Todd's Railfan Guide to

In General


In General

I'm going to make a guess that at one time, like many other American cities, Saginaw had a most interesting rail scene, especially with that "wye" configuration yard!!

The last time I was through here, about 8 or 9 years ago, there was a fixed position semaphore on 6th Ave as noted on the map.  The aerial shots are from www.bing.com/maps, if you have never used the resource, it's frickin great for railfanning! 

Most of the rail-road crossings are at grade level, in comparison to many of the other towns in the Michigan section, which should make chasing freights much easier due to speed restrictions.  I was only there for about an hour, so I can't tell you much about railfanning Saginaw per se.

Please - pictures are 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!  Contact info here



The Semaphore on 6th Ave.


In this view of 6th St, you  can just barely make out the semaphore to the right of the telephone on the right side of the street.  This is a fixed approach signal for the two headed searchlight signal about a half a mile down the track, where it joins up with the track that crosses the bridge.  The specticle looks like a RR shop homebrew....

From the crossing at Washington St.

The bridge as seen from Washington, and a www.bing.com/maps birds eye view.

The above semaphore serves as the approach signal to this one: a signal with two heads, but only the lower signal is a searchlight... the upper signal is a fixed aspect that always displays red.  The bottom three pictures are the lower head, the two in the middle are of the upper head.

A single GRS searchlight dwarf protects the drawbridge from this side.

To the left of the dwarf searchlight is the Lake State office.

The Depot on Potter St.

The Pere Marquette depot on Potter St, adjacent to the yards.


At The Yard.

Above and below are a couple of shots inside the wye.  It's too bad there isn't easy access to the turntable :-(

It's too bad all of the really good stuff is buried deep inside the yard :-(

An empty Lake State freight sitting on the south leg of the wye, NB - pictures from "above" are taken from the pedestrian crosswalk that goes over the yard.

Lake State, since I was around taking pictures of them maybe 6-8 years ago, has posted signs all over the place, and has put fences up at most locations, even in Bay City which was not even posted the last time I was there.  Michigan has a law where private property doesn't have to be posted, so you can be arrested for trespassing without any notice that you did something wrong... this was explained to us by a CSX cop in Toledo while taking pictures of another Lake State train.

The picture on the right is the view looking south from the pedestrian overpass... the far set of signals is about a mile and a half down the track.  With as little as the signals are used, you would think they would rewire them for approach lighting.

All of my photos are taken with a Canon SX10IS camera, which has 20x optical zoom, and another 4x digital, which adds up to 80x... add to this image stabilization, and you can  get pictures like this without a tripod!  The camera can also do macro to zero inches in addition to video and audio as a "tape recorder".  I used to shoot with a Canon SLR, and had to have a bag full of lenses to do the same thing.  I hated loosing the SLR, but less and less places are developing slides, and there's only one left in the U.S. still doing kodachrome.  Too many signals, not enough time.


The home of the Saginaw Railway Museum,
900 Maple Street, Saginaw MI, 48602
It's on the southwest side of town.   For more info: 


Other Shots from Around Town.

I wonder how many developers are jealous of the riverfront property the CN has on it's way through town.

One of the few other interlockings I could see from Bing, getting ready for the yard in town.

This is the north end of the small yard at Holland.  There used to be a diamond here - the line going off to the right is now a short industrial spur.

This is the north end of the small 7 track yard just south of Holland.

The signaled Interlocking below Hess Rd, eventually leading into the small yard at Holland.

The northernmost bridge of the two in town is shown way above, 
The picture just above is the other bridge, it probably doesn't swing anymore.

One of the entrances into the yard complex, this one on the west leg of the "wye".

At one time this probably provided some interesting switching off this siding, but it appears the one track now goes no-where.  It's off 27th and Holland, exit 149.

I don't normally include pictures of roads and/or highways, but I think the Michigan DOT should get some sort of award for this interchange :-)  It's exit 151, Washington Rd.

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Last Modified 01-Jan-2014