Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Detroit and Pontiac Railroad

The Detroit and Pontiac Railroad, conceived in 1830, was the first incorporated railroad in the Northwest Territory, the sixth railroad to receive a charter from Michigan, and the second railroad in the state to actually operate trains. It was the second attempt of a railroad company to connect the cities of Detroit and Pontiac, 25 miles apart.

When the first incarnation of the company failed to complete the railroad along Pontiac Road in the time allotted, the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad was reincorporated under a new charter in 1834.

Plagued by swamps and sink holes, the wooden-railed, horse-drawn railway made little progress until in 1838, when its construction was partially funded by a $100,000 loan from the state. By July 1838 the line went to Royal Oak and a year later reached Birmingham. In 1843, the railroad finally spanned from Pontiac to Detroit.

In 1855 the Detroit and Pontiac Railroad, along with the Oakland and Ottawa Railroad, was consolidated into the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad.