Iím getting into the discussion a little late and, unfortunately, I donít have my reference material here with me. But let me put in a few cents worth.
Benís photograph certainly appears to be a westbound. West of Kalamazoo the high tension wires were on the south side of the tracks from Kalamazoo out to about ľ of a mile west of the 8th St. bridge. I canít find any power lines along the right of way any farther west into Mattawan. Just where the photo was taken I canít say, but my guess would be looking east from about the old Michigan Avenue crossing that is just east of Drake Road Ė where the end of double track is at CP147.
The signal behind the train is an automatic block signal. The top signal is on the left of the mast and the bottom is on the right. The combination of two signal lights allowed a display of more aspects with a greater variety of indications Ė instructions. Westbound being upgrade this allowed trains to follow at slower speeds than a single yellow indication would.
Kalamazoo to Niles was changed to single track in, I think, the mid-1960s. But I donít have an exact date without my references to consult.
There appears to be some confusion about the name Oshtemo. So, first, a bit of history. When the MC built from Kalamazoo to Niles in 1846-47, the line between Kalamazoo and Mattawan was on a different grade. Just west of Lovell St. crossing, at about MP 144.3, the line curved and moved onto the present grade of Stadium Drive. It stayed on this until a short distance west of Rambling Road where is bowed to south to run near Asylum Lake, then came back up to Stadium Drive a short distance east of Drake Road. The grade can be seen there. From Drake Road it turned southwest, and went through Oshtemo to get to Mattawan. Through Oshtemo the line was on the north side of Atlantic Avenue with the MC depot on the south side of the tracks just east of 9th Street. The place was called Oshtemo and sometimes Ostemo. (Leave it to historians to introduce confusion.) From 9th Street west to Mattawan the grade generally is visible. The stonework for a West P Avenue road overpass Ĺ mile west of 1st Street can still be seen. The 1873 Kalamazoo County atlas shows this in detail.
Between 1903 and 1905 the MC built the ďOshtemo diversion.Ē The important part was a new line between Lovell Street and Mattawan, via Millers. The new line, from MP 144.3 to MP 156.4, was 12.1 miles long, and was 0.8 miles longer than the original main line through Oshtemo. The top of the grade, at Millers, was 950 feet, which was 12 feet lower than the 962 feet at Oshtemo. This substantially eased the westbound grade out of Kalamazoo and eased somewhat the grade eastbound from Mattawan. Even with the improvement the hill on the diversion was steep enough to require the occasional use of a pusher engine for the first few miles out of Kalamazoo, that is until diesel days.
A second part of the diversion work was lifting the line from Mattawan west to 28th Street. This extensive fill eased the eastbound grade from Lawton to Mattawan. The whole project improved the eastbound grade from Lawton to Millers.
Millers station was at about MP 150.7, on the north side of LM Avenue west of 6th Street. The top of the Miller hill was at about MP 150.3 that was about 0.2 miles east of CP150 that was at MP 150.5. Up until the 1950s there was an eastbound and a westbound passing track at Millers. My records and my memory do not tell me exactly the location of the east and west switches or the length of the passing tracks. It does seem that the west switches were just east of LM Avenue but I have no proof of this. Just when the second track was taken out between CP147 and CP150 I donít have a source, but my guess is it was in the late 1960s under Penn Central.
I hope this has helped.
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