Discussion relating to the B&O up to it's 1972 merger into Chessie System. Visit the B&O Railroad Historical Society for more information. Also discussion of the C&O up to 1972. Visit the C&O Historical Society for more information. Also includes the WM up to 1972. Visit the WM Historical Society for more information.
  by GTW
Well, I was headed up to the lake for the weekendabout 2 months ago, and noticed an abandoned railroad bed headed west from Holland RD. into Six Lakes, MI.
It was horribley overgrown with weeds and bushes, but there was no way that was going to stop me from exploring. I rode my bike about 1/2mile from my campsite to the bed and hacked my way through the bushes with my machete. The brush only went back about 10 feet, opening to a weedinfested bed. The trail curved, straightened out and eventually went from a built up bed to a deg out bed. I managed to ride my bike about 3 miles before coming to a gate near a road. on the otherside of the road I continued to ride, almost running over a racoon (boy was she mad at me). After, I came to a mowed path and then very old trestle about 50ft long. I rode over the trestle, and stopped on the other side to look at it. I walked accross and very few if the ties where in bad shape. A few where busted and shaved, but for mostpart, the bridge was all there. Then, I looked off the side of the trestle and saw the wrecked shell of an old steam train laying in the river. six cars where aalso laying in the river, plied up around and ontop of it. I got back on my bike and continued the 1/4 mile in to town. I am going back tommarrow, and will try to get a few pictures of the trail, train and bridge.
I asked about the train at the antique shop and an old man walked up next to me. He said is name was Jim Matton and he had somthing to show me, so I followed him to the back room. He was tall man, about 80's. He pulled an old photo album off the shelf and sat next to me at his desk. He dusted it off and the cover read "Chesapeake & Ohio Railway" and then underneath that, "Six Lakes, Michigan 1876-1992". He opend it and it was full of numorus photos of the railroad company and the logging company that used it. There was also a picture of the train, laying on the river. the cause was a bridge collaps which would also explain the posts and ties laying along the banks and in the river. According to him, the train was over weight when it crossed the trestle, and the trestle gave out. The train was left for some unknown reason, and the trestle was rebuilt. Only oe man was killed in the accident. After talking with him for the rest of the day, He gave me a ride back to the campground. as I was getting out of his truck, He handed me the album and told me to hold on to it because it "would be of more use to me than him" Every weekend, I head out to his house and we have a few beers and continue looking through it. It's been about 2 months now and we are about half way through it. While we look through it, he names different people and tells stories of working the tracks. He worked for them for almost 50 years. He also tells me stories that his dad had told him when he was young. I am very very happy I met him. If you want any infoabout the old line let me know and I will be happy to ask him.

Oh, and By the Way, You now have your very own Michigan Abandoned Rail Spotter
  by hutton_switch
It sounds like what you're being told is reliable, as the elderly gentleman was apparently a first-line witness to the accident. Have you been taking notes about what he has been telling you? Another method, though possibly intimidating to him, would be to record his recollections on a cassette or digital recorder and later transcribing what he says. If he hasn't been recorded, you might ask him if he's willing, and then obtain a recorder to document what he says. I have been involved in such an effort and sometimes, conditions have to be just right for an individual to "open up".

Though I am a B&O fan, all roads have individuals still alive who, if the conditions are right, will open up and relate their experiences and stories to younger, interested individuals. There is one gentleman I know who worked for the B&O who is full of first-hand stories on his B&O experiences, and many of them he has related at the Yahoo B&O forum. I tremendously enjoy what he has to say, both written and verbally.

If we don't make the extra effort to document what these older individuals tell us while they are doing it, much can fall by the wayside, being forgotten, even if we try to transcribe the events later, and "holes" in stories result. Good luck!
  by sixlakesmi
Very good story.. But to bad it is completely made up!