Friday, June 13, 2014

Visit to Coopersville

 While on a recent outing, we stopped at Coopersville, Mich. just west of Grand Rapids.  The first thing to see is a 1902 interurban body from the Grand Rapids Grand Haven and Muskegon.  It is now on display at the Coopersville historical society under a roof.

This car is unusual in having an open rear platform.  The body is in good condition and is being worked on.  Unfortunately there was no one there at the time to talk to.  I'd like to know more about its history.

Of course, it's missing its seats and is sitting on CTA 4000 trucks, but as bodies go, this one is excellent.  It still has its bolsters and shallow truss rods, for instance.  

Barney and Smith built many early interurban cars.  The only preserved bodies were built between 1900 and 1903.  And this is certainly the best.

And it's displayed next to the interurban substation, which serves as the historical society's museum.   This is a very nice arrangement.

Across the street is the Coopersville and Marne, a tourist line which operates to the town of Marne, about seven miles away.  They were running two trips that day, but we missed the last one.  Perhaps we'll get to take a ride some other time.

There are two locomotives in the yard, not really on display.  This is a Canadian National 4-6-0  (MLW 1913) that used to belong to Nelson Blount and was part of the Steamtown collection.

And this was originally Virginia Central #300, a 2-6-0 built in 1924 by Alco.  It's been on display in a number of different locations over the years.

And in the train are two Lackawanna MU trailers, both repainted into new paint schemes and lettered "Car 1" and "Car 2".

There's a small engine house, but no indoor storage.

Restaurant Recommendation:  By the way, if you ever happen to be in the area of Michigan City for some reason, we really like the Duneland Beach Inn, about five miles east of downtown.  But you'll need a GPS to find it.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the pictures. I had read about that Interurban from Michigan; but never seen pictures of it.

There are only a handful of electric cars from Michigan left and the Michigan #28 is I am sure the only one that is going to run again.

Ted miles
IRM Member

Randall Hicks said...

Glad you liked it, Ted. The 28 is certainly the only interurban passenger car from Michigan with a chance to operate, but one or two of the Detroit city cars may not be beyond hope. And then there's the work equipment: the OX and the P&W 402 are both originally from Michigan, as is our box trailer, currently known as LSE 810. So the situation is not quite so bleak.

David Wilkins said...

We need to broaden our travel, this is a duplicate visit by the Hicks Car Works staff:

Randall Hicks said...

David: By Jove, you're right! But you can't expect me to remember something that was posted three years ago. In any case, I'm very happy to see that the question "What have you guys done for me lately?" has had the desired effect. Your recent trip reports have been great. Thanks!

Bruce Duensing said...

What was the builders thinking in having an open platform in light of harsh winters and a closed operators end with so many panes of glass? That has to be one of the more unusual designs. That it survived is a wonder and Michigan representing Midwest interurban lines seem to fall into a more obscure category.I wonder if that long bridge used by the Northern Indiana to reach Michigan still exists? If I recall, wasn't it to be considered one of the longest interurban bridges at the time?
Great post as always.

Bruce Duensing said...

Photo of the bridge..

David Wilkins said...

CERA B-144 actually covers this interurban.

Bruce, the car design is a very early interurban design, probably one of the oldest interurban cars in existence. It owes a lot to steam road design, which is possibly why they have the open rear platform.

It also used a giant L2 controller. It may be the only piece of equipment around, save for the CRT 1024 at IRM, that ever had an L controller.

Mike said...

Hi! The car here is from the Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and Muskegon interurban. It was car 8, Merlin. The building is from the same railroad. The depot in nearby Marne, Mi also survives to this day. Much of the right of way East of Coopersville can be seen from the Coopersville and Marne tracks, right up to the point where the interurban crossed the line via a bridge, the remains of which are visible from the C&M line as well.