The smell of burning leaves is surely in the air on the sunny afternoon of 22 October 1980 as Conrail’s southbound Clinton Local trundles through Tecumseh, Michigan. The locomotive’s bell will be ringing, as it did all the way through town, alerting locals of the continuing presence of the railroad in Tecumseh.

Edward Hodges photographed the train approaching the Patterson Street crossing, the area known as Tecumseh Junction. In the distance, buildings of the Tecumseh Products Company are visible. In the foreground, the interchange track to the old DT&M east-west line can be seen curving in the grass. All this, now gone.

The Union Pacific boxcar proclaims an “automated rail way”—a far cry from the traditional railroading being practiced on the Clinton Branch.


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