News & Reviews News Wire Bluewater NRHS winds down operations; will close at end of year NEWSWIRE

Bluewater NRHS winds down operations; will close at end of year NEWSWIRE

By Wayne Laepple | July 9, 2019

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ROYAL OAK, Mich. – The Bluewater Michigan Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, well-known throughout the Midwest for its fleet of passenger equipment, is going out of business, President John C. Moore Jr. announced over the weekend.

Headquartered in Royal Oak, the chapter was chartered in 1982 and had more than 900 members at its peak, but is now down to about 30 people. It operated excursions trains throughout the Midwest and even in British Columbia and overseas. It maintained an fleet of quality passenger equipment for its trips as well as for lease to other groups.

Moore cited the shutdown of the Norfolk Southern steam program 25 years ago as the beginning of the end. Even the limited return of the NS steam program in 2015 did not help. Despite shifting its emphasis to regional and shortline railroads, changes in insurance and railroad ownership meant passenger trains were no longer welcome. The chapter’s operating and maintenance base in the former CSX yard in Saginaw was no longer available, and locations for safe storage of equipment became limited.

The group has disposed of its collection of rolling stock and is now down to its last two cars, a former Grand Trunk Western buffet-club and a former Seaboard Air Line round-end tavern-observation. Both are leased at present, but the chapter plans to sell them to qualified buyers soon. Three boxcars of parts in Saginaw will also be sold.

Any funds remaining after the sale will be divided between the car owners and the NRHS Rail Camp program, Moore says is a prepared statement. A farewell banquet is planned for November, with the final meeting of the chapter to be held in December.
Trains News Wire is awaiting additional information from the organization.

6 thoughts on “Bluewater NRHS winds down operations; will close at end of year NEWSWIRE

  1. Rode behind the NKP765 on a Bluewater sponsored excursion back in 92 from Oakwood Yard Melvindale, MI to Bellevue, OH. Will always remember it as my first ride behind steam.. Farewell Bluewater and thanks for the memories

  2. I am asked sometimes why not more passenger excursions with the beloved steam engines of Portland Oregon? I tell them you can not even turn a wheel unless you pony up 50K or more for insurance. This news does not surprise me. In Europe state owned railroads run dueling steam engines with packed consists of loving fans. The high cost of risk management has doomed a once thriving activity.

  3. Sad for this resident of the Wolverine State, having fond memories of excursions on CN’s GTW from Royal Oak to Bay City (with Semta commuter equipment) and Allen Park, MI to Fort Wayne behind NW 611. I also remember runs going by my childhood home on the erstwhile GTW Romeo Sub – Circle Tours I believe they were called, with that fluted side obs on the end bringing up the markers. While it will be sad to see the demise of Bluewater at least the folks in Owosso are keeping excursions alive in central Michigan, thanks to GLC’s kind support.

  4. Sad to read, I’ve ridden on two of their excursions in the past they did a first class job.

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