In the late 1800s, about 150 companies had a part in building what would become the Pere Marquette Railroad Company. These companies were primarily railroads, railroad construction firms, or enterprises otherwise involved in the lumber trade during the late 1800's. This dependence upon the lumber trade played a large role in the eventual PM amalgamation as the recessions of the late 1800s greatly diminished the demand for building materials, which in turn greatly reduced earnings of the railroads. On January 1, 1900, PM was formed primarily by the merger of the following railroads:
1) The Flint & Pere Marquette Railway Company, formed Jan. 22, 1857, one of the first of these companies in Michigan with track from East Saginaw to Mt. Morris. Originating traffic was lumber and salt. By 1874 the track extended from Monroe on Lake Erie to Ludington on Lake Michigan. Further expansion extended the system to Port Huron and Bay City and added numerous spur lines in the Saginaw Valley. The line was built south to Toledo as well. Today the remains of this system is the CSXT Saginaw Subdivision. 2) The Chicago & West Michigan RR was formed by 15 companies on December 28, 1868. The tracks extended from New Buffalo to Bay View, following the shoreline of Lake Michigan. It connected with the Flint and Pere Marquette Railway Company lines at Baldwin and Ludington. Traffic was primarily lumber, and later, manufactured goods. The remains of these lines is now the core of the present CSXT Grand Rapids Subdivision. 3) The Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western began as the Detroit and Howell which was incorporated September 21, 1864. By 1871 the trains were running from Detroit westward to Howard City, with 164 miles of track. Trackage was added by merging with several financially troubled roads in central lower Michigan, and had interchanges to the Flint & Pere Marquette at Saginaw and Plymouth. It also connected with the Chicago & West Michigan at Grand Rapids. Today the remains of this system is the CSXT Plymouth subdivision. The financial difficulties that led to the merger were not solved by the consolidation as the lumber revenue decreased without the anticipated offset of increased agricultural traffic. At this time in Michigan history the western plains were available for settlement with land better suited to farming than the stump covered swamp left by the timber harvest. Competition from water transportation for bulk loads such as coal or salt also depleted the revenue stream. The newly formed Pere Marquette embarked on an expansion program through a series of takeovers and trackage rights agreements to allow through traffic from Buffalo to Chicago. This, combined with the Port Huron to Ludington traffic that by-passed Chicago, was hoped to keep the system profitable or at least solvent. It operated 1700 route miles in Michigan with another 41 out of state. Shortly after its formation, the control of the PM was in the hands of a St. Louis based stock syndicate comprised of midwest business interests. The administration of the railroad by this group led to great difficulty as questionable financial arrangements, policies of deferred maintenance, and loss of exchange traffic all combined to cripple operations. By 1910 the system was in receivership with control being shuffled between the Erie, B&O and J.P. Morgan companies over the next several years. In 1916 the Van Sweringen Brothers got into the railroad business with the purchase of the New York, Chicago & St. Louis railroad, better known as the Nickel Plate. Their expansion plans were to merge the C&O, Erie and Pere Marquette with the Nickel Plate. They executed this plan between 1922-1924 buying a controlling interest in these roads. The ICC did not approve the merger and the Brothers sold their Pere Marquette interest to the C&O. In 1946 the C&O formally consolidated the Pere Marquette into the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.
I) Flint & Pere Marquette R.R. Co 1889-1899 I.a) East Saginaw & St. Clair R.R Co 1872 I.b) Flint & Pere Marquette R.R. Co 1880-1889 I.b.1) Flint & Pere Marquette Ry Co 1872-1880 I.b.1a) Bay City and East Saginaw R.R Co. 1864-1872 I.b.1b) Flint & Pere Marquette R.R. Co 1868-1872 I.b.1b.1) Flint & Pere Marquette R.R. Co 1857-1868 I.b.1b.2) The Flint & Holly R.R. Co. 1863-1868 I.b.1b.2a) The Flint & Fentonville R.R. Co 1863 I.b.1c) The Flint River R.R. Co 1871-1872 I.b.1d) Holly, Wayne & Monroe Ry. Co 1865-1872 I.b.1e) The Cass River R.R. Co 1871-1872 I.c) Saginaw & Mount Pleasant R.R. Co 1879-1889 I.d) Manistee R.R. Co 1880-1889 I.e) Saginaw & Clare County R.R Co 1877-1889 I.f) Port Huron & Northwestern Ry. Co 1882-1889 * I.g) The Monroe & Toledo Ry. Co 1893-1897* II.) Chicago & West Michigan Ry. Co 1881-1899 II.a) Chicago & West Michigan Ry. Co 1878-1881 II.a.1) Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co. 1872-1878 II.a.1a) Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co. 1871-1872 II.a.1a.1) Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co. 1870-1871 II.a.1a.1a) Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co.1869-1870 II.a.1a.1a.1) Chicago & Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co. 1869 II.a.1a.1a.2) Lake Shore R.R. Co of Western Michigan 1869 II.a.1a.1b) The Grand Rapids & Lake Shore R.R. Co. 1869-1870 II.a.1a.2) The Montague, Pentwater & Manistee R.R. Co 1871 II.a.1a.3) The Grand Rapids & Holland R.R. Co 1871 II.a.1b) Muskegon & Big Rapids R.R. Co 1871-1872 II.b) Indiana & Michigan R.R.Co 1881 II.c) Grand Rapids, Newaygo & Lake Shore R.R. Co 1869-1881 II.d) Grand Haven R.R. Co 1878-1881 II.d.1) Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co 1869-1878 II.d.1a) Michigan Lake Shore R.R. Co 1869 II.d.1b) Allegan & Holland R.R. Co 1868-1869 II.d.1c) The Muskegon & Ferrysburg R.R. Co 1869 II.e) White River R.R. Co. 1879-1884 II.f) Chicago & North Michigan R.R. Co 1879-1899 III.) Detroit, Grand Rapids & Western R.R. Co 1896-1899 III.a) Saginaw and Grand Rapids R.R. Co 1878-1896 III.b) Saginaw Valley & St. Louis R.R. Co 1871-1896 III.c) Detroit,Lansing and Northern R.R. Co 1876-1896 III.c.1) Detroit,Lansing and Lake Michigan R.R. Co 1872-1876 III.c.1a) The Ionia, Stanton & Northern R.R. Co 1872 III.c.1b) The Detroit,Lansing & Lake Michigan R.R. Co 1871-1872 III.c.1b.1) The Ionia & Lansing R.R. Co 1866-1871 III.c.1b.2) Detroit, Howell & Lansing R.R.Co 1870-1871 III.c.1b.2a) The Detroit & Howell R.R. Co 1864-1870 III.c.1b.2b) Howell &Lansing R.R. Co 1868-1870 III.d) Grand Rapids, Lansing and Detroit 1887-1896 III.e) The Saginaw & Western R.R. Co 1883-1896 III.e.1) The Chicago, Saginaw & Canada R.R. Co 1873-1883 IV.) The Muskegon Lake R.R. Co. 1879-1900 V.) South Haven & Eastern R.R. Co 1894-1903 V.a) Toledo & South Haven 1886-1894 V.a.1) Paw Paw R.R. Co 1857-1886 V.a.2) The Lake Michigan Division of the Toledo & South Haven R.R. 1884-1886 V.a.3) Van Buren Division of the Toledo & South Haven R.R.1876-1886 VI.) Sanilac R.R. Co. 1901-1903 VII.) Bay City Belt Line R.R. Co. 1889-1903 VIII) Saginaw, Tuscola & Huron R.R. Co 1881-1903 IX.) Milwakee, Benton Harbor & Columbus Ry. Co 1897-1903 IX.a) Benton Harbor & South Eastern Ry. Co 1893-1897 IX.b) St. Joseph Valley Ry. Co 1889-1897 IX.b.1) St. Joseph Valley R.R. Co 1884-1889 IX.b.1a) St. Joseph Valley R.R. Co 1880-1884 IX.b.1b) South Bend & St. Joseph Ry. Co 1884 X.) The Benton Harbor, Coloma &Paw Paw Lake Train Ry. Co 1895-1903 XI.) Grand Rapids, Belding and Saginaw R.R. Co. 1898-1903 XI.a) Lowell & Hastings R.R. Co 1887-1899 XI.a.1) Hastings, Lowell & Northern Michigan R.R. Co 1883-1887 XI.a.1.a) Kalamazoo, Lowell & Northern Michigan R.R. Co 1871-1883 XII.) Harbor Beach & Port Hope R.R. Co. 1880-1889 I.e) Saginaw & Clare County R.R Co 1877-1889 I.f) Port Huron & Northwestern Ry. Co 1882-1889 *
IRON HIGHWAY - The Corporate Perspective