Welcome to Durand Union Station. The depot nicknamed the “Queen of the Rails,” was built in 1903 as a result of growing rail traffic along lines controlled by the Grand Trunk and Ann Arbor rail systems. A devastating fire destroyed the structure in 1905, and an identical station was built in its place in five months. Durand Union Station has seen the rise, fall, and rebirth of the railroading industry in Michigan.
Today, it is the home of the Michigan Railroad History Museum. The Gallery, Library, Archives, and Gift Shop are to your left as you enter the station. To the right is the Men’s Restroom and Elevator, followed by the Ladies’ Room and the Depot’s passenger lobby. Amtrak stops at the station twice a day, heading toward Chicago at 8:00 AM and returning at 9:30 PM. There are historical photos throughout both floors.
The second floor contains the offices for the Depot’s non-profit, a conference room, and the Grand Ballroom. The conference room and ballroom are available for event rentals. The museum rooms for the Grand Trunk and Ann Arbor Historical Societies are also on the second floor, open to the public on Saturdays. The Model Railroad Engineers operate out of the Depot on Saturdays as well.
We hope you enjoy your time inside the Depot and leave with the same love of it that the people of Durand have had for more than a hundred years.
Railroad Person of the Year
As part of celebrations for Durand’s second Railroad Days festival in 1977, the railroading community selected engine dispatcher Glenn Willie as their first Railroad Man of the Year. A new person has been selected every year since. The title was renamed to Railroad Person of the Year in 1980 after Ora Goul, a clerk from Durand’s Roundhouse, was the first woman to receive the award.
Pat Post was the first second-generation Railroad Person of the Year, receiving the honor in 2003 after her father, Lloyd Eicher, received it in 1987. A husband and wife were selected together in 2010 when Cliff and Marie Semple were chosen.
To date, all recipients have been employees of Grand Trunk Western or Canadian National, which is due to its prominence in Durand. People from all walks of railroad life have been chosen, from Engineers, Conductors, Brakemen, and Switchmen, to Clerks, Crane Operators, Machinists, and Carpenters. A Railroad Cook was selected in 1981 when Nobel Haver was chosen.
Those selected are given a museum display for mementos and artifacts and are the honored guest at the Depot for that year’s Railroad Days. All railroad persons of the year are presented with a custom green vest, and are invited to wear it at every subsequent Railroad Days as part of Durand’s most exclusive railroading fraternity.