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Michigan Central Station – The Train Station of Detroit.

Written By: Gary on August 1, 2009 3 Comments

I’ve never even heard of the Michigan Central Station before today. I happened to see a photo of it in the (overly-dramatic titled) The Remains of Detroit photo essay on Time.com (which got mention on one of The Economist blogs) yesterday.


Opened in 1913, the terminal was designed by the architects Warren & Wetmore and Reed & Stern, the same firm that designed New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. “It’s staggering,” says Hemmerle, “that such a phenomenal piece of architecture could stand empty for twenty years.”

– From Time.com

I did a little more looking and found this six minute video.

Direct link to Michigan Central Station video.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard mention of such a huge train station in Detroit; at the time it was built it was the tallest train station in the world. I can’t even picture it, so I might have to take a ride this week to see where it is.

I guess the city was looking to demolish earlier this year and I never heard a peep (someone is suing Detroit since it’s a historical landmark). And they filmed some scenes for the Transformers movie here a few years ago, never heard anything about that either.

The video mentioned 75 trains in and out a day. I felt like those were mostly passenger trains, but maybe I was wrong. I’ve mentioned many times before that I love the train but now the Detroit station has six passenger trains a day (see page 2), three going west and the same going east from a small building near the Fisher building. These are the same trains that hit the Dearborn station a mile from my house which makes it very convenient when I want to head towards Chicago.

Photo courtesy of WikiPedia.

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3 Responses to “Michigan Central Station – The Train Station of Detroit.”

  1. d.w. says on: 1 August 2009 at 9:51 am

    Gary — it’s not far from the old Tiger Stadium — just a few blocks southwest down Michigan Avenue.

  2. d.w. says on: 1 August 2009 at 9:52 am

    BTW, it’s visible from I-75.

  3. F..K. Plous says on: 4 January 2010 at 1:25 pm

    “I felt like those were mostly passenger trains, but maybe I was wrong.”

    Huh? Of course they were passenger trains. That’s the only kind of trains that use a passenger station (except for the odd mail train). Freight trains are handled in a classification yard, and the individual freight cars are loaded and unloaded at sidings serving loading docks on the shipper’s or receiver’s property. The entire purpose of a railroad station is to provide a place where passengers can get on or off passenger trains.

    By the way, it’s a technicality to call Michigan Central Station the tallest station in the world. The tall part is simply an office building with a railroad-station “headhouse”–ticket offices, waiting rooms, restaurants, bars and baggage-handling facilities–on the ground floor. The part where the trains are handled–the roofed-over track-and-platform area, was no taller than other stations, i.e., one story. If you want to see the truly tallest railroad station in the world it’s probably St. Pancras in London, which was recently remodeled to handle the high-speed Eurostar trains that connect London with Paris and Brussels via the Channel Tunnel. Although completely rebuilt and reopened in 2008, St. Pancras still has its original 1869 trainshed covering all its tracks and platforms. It’s a huge, barrel-shaped roof supported by iron arches–243 feet wide, 690 feet long and exactly 100 feet high–looks like an airplane hangar with trains under it. Now, THAT’s a tall station.

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