Michigan's Ann Arbor Railroads

Passenger Train Frankfort

In the nineteenth century, railroads linked together town and countryside. People and goods moved with undreamed ease and speed. By the early twentieth century steel rails represented the nation's finest transportation technology. Competition, however, from aircraft and trucks eroded the railroads' importance both as a means of transportation and as a symbol of American progress. By the twenty-first century railroads had become a service industry primarily used to move freight.


The history of the Ann Arbor Railroad is an example of the rise and decline in the railroad industry's economic position and symbolic importance. The story of the Ann Arbor is the story of railroads throughout Michigan and throughout America.

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