Posts Tagged ‘Ann Arbor’

Amtrak adding trains through Michigan to Chicago for busy Thanksgiving weekend

Amtrak is adding more trains to its Wolverine route between Ann Arbor and Chicago in anticipation of a busy Thanksgiving weekend.

The passenger train service has deployed additional rail cars for the holiday, but spokesman Marc Magliari said this is the first time in his 13 years with Amtrak that it’s offering four more trains along the Wolverine route for Thanksgiving.


Post Link:

Southeast Michigan residents already making commuter rail between Ann Arbor and Detroit possible

As many wait for officials to deliver on the promise of a true commuter rail service between Ann Arbor and Detroit, a handful of people already are making it work.


Post Link:

Ann Arbor to benefit as Michigan moves to purchase and rehab Norfolk Southern rail line

The state of Michigan is making moves to purchase and rehabilitate the Norfolk Southern Railway line that passes through Ann Arbor — another positive sign for high-speed rail.

Senate appropriations bill including nearly $400 million in rail-related spending is expected to move on the floor of the state House this week, and it’s expected to pass.


Post Link:

FRA obligates $28.2 million for new Dearborn train station

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has obligated $28.2 million in High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail funds to the Michigan Department of Transportation for the construction of a new train station in Dearborn, Mich., the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) announced Friday.


Post Link:–27693

Nearly $200M federal grant accelerates high speed rail in Metro Detroit

Metro Detroit and Michigan’s high speed rail system moved into the fast lane this week with the announcement of nearly $200 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve lines from Dearborn to Kalamazoo.

The grant goes toward the purchase of tracks, signals and other rail infrastructure that will address congestion points and separate rail and freight trains — currently the reason train travel is slower than ideal. The changes will allow trains to travel up to 110-mph along certain portions of the line. This will also decrease the travel time between Chicago and Detroit by one hour on what is known as the Amtrak Wolverine line. The 135-mile-long corridor will receive $196.5 million in funding while a separate $2.8 million will pay for a new train and bus station in Ann Arbor to serve Amtrak and other local transit providers.

Michigan will also receive funding to purchase the latest in locomotives and coaches as part of a joint application with Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri. The new cars will be added to Amtrak’s Wolverine, Blue Water, and Pere Marquette lines.


Post Link:

Train ridership on the rise: Ann Arbor remains busiest Amtrak stop between Detroit and Chicago

University of Michigan graduate student Jon Bolenbaugh says he uses the Amtrak station in Ann Arbor about twice a month and prefers train travel over driving or flying.

“I’ve taken a lot of train rides actually,” he said, waiting to catch the train to Chicago on Friday afternoon on his way to see his girlfriend for the weekend.

“It’s cheaper in terms of the gas right now and also flying is a pain,” Bolenbaugh said. “I used to fly two or three years ago until they changed the policies and now it’s like you have to get basically groped to fly. It takes more time to actually get to the airport, fly and get out of the airport than it does just to drive there or take the train.”


Post Link:

Michigan among states vying for $2.4B for high-speed rail

Detroit News
Track improvements, a new transit terminal in Ann Arbor and new trains are part of Michigan’s pitch for more federal money for high-speed rail after Florida said it didn’t want the funding.

Besides Michigan, 23 other states and the District of Columbia have submitted nearly 90 applications totaling about $10billion from the Transportation Department. Florida was in line for $2.4 billion.

“Governors and members of Congress have been clamoring for the opportunity to participate,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.


Word on Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail expected next week

Crain’s Detroit Business

Organizers of a Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail project expect to learn next week if $200 million in federal capital funding will be approved.

The Federal Rail Administration money (via the second round of funding set aside for high-speed rail projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) would be used to build new sidings, signals and make other corridor improvements, said Carmine Palombo, director of transportation planning for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments regional planning agency.

“It would eliminate the conflict between freight and passenger trains,” he said.

The 48-mile rail project, which would start with four daily round trips, is a joint effort by SEMCOG and the Michigan Department of Transportation and could be operational — if it gets the money — by the end of 2011, Palombo said.

“Probably the most optimistic scenario is the end of next year,” he said.

Amtrak will be contracted to operate the service.

Palombo gave backers an update on the project today.

A $12 million MDOT project to eliminate a bottleneck east of Dearborn where two tracks merge into one line is scheduled to begin in the spring, he said.

That’s expected to trim five to seven minutes off the trip, making it about 50 to 55 minutes. Stops will be at Detroit, Dearborn, near Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.

Work is under way on the federally required environmental assessment.

Three locomotives and nine passenger cars have been leased from Great Lakes Central Railroad, which is owned by Farmington Hills-based Federated Capital Corp., and are in the process of being refurbished and painted, Palombo said.

The lease and refurbishment work is about $2 million. The livery will be green, yellow and blue, and trains will be a locomotive with two cars.

SEMCOG previously wanted to have a demonstration service set up by this month for special events, such as University of Michigan football games and the Thanksgiving parade, but the organizing process didn’t allow that to happen.

The demonstration service could still happen this year if the funding is awarded and work on the cars is done soon, Palombo said.

When the regular service begins, fares could run $6 to $8 for the full trip between Detroit and Ann Arbor, or $1.50 to $2 between stations. Those numbers could change by the time the service begins, Palombo said.

Post Link:

Group seeks area’s ‘vision’ for Michigan rail systems
Holland, MI —

Thursday meeting

KEY ACTION: About three dozen people attended a forum hosted by a statewide coalition of community and nonprofit groups, Michigan by Rail, to brainstorm about the future of rail service in Michigan. The forums are designed to jump-start discussion among the public and between the public and government officials. The state will host other forums.
The future of rail could be an expansion, it could be reduction, it could be the status quo, explained Timothy R. Fischer, deputy policy director for the Michigan Environmental Council. “We’re simply trying to ask the question and figure out what the response is.”
Participants broke into groups to identify locations they considered home, another dot to identify important places to travel to in Michigan, then discuss and draw in ideas of where train routes might be considered in Michigan.
• The Holland event was the ninth of 16 forums held around the state. So far, Fischer said, forums have emphasized expansion, with three trends:  
1. A strong desire for an east-to-west connector, not geared to
2. A strong desire for north-south rail, from Traverse City to Ann Arbor or Grand Rapids.
3. Appreciation for the current system, but want for more frequency, better on-time performance.
• High-speed rail is a long-range goal for the heavily used Chicago-Detroit corridor. Amtrak already owns 100 miles of rail from Porter, Indiana to Kalamazoo on which it can travel in excess of 90 mph. Michigan has applied for $350 million to $400 million of federal Recovery Act money.
• Thursday’s local discussion emphasized connections north to tourism areas, connections to university city hubs, as well as connections to major population and economic centers. “It was very interesting to see in our group a tourism focus first, but also a need to move people between employment centers,” said Steve Bulthuis, executive director of the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council.
• Questions and discussion touched on spending on trains when more people travel by road, about how many people use trains, about the need to plan ahead for when gasoline hits $7 per gallon, and about the need to consider “light rail” to connect Holland, Grand Rapids and Muskegon/Grand Haven.

• Michigan by Rail’s web site:
• State Department of Transportation web site:\mdot

UP NEXT: The state Department of Transportation is charged with developing a Michigan State Rail Plan. It is hosting four forums around the state, with the nearest to Holland set for Grand Rapids from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, MDOT Transportation Service Center, 2660 Leonard St. NE.

Post Link:

Twit us Follow us on Facebook Submit RSS Feed

Copyright © 2010, All Rights Reserved. Powered by SWATware

Bottom logo