The Coopersville & Marne Railway Company was incorporated on July 13, 1989. The idea was to preserve the track between Coopersville and Marne for passenger and freight service. Later on, our railroad purchased the rest of the track from Marne into Grand Rapids.
Our line has a long history. It was chartered as the Oakland and Ottawa Railroad Company on April 3, 1848. The railroad was merged with the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad Company in 1855, and the name was changed to the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad. The track through Marne and Coopersville was first laid down in the summer of 1858. The first train into Grand Rapids arrived there in June of 1858, with the first train into Grand Haven arrived in September of the same year.
In May of 1928, our track became part of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad Company. In 1987 the Central Michigan Railway Company purchased the line.
The Coopersville and Marne Railway Company began operations on July 4, 1990. We have room for approximately 275 passengers on our train.
Three of our coaches originally were commuter cars, two from the East Coast (DL&W), and one from the Canadian National Railroad. The coaches are heated in the cold weather. The coaches are equipped with restrooms for passenger convenience. There are also restrooms in our station.
Our train is pulled by a 1950's era 125 ton General Motors SW9 switcher locomotive, #7014. This locomotive was originally owned by the Grand Trunk Western Railway and served in Battle Creek, Michigan. The 1,200 horsepower diesel engine turns a generator, which feeds electricity to the traction motors, driving the wheels.
As you look around our property in downtown Coopersville, you will see other equipment and historic buildings. We have a GE 50-ton, center cab which we use as backup locomotive and in-yard movements. Other non-working diesel locomotives are lined up on one of our sidings as well as our ex-CN, 1912 Baldwin Steam Locomotive. Other equipment on site is used for ongoing track maintenance or historic preservation. Please do not climb on the equipment.
We have an ex-Interurban station that was moved to its present location from Spring Lake, MI. We also have a watchman’s shanty that used to be in Grand Rapids, MI. Our new train station is located at 306 E. Main Street Coopersville, MI 49404.
We hope that if you are in the area, you’ll stop by and ride with us.