The Southern Michigan Railroad Society is a railway museum in Clinton, Michigan, United States. It has preserved of track and a variety of railroad equipment including the only GMDH-3 locomotive ever built. Trains are operated on a seasonal schedule.
== History ==
The Society began as the "Lenawee Area Railroaders", an informal association of railway buffs and modelers. They held monthly gatherings in Tecumseh, Clinton and Adrian, Michigan, and starting in June 1981 they published a newsletter, "The Cross Tracks". In 1982 when it was learned that Conrail would abandon their Clinton Secondary Track they founded the nonprofit Southern Michigan Railroad Society, a volunteer membership organization, "to back an attempt by local citizens to purchase and preserve the former New York Central Railroad's Clinton Branch rail line."
In 1983 the Society purchased the abandoned former Clinton Engines building, located adjacent to the railroad at 320 S. Division Street from The Village of Clinton for a nominal sum. In July 1984, they reached agreement with Conrail to purchase the railroad, for $100,000.
In 1985, a small "track speeder" motorcar had been donated to the Society, and during Clinton's Fall Festival, speeder rides were improvised for the public. This was successful. The Society was able to obtain other motorcars, and for several years operated a successful passenger service while they gathered funds to truck in full-size equipment. At the height of motorcar operation, there were two "motorcar trains" of up to 5 motorcars running simultaneously between Clinton and Tecumseh.
The first large equipment to be obtained was an operating Plymouth locomotive and two cabooses. Within a few years, this was augmented with a pipe gondola car fitted for carrying passengers. Later, a 1920 Chicago South Shore interurban car was added to the train. Additional locomotives arrived, including a former Western Maryland Railway GE 44-ton and the GMDH-3.
In September 2009 a hostile takeover attempt was launched against the Society by a Tecumseh-area property developer and lawyer.
In 2013 the Society acquired a 22,000 square foot shop building in Clinton to be used as a maintenance and restoration facility.
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