Steaming into the Future

When the Badger entered service in the spring of 1953 for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, 17 steam-powered train carferries operated on the Great Lakes, and another eight on the Detroit River.  This exhibit explores the career of the Badger, which for over 35 years, with its six fleetmates, carried railroad cars, passengers, and automobiles between Ludington, Michigan, and Milwaukee, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Changes in the railroad industry eventually made crosslake railroad service no longer economically viable, but the Badger’s career did not end there. Through the efforts of dedicated individuals, the steamship is still operating today as the SS BADGER, the nation’s largest coal-fired vessel. The Badger has received many recognitions, including its listing on the National Register of Historic Places.