Michigan Central Amtrak Station

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Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby chapmaja » Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:53 pm

Apparently there is some talk about getting the Michigan Central station back as an active station as part of the project Ford is doing to renovate the station. This apparently coincidences with the idea of restarting Detroit-Toronto passenger traffic that may extend to Chicago as well. From a location standpoint, the station could work better in Detroit then the current location from an accessibility standpoint for passengers. From a train operations standpoint, running Detroit-Toronto trains would be a piece of cake. Adding the Wolverine trains would be a operational hassle as the crews would have to switch ends of the train if operation from Pontiac to Detroit then to Chicago.

From a commuter train perspective, I could see this working if Detroit were to put in the effort to make an easy connection between the station and the rest of Detroit's destinations (work and play). I personally would have no problem taking a train from Ann Arbor to Michigan Central Station then a bus to Ford Field, Comerica or LCA, provide adequate transportation from the station to the venue was available.

https://www.mlive.com/news/2019/04/amtrak-service-reportedly-being-explored-for-detroits-michigan-central-station.html
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby DaveO » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:05 pm

That is a proposed item with $0 funding. How that got in there would be interesting to find out.

First issue, US Federal authorities tend to treat rail customers as criminals first and innocents second. That has to change and it won't. Remember the International had cross border problems.

To do this as you noted means the Pontiac trips become a logistics issue. Logic would require the current station remain open. It won't if they use the MC depot for trains.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby Saturnalia » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:09 pm

Pontiac to Detroit should be a commuter rail system anyway.

At some point, somebody needs to cough up some dough. We await that bright distant future and speculate in the meantime...
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby NSSD70ACe » Thu Apr 04, 2019 1:39 pm

DaveO wrote:That is a proposed item with $0 funding. How that got in there would be interesting to find out.

First issue, US Federal authorities tend to treat rail customers as criminals first and innocents second. That has to change and it won't. Remember the International had cross border problems.

To do this as you noted means the Pontiac trips become a logistics issue. Logic would require the current station remain open. It won't if they use the MC depot for trains.


If anyone was paying attention to the General and Legislative Annual Report/FY2020 Grant Request (I have it sitting in front of me), you
would see that the ROW acquisitions and service expansions are all TBD, likely because Amtrak is still crunching the numbers. It's something Amtrak WANTS to do, that's how it got in there.

As for the border crossing....is has changed. Congress can authorize a CBP pre-clearance area in a foreign city to speed up times. I believe they just did so for the Vermonter extension to Montreal (though I can't remember where I read that...). I know there is a preclearance area in Vancouver for the Cascades.

If DMC reopens, you can forget about service to Pontiac. Turn it over to SEMCOG or whoever wants to run Mi-Train and tell them to have at it. At the very minimum, there could be one pair that serves that area. I bet most traffic would originate/terminate at DMC.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby Burb8145 » Thu Apr 04, 2019 4:37 pm

NSSD70ACe wrote:If DMC reopens, you can forget about service to Pontiac. Turn it over to SEMCOG or whoever wants to run Mi-Train and tell them to have at it. At the very minimum, there could be one pair that serves that area. I bet most traffic would originate/terminate at DMC.

If that's the case, they can also keep the New Center station for the folks who're closer to that one (including potential Hamtramck ridership).
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby DaveO » Thu Apr 04, 2019 5:03 pm

Most traffic is currently at Dearborn and I think it would stay put based on safety perceptions.

Eliminating Pontiac and Troy with their newish stations?
They weren't made to be commuter stations. They were made to be intercity stations.
Can't see Amtrak or MDOT wading into that potential political mess.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby Standard Railfan » Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:19 pm

Burb8145 wrote:If that's the case, they can also keep the New Center station for the folks who're closer to that one (including potential Hamtramck ridership).


I would not think the ridership of a city of 22000 would be so significant as to warrant a station. :?
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby Super Chief » Fri Apr 05, 2019 6:13 am

What's the current storage location for the infamous double decker ex-Burlington commuter cars? Seems there's been no discussion in a while about Wally or any other operations for them to be used for?
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby Ypsi » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:15 am

Standard Railfan wrote:
Burb8145 wrote:If that's the case, they can also keep the New Center station for the folks who're closer to that one (including potential Hamtramck ridership).


I would not think the ridership of a city of 22000 would be so significant as to warrant a station. :?


Amtrak reported 62,000+ in Detroit in 2017. Not sure if this would change with the MC being used.. my guess is yes it would, however it also depends on parking and how much Ford wants the station to be a community center.

A FANTASTIC example of an old depot being used as such is Denver Union station. The development around LoDo is impressive and the station is very nicely done. Sure all Amtrak has is one little room, but that's all they need. The building houses shops, offices, a hotel, and is basically a centerpiece for the area. The RTD heavy rail runs frequent service to the airport and Amtrak stops twice a day. The MC will likely never be that but with 6-10 Amtrak's a day, and dare I say it commuter trains one day, it would be a hoping spot.. if Ford wants it to be that is.

https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/proj ... IGAN17.pdf

Full PDF of Michigan ridership. Supringingly decent, given if I was driving to the station from that area I would personally park in DER over DET. Also north of Detroit Troy, royal oak, and Pontiac had around 72,000 riders combined between the three stops.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby Burb8145 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:47 am

Not much new information, but here's a new story.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/amtrak-detroit-toronto-1.5084297
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby Steve B » Fri Apr 05, 2019 10:55 am

I wouldn't get too carried away with this. Amtrak has been talking about this at least since 1997, and this is just one item in a Santa wish list it compiled. The wording reads:

"below are examples of the types of projects that could be advanced if additional federal funds are provided to Amtrak above the authorized amount of $1.8 billion in FY 2020. This list represents many of Amtrak's priorities, but at this time it is meant to be illustrative."

By "authorized" Amtrak means the amount similar to what it got this fiscal year, and the amount that the FAST Act requires Amtrak to assume in its request to Congress. The actual enacted amount will be debated for most of the year, perhaps into next year, until the whole budget is done. If all the items in the wish list are granted, Amtrak would get some $2.44 billion in FY 2020.

https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/projects/dotcom/english/public/documents/corporate/reports/Amtrak-General-Legislative-Annual-Report-FY2020-Grant-Request.pdf

The enacted funding for Amtrak in FY 2019 was $1.9 billion.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby trainjunkie47 » Fri Apr 05, 2019 12:23 pm

Amtrak could easily operate a connector bus from Pontiac, to Troy, to Royal Oak, to the station at Woodward and Baltimore, to Michigan Central.
The 2017 ridership numbers for the following:
Pontiac: 13,300
Troy: 29,000
Royal Oak: 28,800
Detroit: 63,300
Dearborn: 72,200.

Another option would be to maintain two Wolverine trains as is, and a third train would be the cross border train. The biggest problem with that scenario is not two different Detroit stations, but rather two different staffed locations within Detroit.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby Steve B » Fri Apr 05, 2019 3:04 pm

"The biggest problem with that scenario is not two different Detroit stations, but rather two different staffed locations within Detroit."

The hypothetical train continuing into Canada could just use Dearborn as its Detroit stop.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby NSSD70ACe » Fri Apr 05, 2019 4:08 pm

Super Chief wrote:What's the current storage location for the infamous double decker ex-Burlington commuter cars? Seems there's been no discussion in a while about Wally or any other operations for them to be used for?


GLC has them, a large chunk in Owosso where SRI uses some of them for NPE and I think the rest on a branch somewhere north of town.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby Steve B » Sat Apr 06, 2019 9:18 am

http://www.bridgemi.com/detroit-journalism-cooperative/detroit-studies-restoring-passenger-trains-michigan-central-station

The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority is spending $30,000 on a study exploring returning Amtrak service to the depot. It will probably just join all the other studies on the shelf, but you have to start somewhere.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby Burb8145 » Sat Apr 06, 2019 10:13 am

trainjunkie47 wrote:Amtrak could easily operate a connector bus from Pontiac, to Troy, to Royal Oak, to the station at Woodward and Baltimore, to Michigan Central.
The 2017 ridership numbers for the following:
Pontiac: 13,300
Troy: 29,000
Royal Oak: 28,800
Detroit: 63,300
Dearborn: 72,200.

One thing though, wouldn't this compete with SMART's Fast 462 route? That route already serves most of these areas.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby jrgerber » Mon May 27, 2019 9:04 am

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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby MQT1223 » Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:47 pm

Saturnalia wrote:Pontiac to Detroit should be a commuter rail system anyway.

At some point, somebody needs to cough up some dough. We await that bright distant future and speculate in the meantime...


Wasn't that what SEMTA was for? We all know how that worked out.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby KenB » Sun Jun 02, 2019 11:33 am

Big problem with commuter trains is MONEY!! Mainly operating funds. The Federal Government pays a lot of capitol cost but will not pay operating costs. The people of S.E. Michigan expect a "free lunch", its our right! The millages for funds get voted down.
My plan would be to restore what we had. Run a commuter train from Pontiac to MC Depot. Run Amtrak from Detroit-Chicago. Run one Amtrak train each way Toledo-Flint daily.
Build streetcar line from MC depot east on Michigan to downtown than East onto Gratiot-Van Dyke this would give access to Downtown and can transfer to the Woodward line and it goes some place. The local people can access jobs at MC Depot and go to Eastern Market and East side people access to jobs Downtown and the sports stadium area.
All of this CAN BE DONE if all of the local officals get behind this, lay out a plan and time line and cost and get a millage passed. The railroad tracks are mostly in place. Big construction would be the streetcar line on Michigan and Gratiot streets. If we start working on all these projects now can have them done by time MC depot opens in four years with is 5 K of people.
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Re: Michigan Central Amtrak Station

Unread postby NS3322 » Sun Jun 02, 2019 2:59 pm

MQT1223 wrote:
Saturnalia wrote:Pontiac to Detroit should be a commuter rail system anyway.

At some point, somebody needs to cough up some dough. We await that bright distant future and speculate in the meantime...


Wasn't that what SEMTA was for? We all know how that worked out.


Yes, but that was the 1970's/1980's. I am sure more people would utilize it now (if run at appropriate frequencies), especially between Ann Arbor and Detroit.
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