The Michigan Railroad History Museum, operated by Durand Union Station, Inc., has finished work on several new displays designed to educate the community and call attention to items of historical railroad significance. Items are on display at the Museum inside Durand Union Station as two cases were renovated in time for visitors during Railroad Days, as well as informational placards placed on the Museum’s Caboose, Gate Tower and Baggage Car located throughout the city.
The displays, renovated, modernized and designed over a six-week period by Museum Curator Michael Boudro and DUSI Board member Tim Colton, explore the end of the steam era of railroading and shed light on how railroads are physically built and maintained. The antique cases themselves were donated to the Museum by the State of Michigan in 1991 during their own renovation of the State Capitol in Lansing.
“Out of Steam” includes the locomotive bell and number plate from Grand Trunk Western Steam Locomotive No. 6319, which along with No. 6322 hauled the last scheduled passenger train in the United States from Detroit to Durand on March 27, 1960. Also inside the case are photos of the locomotives, crewmen who worked on the locomotives and items from the Ronald and Brian King collection that include a six-step chime whistle, a locomotive lantern and a series of steam locomotive gauges. This case was generously sponsored by Mr. Robert Stoutenburg.
“On the Rails” includes a scale model of rail in a cross section, built by Mr. Colton. Other items inside the case include pieces of rail set to standard gauge of 4-foot, 8-1/2 inches, a track gauge and level, date nails used to inform workers on the age of the rail, and information about the Knights Templar Special wreck of June 5, 1923. Mr. Boudro was assisted in researching, designing and preparing this case by two students from Durand High School, Daniel Greeson and Autumn Schmidtfranz. Both students are members of the DHS Class of 2016.
The signs around town detail the unique history and function of the Gate Tower, built in 1905, the Baggage Car, built in 1919 by the Pullman Company and the Caboose, built in 1928 for Grand Trunk Western. The Caboose was generously donated to DUSI in 1989 by Jim and Laurie Kapp. The Gate Tower and Baggage Car, originally acquired by the Durand Railroad (Baggage Car) Museum and Bicentennial Commission, respectively, were transferred to DUSI’s ownership in 1991 along with the rest of the Durand Railroad Museum’s assets.
“The Michigan Railroad History Museum, located inside the historic Durand Union Station, would like to invite the entire community to view the new cases and the rest of the museum. Admission is free, but donations are welcomed and encouraged,” it was emphasized.
Persons interested in donating items to the museum or sponsoring a display case should contact the museum at (989) 288-3561, or email Mr. Boudro at boudro@