In General
Getting Here
General System Pictures
Track, Trackwork, and Signals
2007 Fall Meet
2014 Fall Meet


In General

Location / Name:
Cedar Springs MI, Kent County

What's Here:
White Creek Railroad

GPS Coordinates: 43.25287, -85.58116
Phone A/C: 616
ZIP: 49319

Access by train/transit:

Fairly Flat

The Scoop:

The White Creek Railroad is a massive undertaking by Russ Eldred that began back in 1994.  Since then, he has installed over six miles of mainline (according to Russ's homepage) track and 29 passing sidings.  Add to that, he has three yards and two engine/car storage buildings.  There is something like 30-32 signaled sections, 30 industrial spurs, multiple routes so you don't have to feel like your on a big loop following the same train all the time, and nine junctions.  White Creek is built on approximately 150 acres of 200 Russ owns in Cedar Springs MI, and includes running around and/or over several bodies of water.

If you are into Live Steam and Diesel, you have to make sure you make it to White Creek.  IMHO, the only thing better and bigger is Train Mountain in Oregon.

My first visit to White Creek was in 1999, when he was still working on the trestle to Three Mile Island.  Russ was kind enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to ride me around on his empire for about an hour and a half, and I have to tell you, I WAS never so impressed.  Visitors are welcome at almost any time except for Sundays.

White Creek hosts numerous operating sessions and meets during the year - check the White Creek's web site or Live Steam magazine.

Below are a few pictures I managed to grab at White Creek operating session in 2007 and 2014.  I wish I had had the opportunity to be there in 2007 for their Friday night operating session, however, I did manage to make it there for 2014's nighttime operating session!  They are great!

I tried to get as many pictures as I could, altho I didn't manage to get as many names as I wanted.  And so it goes....

Here is an aerial view of the property, with the major locations noted:

Russ Eldred
White Creek Website
Google Maps

Websites and other additional information sources of interest for the area: White Creek Homepage White Creek on Facebook so little here, I'm ashamed to list it so, so info nice trip review four pages of trip review, good pictures

Getting Here

White Creek RR is about 18 miles north of downtown Grand Rapids MI.

Getting to Grand Rapids is easy:
I-96 comes in the from the east: Lansing, Detroit, and Flint via I-69 and then I-96,
From the west (ie Chicago) via I-94 and then I-169 at Benton Harbor,
And from the south via US131 from Kalamazoo, and indirectly from South Bend and Elkhart via I-94 and US131.

Once in Grand Rapids, take or continue on US131 north towards Cadillac, and get off at exit 104, 17 Mile Rd NE, or Muskegon Rd NE.

At the end of the off-ramp, take a right, and then an immediate left onto White Creek Ave.  You will come to Aspen St on the left in about a mile and three quarters.... take a left and pass thru the mobile homes, and you will come up to the railroad, and there is plenty of parking on the far side of the tracks.  If you make it to Egner Rd, you have gone a tad too far and need to turn around.


Here is my map of the Cedar Springs area showing how to get to the White Creek RR, and some of the other railroad oriented things to do in the immediate and not so immediate area - Michigan has a lot of neat "stuff" to offer the railfan.

The two maps are available as PDF's here and here

General System Pictures

Let's start with a few pictures of the railroad itself....

The main staging yard.  In the distance of the left photo is the main road and the track to the north loop, adjacent to Russ' house. In the above picture and off to my right is the "upper yard" (out of the frame), but can be seen in the picture below.

The receiving yard, most "northbound" trains will head into the tracks to the right of the light poles, and two of the tracks just to the left of the poles..... Southbound trains from the north loop by Russ' house will be on one of the four tracks all the way to the left.  The track immediately to the left of the light poles loops around to the right and feeds the main staging yard from the north.  This are all at "Hidden Valley".

A shot of the two yards above, looking north, from a little further out.

Looking inside part of the the main engine and car storage building.

Looking towards the many bays of the main engine and car storage facility.

Inside the secondary storage facility.

Track, Trackwork, and Signals

This stub switch is out on 3 Mile Island.

Well crafted bumpers show up all over the place.

Trackwork of the "upper" yard at the main engine and car storage building, there are 10 tracks leading into the building.

Russ has a substantial signal system in place.  Signals are placed anywhere two tracks go down to a single track.  Trains can (or should) only proceed into the single track territory if the signal is green.  If the signal is yellow, it indicates the track ahead is occupied by a train going in the same direction.  If the signal is red, the track is occupied by a train coming at you.  There are around 30 single track blocks, all protected by signals.  Signals are actuated by a switch mounted on the end of a PVC pipe standing about two feet high, protected from the weather by a cap of a slightly larger diameter PVC pipe.  Relays for the signals are internal to the signal heads, and are interlocked so two engineers pressing the buttons "at the same time" will actuate only one green.  The picture shows one of the few places he has dual signals because the track splits here, with both choices going into single track.

Protecting the grade crossings are these custom built signals.... Nice work.

Fall Meet -- Saturday SEP22/2007

Pictures of the equipment that showed up for the 2007 fall meet....

Derrick Draft's excellent looking Backyard Engine's CSX  B40-8 and the Phoenix sound installation.... sounds nice!

Russ Eldred and one of his Dash-9's.

Cuc Mai Calhoon Lumber Co Shay No. 1 belongs to Bob Calhoon.

This GBW Alco belongs to Dave Gehrke.

These cute little "bicycles" (he had two of them there) are also owned by Dave Gehrke, and are a hoot to tour the White Creek on.... one might think it was hard going coming out of the Cornertown area, but since the wheels are 5" in diameter instead of 28, it's easy going and one can easily leave a train in the dust - even uphill.

Thanks to David Reinert of the Milwaukee Light Engineering Society for the info on the owners.

Fall Meet -- Saturday SEP19/20/2014

I got here late in the day on Friday and spent the night onsite.  Took a run at night - that was fun!  Things look way different at night than they do during the day, plus, you don't have all the visual cues like you do during the day, so if you don't know the system very well, well, you just kinda keep on wandering around hoping you come across something familiar :-)  The thing with the bare batteries is my weak attempt at putting something together in 6 days to ride, it uses a Plum Cove powered truck.

Love his signaling system.

Little green (and yellow) things!

How did that car get on top of a steaming bay track?


This was at the Big Boy's restaurant around 7:30pm, 1:1 scale.

We passed this mile marker on the way home.


I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in :-)

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Aerial shots were taken from either Google or Bing Maps as noted.  Screen captures are made with Snagit, a Techsmith product... a great tool if you have never used it! 

By the way, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given!  Please be NICE!!!  Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly inaccurate, wrong, or not true. 


NEW 09/24/2007, SEP29/2014, AUG14/15/2023
Last Modified:  15-Aug-2023