Tag Archives: Michigan

University of Michigan reveals plans for Ann Arbor light-rail route

The University of Michigan and the city of Ann Arbor, Mich., yesterday unveiled plans for a 4.7-mile light-rail route that would run from the city’s downtown through parts of the university’s campuses.

The so-called “Connector” line would have nine stations, including stops at the university’s central and north campuses, according to an alternatives analysis report issued yesterday. The route would terminate at the Green Park and Ride on the eastern edge of Ann Arbor.

Capital costs were estimated at $560 million to $680 million, while annual operating costs were pegged at $3.4 million.

The route would serve an average weekday ridership of 31,600 people by 2040, the report said.

The Connector study is being conducted in accordance with the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program guidance. The program can provide up to 80 percent of the capital cost to construct fixed guideway transit systems, although federal funding generally doesn’t exceed 50 percent of the cost, the report said.

If the community decides to proceed with the light-rail project, a capital funding plan would be developed and the project would be incorporated into the regional transportation funding process.

Local funding sources could include support from both public and private entities, including the University of Michigan, which is “committed to participating in project funding,” the report said.

The university’s faculty, students and staff are expected to make up a large portion of passengers traveling to and from campus destinations.

Higher-speed rail route in Michigan would be profitable, study finds

Establishing 110 mph passenger-rail service between Detroit and Holland, Mich., could generate more than $12 million in annual profit, according to a recent study prepared on behalf of the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC).

The “Coast-to-Coast Passenger Rail Ridership and Cost Estimate Study” examined three potential routes that could be established by upgrading existing rail.

Providing 110 mph service would require greater capital investment, but would yield higher ridership that would allow the service to recover its operating costs, Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) officials said in a press release. The service could generate $12 million in yearly profit on a route through Ann Arbor and Howell, Mich.

Establishing basic 79 mph service on the 186-mile route through Ann Arbor and Howell would require an annual subsidy of about $3 million and an upfront investment of $130 million, MEC officials said, noting that the amount is comparable to the cost of building 13 miles of interstate highway.

Concurrent with the study, the MEC and the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers collected feedback on the “Coast-to-Coast” project from 575 Michigan residents online and in person.

“Business leaders, economic developers, local governments and college students have all told us they support the idea of knitting together our cities, cultural centers and other institutions by rail,” said Liz Treutel Callin, transportation policy associate for the MEC. “Now we have an in-depth report showing that the Coast-to-Coast passenger rail project is one worth pursuing, with significant potential benefits for Michigan’s economy and quality of life.”

The next step toward establishing passenger-rail service is a full feasibility study to include environmental impact analyses, an implementation plan and a review of public-private partnership options, MEC officials said.


A map shows three routes examined by the study.
(Click to view larger)
Source: Michigan Environmental Council

I (Penney) was selective in showing an unusual picture of the actual train. Reason is that to be a success, it MUST tie into CHICAGO at the Western side. How about dual-propulsion equipment. System would tie into the South Shore Railroad at SHOPS in Michigan City and run on electric right into downtown Chicago. Elsewhere: diesel or “think out of the box”

Quicken Loans dubs Detroit streetcar ‘QLINE’

M-1 Rail and Quicken Loans late last week announced that QLINE has been selected as the official name of Detroit’s streetcar line.

A mockup of a ticket for QLINE
Source: Quicken Loans

The two organizations also unveiled the QLINE logo, which features a stylized “Q” that “symbolizes the connectivity accomplished through the rail line,” M-1 Rail official said in a press release.

In May 2015, Detroit-based Quicken Loans received naming rights as a result of its financial support during the project’s fundraising period. In addition, the company is one of 20 station sponsors along the route.

“The launch of this modern streetcar marks a monumental moment in the development of Detroit in the 21st Century,” said Quicken Loans President and Chief Marketing Officer Jay Farner. “Quicken Loans is proud to play our part in the beginning stages of modernizing the transit system in our burgeoning urban core.”

The 3.3-mile route will run from Congress Street in downtown Detroit to West Grand Boulevard. Construction began in 2014 and is slated for completion by the end of this year.

The first modern streetcar vehicle is expected to be delivered during the fourth quarter. Each car will travel up to 35 mph

Head End Rail Accident

November 16, 1957 New York Central Extra 4000 East (nee Train 90) out of Chicago derails at White Pigeon MI. The train was diverted off the Toledo Division onto the “Old Road” at Elkhart due to an earlier derailment east of Elkhart. The engineer, who had not checked for slow orders nor run on the line for three years, ran though a 15 mph slow-order turnout at 55 mph. One Railway Mail Clerk was killed, 23 Railway Mail clerks, 8 passengers and one train service employee were injured.

No pictures, but we found a great deal written about the accident.

GenDisasters.com provides a well-written analysis of the accident.

Then we found the Interstate Commerce Commission report on the accident. It was caused by excessive speed entering a turnout.

Want to see more about where the accident happened? Here is a copy of the Toledo Division TimeTable