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New Buffalo was once a significant engine terminal on the Pere Marquette (PM) Railroad. Westbound trains would stop to refuel and top off their water tanks en route to Chicago. This was their last chance before leaving their own track line which changed over roughly 20 miles to the southwest. When you consider a steam locomotive of the day consuming one ton of coal for every twelve miles and 150 gallons of water per mile having stores of coal and water at convenient locations was the life blood of railroads.
New Buffalo was also the point where the PM branch from LaCrosse, Indiana joined the Chicago-Grand Rapids mainline.
In 1947 the Pere Marquette Railway of Michigan and Ontario merged with Chesapeake & Ohio Line.
Many of the Pere Marquette’s steam locomotives like the one pictured here spent their last days on the dead line at New Buffalo before being hauled away to be cut down to scrap.
The rail yard in New Buffalo ceased operations train operations in 1984. Much of the yard’s equipment was scrapped. The 90-foot turntable at the locomotive facility (roundhouse) was removed and relocated to Owosso for use at the Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation’s Steam Railroading Institute.
Photo: Railroading in New Buffalo was often a family effort. The photo shows men working in the New Buffalo train around 1940. Two of those pictured are father and son: Harvey Paddock (right) and his son Russell (left).