1902 - Iron Road acquired by the Detroit Southern.
1903 - Continued IR and DS construction and trackage rights bring line from Ironton to Jackson, Ohio.
Detroit Toledo and Ironton
1904 - On July 16, 1904, the Detroit Southern was forced into receivership.
1905 - In May, there emerged the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railway Company, a name that has survived in one for or another for nearly three-quarters of a century. The new company laid down no additional trackage but continued the program of upgrading the property started by the Detroit Southern; new 85-pound rail was placed and the shops at Jackson, Ohio, were built. The company then owned or operated nearly 400 miles of main line and branches, 65.68 miles in Michigan and 331.22 miles in Ohio.
1905-1910 - DT&I and Ann Arbor Railroad (72% DT&) operated under same management.
1908 - DT&I in receivership.
1910 - Ann Arbor becomes independent. Control of the Ann Arbor, however, had given the DT&I a Toledo entrance as well as a longer line haul for its traffic.
1913-14 - DT&I divisions sold then reorganized as the Detroit Toledo and Ironton Railroad, organized in Delaware on February 2, 1914.
c 1915 - DT&I obtains own line into Toledo and improves railroad infrastructure.
1918-20 - DT&I under federal control during WW1.
1920 - The Detroit & Ironton Railroad Company was incorporated on June 29, 1920 for the purpose of building a line from Flat Rock to Springwells (later Fordson and now Dearborn), Michigan, to handle the traffic from the Ford Motor Company's growing plant on the River Rouge.
1920 - On July 10 the Ford Motor Company purchased the DT&I.
1920-29 - Ford rebuilds DT&I to improved standards.
1922-23- Double track line, 13 miles to River Roige Ford plant constructed.
1924-5 - 57 mile cutoff built to reach Dearborn from northern Ohio points east of Tecumseh main..
1926 - Electric locomotives used out of Rouge plant, 17 miles.
1926 - Gas -electric cars replaced steam on passenger trains 1 & 2 .
1929 - Fords control of the DT&I ended June 27, 1929 when his company sold the railroad to Pennroad Corporation, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad,.
1929-1930 - Abandonment's begin.
1930 - Permission to discontinue passenger service requested.
1931 - Trains 1 & 2 still operating Detroit to Ironton.
1951 - The first regular diesel-powered EMD units on the DT&I.
1954 - DT&I completely dieselized.
1958 - Tecumseh main abamdoned.
1963 - Ann Arbor (southern end) sale to DT&I approved.
1965 - DT&I line to Toledo abandoned in favor of Ann Arbor route.
1966 - Parts of DT&I from Lima north abandoned in favor of trackage rights on B&O.
1976 - Birth of Conrail brings major changes to eastern roads and DT&I now gets trackage to the Cincinnati gateway, and unit train business in the south.
1979 - Grand Trunk Western buys DT&I.

DT&I map
Detroit Toledo and Ironton - 1931

Our Sources
Private Collection of Richard R. Parks(rp)
Wikipedia the free Encyclopedia [web](wik)
Official Guide- 1931
Michigan's Internet Railroad History Museum
The History of the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad by William C. Pletz
To contact our contributors please make a request by Email to: Richard Parks


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Web Page Written and Maintained by Richard Parks
Copyright Richard Parks, April 27, 2009, revised May 18, 2011