RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.
Todd and Denver Todd's Railfan Guide to
and the Coopersville & Marne Rwy
GPS Coordinates: 43.063510, -85.935206 (Town Square across from the C&M station/ticket sales)
Access by train/transit:
Railroad Signals in the
The Coopersville and Marne Railway Company is a historic and excursion railroad about 15 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, and is all volunteer. You can also ride in theri SW-9 engine for 35 bucks, and rent a caboose for parties or private affairs hooked to their excursion train.
The Coopersville and Marne Railway Company
was incorporated on July 13, 1989. The initial purpose of those
involved was to purchase the old Grand Trunk
right-of-way between the towns of Coopersville and Marne, just to the
northwest of Grand Rapids. The idea was to preserve the track for
future use and to provide vintage passenger service. The purchase was
made on December 14, 1989.
The line has a long history. It was chartered as the Oakland and Ottawa Railroad Company on April 3, 1848. The purpose was to build a railroad from "Oakland via Fentonville to Lake Michigan in Ottawa County". 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 arriving there in September of that year. There is more history available on their history page, which is where this was plagiarized from :-).
The main attraction in Coopersville is the Coopersville & Marne Rwy. The railroad is primarily an excursion railroad, with trains operating for almost the whole year except for January and February. Some trains are regular excursion trains, others are themed trains. They offer two special items of interest not offered by most other excursion railroads: you can rent the services of their caboose either in the yard, or to run behind one of their regularly scheduled trains. In addition, they offer cab rides in the engine for $35, with a maximum of two riders per trip. The people running the railroad are all volunteers, most are Ham Radio operators, and they are all just as friendly as can be. As you can see from the pictures below, they have quite an assortment of equipment in their yard. For much more and current information, check out their website here. Below are some of the key points about the railroad:
Another railroad related building is the Coopersville Historical Museum, which is partially housed in a ~1902 interurban railway depot. Outside on display is an interurban car, and a number of older railroad related items as can be seen below.
There is also the Coopersville Farm Museum which looks interesting. We didn't have a chance to go thru either of the museums, for they were both closed.
By far, the busiest area of town for fast food, services, and hotels is on the west side of town, near the traffic circle at 68th Street and W. Randall Street.
Thanks to Denver Todd for his help with this and the rest of my railfan guides and suggesting welcome changes to help all ya'll. Denver gave me the nickel tour when we came through town on this rainy afternoon - many thanks!
Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area:
Coopersville's Chamber of Commerce:
Coopersville Historical Museum: http://coopersvillehistoricalmuseum.org/
Coopersville Farm Museum: http://www.coopersvillefarmmuseum.org/
Getting to Coopersville couldn't get much easier, being located right off of interstate 96, between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven/Muskegon. Regardless from which direction you come from, it is easier to get off at exit 16, go north to the traffic circle, then proceed east on Randall Street.
Click here for the above map in PDF form
1 Coopersville & Marne Shops
2 Coopersville & Marne Station / Ticket Office
GPS Coordinates: 43.063341, -85.935330
3 GRGH&M Interurban Depot
GPS Coordinates: 43.064055, -85.935754
This depot served the Grand Rapids, Grand Haven & Muskegon Rwy from 1902 till the railroad stopped running in 1928. It was an electric interurban railway that ran on overhead wire in the cities, and 3rd rail power in the country. The building now serves as the Coopersville Historical Museum. That is Denver happily pointing to the sign.
4 ex Spring Lake Interurban Depot
GPS Coordinates: 43.064046, -85.937522
This depot was moved from Sprig Lake to here, and it sits next to the shop building.
City Hall / Sheriff's Office / Fire Station
GPS Coordinates: 43.062989, -85.934319
Being a "small town", all of the important city functions and services are located in this one building
Left: Courtesy of the University of Texas Library, click
their index page.
In their collection, the set of maps is from too early a time frame to have a quadrangle map for Cooperstown.
I'm not sure when the newer map is from, but it doesn't have the detail the older maps do.
I love trains, and I love signals. I am not an expert. My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page. This is something I have fun with while trying to help others. My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place. There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages. Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like. I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion). If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)
Please Note: Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them. For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.
If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct. Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names. Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations. I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area. Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them. Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature. While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!
My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a
thousand words, especially for railfanning. Text descriptions only
get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented. Take
along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still
better if you get lost! I belong to AAA, which allows you to get
local maps for free when you visit the local branches. ADC puts
out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their
state maps do not have the railroads on them. If you can find em,
I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and
concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where
tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.
Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.
Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here
Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.
Last Modified 06-Sep-2016