Michigan Railroads and Railroad Companies is an invaluable reference manual for everyone interested in regional transportation history, the history of railroading, and Michigan history in general. It contains complete, cross-referenced listings for every company formed to operate a railroad in the state of Michigan. In addition to the comprehensive entries for major lines, Graydon Meints has included details about the many small, common-carrier steam and electric companies, logging roads, and numerous other primitive and contemporary rail systems. This encyclopedic reference guide also contains information on the so-called "paper railroads," companies that were projected but which never laid a foot of track.
Michigan Railroads is divided into three parts. One includes alphabetical entries for the actual and intended railroad companies themselves, the date and purpose for their organization, and a brief history from their origins to their dispositions. Included in this portion of the work are a number of railroad "family trees" showing the corporate antecedents of the largest of the rail lines operating in the state today. Another contains a chronology of significant corporate events; it works as a useful finding aid for accessing source data contained in the first section. A third contains a statewide county-by-county listing of railroads, both paper and real.