The Ann Arbor Railroad, as now constituted, was sold to the Ann Arbor Acquisition Corporation in October, 1988. Today, the Ann Arbor is a Class III rail carrier providing rail service between Ann Arbor, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio. Ann Arbor interchanges traffic with three (3) Class I railroads in Toledo, Ohio; namely CSX, Norfolk Southern and Canadian National Railway; with one (1) Regional railroad in Toledo, Ohio; Wheeling and Lake Erie. In addition, Ann Arbor has interchange connections with Norfolk Southern at Milan, MI, the Tuscola & Saginaw Bay Railway Co., Inc. (TSBY) and Norfolk Southern at Ann Arbor, MI, and the Indiana & Ohio Rail System (I &O) at Diann, MI.
The Ann Arbor started operations in 1878 providing rail service between Frankfort, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio. In addition to its rail operation, the Ann Arbor owned and operated car ferries between Michigan and Wisconsin. In 1892 Ann Arbor No. 1 made its maiden voyage across Lake Michigan and was the first railroad company to provide transportation services across Lake Michigan. The Wabash Railroad controlled the Ann Arbor (through stock ownership) from 1925 to 1963. In 1963 the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton Railroad Company acquired control of the Ann Arbor Railroad, including car ferries, from the Wabash Railroad. Ann Arbor entered into reorganization in 1974 and was one of the seven northeastern railroads covered by the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976. Because of its importance, the portion of the Ann Arbor Rail system that remains today — between Ann Arbor, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio — was included in the final system plan that created Conrail. However, the State of Michigan wanted to retain the entire Ann Arbor Railroad system intact for the benefit of shippers and communities. To accomplish this goal, the State of Michigan purchased the portion of the Ann Arbor Railroad between Ann Arbor and Toledo in March 1976 and the remainder of the Ann Arbor Railroad, including the car ferries, in 1980. Conrail operated the entire line for the State of Michigan from April 1976 through September 1977. On October 1, 1977, Michigan Interstate Railway Company (“Michigan Interstate”) was designated operator of the line. The car ferry operation was discontinued in April 1982. Subsequently, in 1983, Michigan Interstate filed for reorganization. The trustee for the estate purchased the portion of the Ann Arbor Railroad between Ann Arbor and Toledo in September 1985. The Ann Arbor Railroad as now constituted, was sold to the Ann Arbor Acquisition Corporation in October 1988.
Under its new ownership and management, the Ann Arbor Railroad has created one of the lowest operating ratios in the United States. Ann Arbor Railroad is commonly referred to as the “Crown Jewel” of the Regionals.