Mason McCowan, 3, of Pontiac, wears the appropriate cap for a July 21 ride aboard a vintage train. The train, run by Michigan Transit Museum volunteers, takes off every Sunday through the end of October from Joy Park in Clinton Township.

Mason McCowan, 3, of Pontiac, wears the appropriate cap for a July 21 ride aboard a vintage train. The train, run by Michigan Transit Museum volunteers, takes off every Sunday through the end of October from Joy Park in Clinton Township.

Photo by Donna Agusti


MTM train taking off at Joy Park

By: Julie Snyder | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published August 1, 2019

 Volunteers with the Michigan Transit Museum operate 30-minute Sunday train rides from Joy Park.

Volunteers with the Michigan Transit Museum operate 30-minute Sunday train rides from Joy Park.

Photo by Donna Agusti

 Michigan Transit Museum volunteer conductor Riley Allendorf talks trains with Kathy Riddle and her great-grandsons, Bentley Salisbury, 4, and Ayden Salisbury, 5, of Warren.

Michigan Transit Museum volunteer conductor Riley Allendorf talks trains with Kathy Riddle and her great-grandsons, Bentley Salisbury, 4, and Ayden Salisbury, 5, of Warren.

Photo by Donna Agusti

Advertisement

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — All aboard the Michigan Transit Museum’s vintage train.

The museum’s featured attraction, a vintage passenger car locomotive with a real antique caboose and a diesel engine, is now giving leisurely train rides every Sunday.

Karl Joost, one of close to 100 MTM volunteers who either work at the museum depot in Mount Clemens or on the train itself, said it’s the passengers and volunteers who come and donate their time each year that keep the train on track.

“We’re using equipment from the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s,” he said. “The money we get from ticket sales really helps us keep the train moving.”

The train takes off from Joy Park, located on Joy Boulevard in Clinton Township. Each Sunday, passengers are taken on a 30-minute ride every hour between 1 and 4 p.m. The train moves east at a relaxing 10 mph, then reverses and heads west to just past southbound Gratiot Avenue before it arrives back at the park.

The tracks were built in the late 1890s to service the Franklin Sugar Beet Mill on the Clinton River, across from where the former Gibraltar Trade Center building is located.

The depot continued in railroad use until 1980, when the city of Mount Clemens bought it and leased it to the MTM for use as its headquarters and museum. The depot is now restored to its 1900s appearance, and inside are exhibits surrounding railroading of various eras, as well as a gift shop.

Joost said the fall harvest and Halloween train rides will return Oct. 20 and 27, as will as the Christmas-themed rides in conjunction with Clinton Township Parks and Recreation later in the year.

Train tickets cost $7 for adults, $4 for kids between the ages of 4 and 12, and are free for children 3 and younger.

Joost said the MTM recently received a donation of a fully restored 1923 wooden caboose. The caboose, donated by an unidentified man in Romulus, is currently being moved in sections to the museum depot, where a public reveal and ribbon cutting event is planned for the fall.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “All wood inside, with real period lighting. We’re really looking forward to it.”

The Michigan Transit Museum is open 1-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays at 200 Grand Ave. For information on the museum, call (586) 463-1863 or visit michigantransitmuseum.org, or find the MTM on Facebook under Michigan Transit Museum.

Advertisement