Boyne City Railroad
The Boyne City Railroad was a former U.S. short line that operated between 1893 and 1978 in Northern Michigan. It offered service between Lake Charlevoix, a navigable lake in northern Michigan, and a north-south trunk railroad that neared but did not touch the lake. The Boyne City Railroad's operating life passed through three distinct stages:
- Boyne City & Southeastern, a 7-mile short line operating in 1893-1905 in Charlevoix County between Boyne City, Michigan, always the headquarters of the railroad, and nearby Boyne Falls, Michigan, where the short line connected with the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad trunk line between Grand Rapids, Michigan and Mackinaw City, Michigan.
- Boyne City, Gaylord & Alpena, a 99-mile medium-distance line operating in 1918-35. This expansion began when the Boyne City & Southeastern built new track in 1905 from Boyne Falls eastward to the Michigan Central trunk line in Gaylord, Michigan. In 1918, the railroad reached its maximum extent when as the result of its final expansion it intersected with the Detroit and Mackinac Railway main line in Alpena, Michigan on Lake Huron. The expanded railroad offered service to Charlevoix County, Antrim County, Otsego County, Montmorency County, and Alpena County, all in Michigan.
- Boyne City Railroad, a short line operating on the railroad's original 7 miles of roadbed in 1935-78. The Boyne City Railroad resumed its predecessor's primary function of providing freight service from Boyne City to the Boyne Falls north-south trunk line, operated successively by the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Penn Central, and the Northern Michigan Railway. During the final two years of its operating life (1976-78), the short line was known as the Boyne Valley Railroad, and offered excursion passenger service only. Passenger service ended after the summer of 1978, and the railroad was formally abandoned in 1982.
None of the trackage formerly operated by the Boyne City Railroad remains in use to this day. However, eight miles (13 km.) of the former Boyne City, Gaylord & Alpena roadbed remain traceable, parallelling the Thunder Bay River east of Hillman, Michigan. The abandoned roadbed passes through a section of the Mackinaw State Forest in Alpena County, Michigan.