update on the ann arbor-detroit commuter rail line

The following comes from the office of Carmine Palombo, the Director of Transportation Programs for SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments).

Ann Arbor-Detroit Commuter Rail Project
Progress Report
December, 2008

The following summarizes the current status of activities related to the Ann Arbor-Detroit Commuter Rail Project:

1. SEMCOG announced the location of the station that will serve Metro Airport for the initial project. The station will be on Wayne County owned property at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Henry Ruff.

2. SEMCOG has begun discussions with representatives of the City of Ypsilanti and the Downtown Development Authority on the location of the station in Ypsilanti.

3. Field analysis of the Norfolk Southern and Conrail portions of the route continues as part of developing the environmental document for the project.

4. A consultant has been selected by MDOT for the West Detroit Connection Track project.

5. SEMCOG and MDOT have begun the process of securing locomotives and rail cars for the project.

6. SEMCOG and MDOT are pursuing funding options from the recent AMTRAK and Federal Rail Administration (FRA) programs. In addition, certain components of the project (i.e. cars and locomotives) have been submitted for funding as part of a possible federal economic stimulus package.

7. MDOT has hired a consultant to review our progress to date, identify work that needs to be completed and develop a project timeline to help keep the project on schedule for an October, 2010 target to begin service. A contract between MDOT and Quandel Consultants was executed on November 18, 2008.

8. SEMCOG and MDOT continue to wait for a response from the Canadian National (CN) Railroad indicating that they have found capacity on their system to allow for four commuter round trips a day if improvements are made at West Detroit Junction. In addition, a letter was sent from Governor Granholm’s policy director to Canadian National officials inquiring as to CN’s plans in Michigan and reemphasizing the Governor’s desire for commuter rail service between Ann Arbor and Detroit to commence by October 2010. A follow up email was sent to CN officials inquiring on the status of our request.

[Our most recent conversation about this rail line, its funding, and the Ypsilanti stop, can be found here.]

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10 Comments

  1. Posted December 12, 2008 at 1:36 am | Permalink

    I found an At Detroit forum with discussion of some of the details of the rail plans.

  2. egpenet
    Posted December 12, 2008 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Two words … Ypsilanti Freighthouse.

  3. Kristen Cuhran
    Posted December 12, 2008 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

    Oh please please please make this happen!

  4. egpenet
    Posted December 12, 2008 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Oh … OK.

  5. mark
    Posted December 13, 2008 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the link, Edward.

    And, Ed, I would love it if the stop were at the Freighthouse, but, from what I hear, that would add a great deal of expense to the project. Is that the case? Would it be a lot less expensive to start with a temporary platform on the other side of the tracks?

  6. egpenet
    Posted December 13, 2008 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Expense is one issue.

    But the wisdom in the longer term for economic development for Depot Town merchants and the City is the Freighthouse platform option.

  7. mark
    Posted December 14, 2008 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    Having the stop at the Freighthouse would be great, Ed. I’m not suggesting otherwise. From what I hear, however, getting the train over to the Freighthouse would be a costly undertaking, and I’d hate to see anything jeopardize the Ypsi stop. I think the most important thing is that Ypsi gets a stop, not where in Depot Town that stop is, at least during the initial testing phase. It would be much easier, I think, to move the stop to the Freighthouse later, once the line is established.

  8. egpenet
    Posted December 14, 2008 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    As I said, cost is one factor.

    Critical mass of passenger miles, timing and the issue of economic development are even more important.

    In all aspects, SEMCOG agrees. One step at a time.

  9. John on Forest
    Posted December 14, 2008 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    1,000 riders a day?

    When I was commuting to Dearborn everyday on MIchigan Ave, there were easily 1000 commuters going one way on that road at an instant in time. At 45 miles per hour, average speed, a rough estimate would be that 3 cars passed a given point every second. That’s 180 cars a minute and in a 2 hour commute window (actual window is probably larger) that’s 21,000 cars passing a given point.

    Couldn’t we hope for 20% of the commuters some day in the future? That would be 4,000 riders.

  10. Ol' E Cross
    Posted December 18, 2008 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    Any word on how to get the rail riders moved from six mile to any meaningful location(s) in Detroit?

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