Study Time....again - A2TC commuter rail project

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KC
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Study Time....again - A2TC commuter rail project

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Saturnalia
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Re: Study Time....again

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The deadest horse that was ever killed and beaten...
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DaveO
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Re: Study Time....again

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It's the full time consultant funding project that won't die the death it should die.

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Ypsi
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Re: Study Time....again

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Having a new novel way, nostalgic way to come north and be a part of all the excitement of Traverse City is very exciting for them, but also for us in northern Michigan having a chance to head down south,
The fact that they describe it as NOVEL and NOSTALGIC instead of USEFUL and EFFICIENT should be very telling. This is dumb. If they shifted focus and made it a seasonal/ tourist type deal instead of pretending this was good transportation that makes sense it would go further.

Just look west at seasonal offerings of the Winter Park Express. $60 round trip offered on WEEKENDS only from a major city directly to a resort. I think you would be able to justify a weekend train from Ann Arbor to Traverse City, but to pretend this is something that is useful for real transportation is a joke. There will be no reason to run this outside of Thursday-Sunday.
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Raildudes dad
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Re: Study Time....again

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There's one big difference, the Winter Park Express goes directly from Denver to the ski resort eliminating driving in the mountains. The TC Flyer will go from AA? to downtown TC. Who's operating the bus service to the ski hills? I just don't see a demand for the service. If you can afford a weekend at one of the resorts, why would you tie yourself to a train schedule?

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Standard Railfan
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Re: Study Time....again

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I love the name of one of the organizations quoted in the article…. “Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities Transportation”

What the h€ll is that? :lol:

Chip
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Re: Study Time....again

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Raildudes dad wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 8:08 am
There's one big difference, the Winter Park Express goes directly from Denver to the ski resort eliminating driving in the mountains. The TC Flyer will go from AA? to downtown TC. Who's operating the bus service to the ski hills? I just don't see a demand for the service. If you can afford a weekend at one of the resorts, why would you tie yourself to a train schedule?
Exactly. it's way easier to just drive, especially with kids involved. I would rather see the time and money invested in regional rail from Detroit to AA, Lansing, Flint, Saginaw, GR. If the demand is there then they could always expand north in the future.

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Eric Berger
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Re: Study Time....again

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I agree with Chip. Problem is, Chip's desire makes way too much sense; then, of course, there's all the red tape involved in getting the freight railroads to sign off on running passengers, along with bus service to and from the railway stations and suburbs, etc. etc. etc. I honestly see this going absolutely nowhere --- millions will be spent on yet another "Study," no conclusion will be made, so it will be tabled, then forgotten about for a couple of more years. And the wheel will just keep on turning...

In short, yet another dead end. Pass the popcorn.
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Chip
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Re: Study Time....again

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Eric Berger wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 9:32 am
I agree with Chip. Problem is, Chip's desire makes way too much sense; then, of course, there's all the red tape involved in getting the freight railroads to sign off on running passengers, along with bus service to and from the railway stations and suburbs, etc. etc. etc. I honestly see this going absolutely nowhere --- millions will be spent on yet another "Study," no conclusion will be made, so it will be tabled, then forgotten about for a couple of more years. And the wheel will just keep on turning...

In short, yet another dead end. Pass the popcorn.
I'm aware at how much more expensive it is but that's why you build your own line instead of relying on the freight carriers to be benevolent enough to allow passenger trains on their rails.

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Re: Study Time....again

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Actually MDOT owns most of the track.

I suppose if Uncle Sam is going on a $1 trillion spending spree why not try and waste some of it here in Michigan.

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Re: Study Time....again

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KC wrote:
Tue Nov 16, 2021 6:18 pm
https://www.9and10news.com/2021/11/16/a ... -up-steam/


"After COVID-19 put a halt on the project"

Common sense should have halted the project long before c19.

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Re: Study Time....again

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PatAzo wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 12:40 pm
Actually MDOT owns most of the track.
All of it from just past the Barton Dr. crossing in Ann Arbor to Traverse City, except from Pitt to Durand (CN) and Durand to Owosso (HESR).

A passenger train would probably have better luck getting past the Sphinx Gate in "The Neverending Story" than in passing the signals at Pittsburg Rd. or Main St. in Durand.
Last edited by Steve B on Wed Nov 17, 2021 5:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Study Time....again

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Raildudes dad wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 8:08 am
There's one big difference, the Winter Park Express goes directly from Denver to the ski resort eliminating driving in the mountains. The TC Flyer will go from AA? to downtown TC. Who's operating the bus service to the ski hills? I just don't see a demand for the service. If you can afford a weekend at one of the resorts, why would you tie yourself to a train schedule?
And why would these typical suburbanites and upper-middle class folks ditch their Buicks and Mercedes to ride a TRAIN? They wanna go on their own time, in their own vehicle, to their own retreat up north.

Trains are great MASS transportation. There is nothing mass about Ann Arbor or Traverse City except for perhaps Ann Arbor's inflated ego.
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Ypsi
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Re: Study Time....again

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Raildudes dad wrote:
Wed Nov 17, 2021 8:08 am
There's one big difference, the Winter Park Express goes directly from Denver to the ski resort eliminating driving in the mountains. The TC Flyer will go from AA? to downtown TC. Who's operating the bus service to the ski hills? I just don't see a demand for the service. If you can afford a weekend at one of the resorts, why would you tie yourself to a train schedule?
I did not mean this for skiing in TC, but rather the model. They run a seasonal service on weekends to and from two points. I think there COULD be market for a seasonal train between the locations, but it would have to be likely higher end like a Rocky Mountaineer or something vs. leased former Metra bi-levels.

Personally I wouldn't mind being able to take a train up north for a weekend if the experience was nice. I don't need 110mph, but rather an elevated experience when dealing with this type of route and market. Going to Chicago, or using a train for actual transportation, get me there fast please. Shift the focus from useful transportation to great vacation experience. This is not useful or particle transportation.
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Re: Study Time....again

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There’s a few things here that concern me:

1. The equipment, the cars they’re wanting to use are over 30 years old, unless they want to put at least a 100k into getting the cars ready (and we’re not talking about the interiors, just the important parts) there’s literally no point. Let’s not forget the fact they don’t have any locomotives and I highly doubt Amtrak or any commuter railroads will lend them engines. ALSO, they can’t use freight locomotives either since they’re gonna be going 79+ mph.

2. Signaling: If the line doesn’t have ANY signaling (other than the Durand area) this is going to go NOWHERE, the FRA would not allow a “commuter rail service” (as the state advertises it) to run without PTC or even CTC. If this happens, they’re going to be running trains at 79+ MPH, they’re going to need some form of signaling, most likely CTC, and I don’t think either the state or GLC is going to want to spend tens of millions of dollars to signal a line that’s going to see less than ten trains daily, if it was a higher amount, it’d be justifiable, but where it’s at right now, it makes no sense.

3. Air travel: as with all passenger railroading discussions, we have to bring up air travel, there are numerous flights daily from DTW to TVC as well from GRR. Those flights take less than an hour and a half. How long will it take to get up on the train? 6 hours? They are not able to beat that.


It’s unfortunate that we have to keep having this conversation, it’s so frustrating that we have to keep repeating the fact that the state is so incompetent to realize this is not going to be financially viable.
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Steve B
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Re: Study Time....again

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David Collins: the State of Michigan doesn't seem to be pushing for this, just the "Groundwork Center." The state was mainly involved back when the scope was just the "WALLY" train.

The prospective FRA study would take all costs, including equipment and signaling, into account.

The whole thing is silly to the extreme. When Detroit-Lansing-Grand Rapids has been looked at and dismissed repeatedly over the decades, why would AA-TC have a better chance? If the FRA study materializes, maybe then the Groundwork Center will fully grasp the cost and commitment basic transportation would take, vs. an occasional tourist train. I don't know if it knows what it really wants at this point.

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Re: Study Time....again

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Bottom line another consultant pockets $700,000 for a needless study.

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Re: Study Time....again

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https://www.groundworkcenter.org/a2tc-rail-project/
Surveys of people in Lower Michigan and opinions expressed by northwest Michigan citizens in the Grand Vision community planning process revealed that the No. 1 transportation infrastructure addition Michiganders wanted was passenger rail service to Traverse City.
Forecasts used to evaluate the profitability of passenger rail are based on projections for growth in tourism arriving in automobiles and jets. We anticipate that some of that travel could shift to passenger rail, helping slow the growth in automobile traffic.
"Profitability" and "passenger rail" are rarely in the same sentence unless one is speaking of the lack of profitability. Short excursion lines may have a small profit but they are not connecting cities hours apart. Excursions provide a couple of hours of entertainment on a relatively short segment of track.
With track repairs completed in 2019, passenger rail service remains on schedule for limited service to begin in 2025. Special intermittent excursion trains could begin sooner. If funds become available longer term for high-speed rail, the trip could be reduced to about 3.5 hours. Ticket prices have yet to be determined, but they are expected to be in line with ticket prices elsewhere.
Optimistic. "On schedule" infers that there is a schedule for actual service to begin - beyond the pipe dream.

The only good thing I can say about the federal study that they are pursuing now is that it could add some reality to the project. Reality in the sense of proving the need (or lack thereof) for the service and the actual costs involved in getting such a service moving. The federal study is required to show "purpose and need" and compare any proposal against other alternatives including a "no build" option.

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Re: Study Time....again

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Pure Michigan at its un- finest. The closer you get to TC the less ridership will be. The Amtrak Pere Marquette should be a lesson in schedules. If your going to Chicago plan on 2 nights hotel minimum per the scheduled times. So it's just not the train price but extras entailed for say a weekend stay.

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A2TC commuter rail project.

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Here is a Podcast of me talking to a person behind the Ann Arbor to Traverse city Passenger rail.
https://anchor.fm/dalek-ling/episodes/D ... nd-e1b3vu9

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