This week, photographer Jeff Dunn got in touch with us and showed us some incredible sunrise shots from the historic Durand Union Station in Michigan, USA. We've picked a small selection of Jeff's amazing images of this historic station. Though Jeff loves trains, his main subject matter is covering the Detroit Jazz scene and you can see more of his work over on his Twitter account @jeffdunncom, on Instagram and on his website http://jeffdunn.com/.
All photographs: Jeff Dunn
Durand Union Station was constructed in 1903 (and then repaired after a fire in 1905) to serve the city of Durand which lies at the junction connecting the Holly and Flint subdivisions of the Canadian National Railway. For almost half a century, Durand saw a monumental amount of railroad traffic with almost 150 trains passing through per day, including passenger, mail and freight services of the Ann Arbor and Grand Trunk Western Railroads. Durand is thought to have at one stage been the second busiest station in Michigan. A variety of passenger services ran over the years terminating at various points throughout Michigan and beyond, including Port Huron, Detroit, Grand Haven and Chicago. Later in the 1960s, Grand Trunk Western services would go through Durand between Chicago and Toronto and this was continued by VIA and Amtrak for a period from 1982.
In 1971, with the withdrawal of Grand Trunk Western services at Durand, the Station faced the very real threat of demolition until the City of Durand stepped in to purchase the station eight years later in 1979. Amtrak also reinstated services to Durand in 1974 with the Chicago to Port Huron Blue Water service which continues to this day. As a result, the station was revived and restored, being a popular spot for railfans and photographers who admire the Chateau Romanesque architecture, wooden beams and old style ticket cage. The history of Michigan's railroads takes centre stage at the station in the form of the State Railroad History Museum and this itself draws in visitors and railfans.
But of course, its survival is also owed to its continued relevance as a working station, with the Blue Water Amtrak services still operating at Durand. Today this service hosts the modern facilities of WiFi, Quiet Cars (on weekdays), Bicycle / Golf bag storage and Business Class accommodation along a 319 mile journey between Chicago and Port Huron. Sun rises behind Durand Union Station. In 1905, the building was ablaze in a different form of light as fire tore through it. It was quickly rebuilt afterwards. GE ES44AC Canadian National No.3827 sits in the centre of this freight consist heading east in the direction of Flint. Amtrak continue to operate services through Durand with the 'Blue Water' service stopping there. Siemens Charger SC-44 No.4601 (above) heads up one of these services to Chicago showing off the new Midwest livery with No.4624 (below) on the rear. The Michigan Railroad History Museum brings railfans and visitors to Durand to learn more about the impact the railroads had on the state. In recent years, exhibits have included: Women Contributors to Railroading; Car Ferries and Trains Across the Lakes; Hobos and Hobo Culture and Troop Cars and Military Trains. GTW Caboose 75003 arrived at Durand, it is thought, in the 1970s and was subsequently purchased by a railfan in the 1980s. It is a lasting reminder of the Grand Trunk Western's importance to Durand.
For more information on Durand Union Station, see https://www.durandstation.org/
For more information on Amtrak's Blue Water service, see https://www.amtrak.com/michigan-services-train
Since the success of the virtual Warley Show in 2020, the famous Model Railway Club have continued to broadcast virtual content on Warley Wednesdays, including a chat with us at We Are Railfans!
Chetnole is one of only a selection of UK stations that requires a request to either board or alight.