Hillsdale railway workers 1908

Hillsdale was the “hub” of the network of New York Central secondary lines in southeastern Michigan. The Toledo-Elkhart “Old Road” ran through Hillsdale, and branch lines headed out in all directions.

Here we find a nice vintage shot from Hillsdale, dated 1908. These railroad workers look like a mixed group—trainmen for certain, possibly also some track workers or even someone from the office.

In the background, the wooden caboose proudly proclaims “Lake Shore & Michigan Southern” across its flanks. It would be another six years before the LS&MS was folded into the parent New York Central Railroad.

It’s a rare view into another time.



  1. Kerry Scaife March 16, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    Interesting no trainline between the caboose and the next car, should they not have air brakes by 1908?

    Also wonder what the strange device is on the side of the copula.

  2. Jay Williams March 17, 2017 at 4:07 am

    As of 1910, only 85% of a train’s cars had to have brakes under the engineer’s control so if the picture is from 1908 it could be reasonable that it wouldn’t yet have air brakes. I have no idea about what’s on the coupla though.

  3. Kerry Scaife April 19, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    I posted this picture on the RYPN board and it generated quite a bit of conversation.


    Where did you find this picture Jeff?


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