With 145 color photographs and maps, Northbound Lights: Tracks Across Michigan and Wisconsin presents a visual history of contemporary changes to the railroad networks across these two states in the Great Lakes region. Michigan-born photojournalist, D. C. Jesse Burkhardt, carries readers on a journey that chronicles rail operations in Wisconsin and Michigan. The primary focus extends from the 1970s to 2022.
Northbound Lights explores the demise of several historic railroads and spotlights shortline and regional railroads that have moved in to handle operations on routes in danger of being lost. In recent decades, dramatic alterations in the region's transportation maps have taken place as companies including Soo Line, Milwaukee Road, Chicago & NorthWestern, Green Bay & Western, Detroit & Mackinac, Penn Central, and others struggled to survive. Numerous rail lines were abandoned or taken over by expanding shortlines such as Huron & Eastern and Escanaba & Lake Superior, or by regional railroads exemplified by Great Lakes Central and Wisconsin Central. Other railroads and key routes were swallowed up by large carriers including Union Pacific, Canadian Pacific, Canadian National, CSX, and Norfolk Southern.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
D. C. Jesse Burkhardt first encountered the Ann Arbor Railroad when he visited Frankfort, Michigan, in 1969. The community, the railroad, and the car ferries it served sparked a strong connection. Burkhardt, born in Jackson, Michigan, graduated from Jackson Community College in his hometown and later from the University of Oregon. He served as an editor with four community newspapers in the Pacific Northwest over twenty-three years. Burkhardt “semi-retired” in 2017, and currently works for a private contractor transporting train crews for BNSF in Washington. He has published several books on railroad history, including The Ann Arbor Railroad for Arcadia Publishing in 2005.