Detroit-Ann Arbor Commuter Rail 2-3 Years Away

Michigan transportation officials said this week that a Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail service is another two to three years away.

Carmine Palombo, director of transportation programs for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, said his agency is eyeing five roundtrips a day with stops in Ypsilanti, Detroit Metro Airport and Dearborn.

To be successful, Palombo said, the project needs railcars, track, an agreeable owner and funding.

Twenty-three railcars have been refurbished and tested, and the Michigan Department of Transportation is now the owner of the tracks after striking a $140 million deal to buy it from Norfolk Southern in December 2012.

Palombo said track improvements before the route can host additional passenger trains. That work is underway and will take two to three years to complete.

A capacity study also is required to identify additional capacity for passenger trains and that should be starting soon, Palombo said.

“MDOT and SEMCOG are committed to this project and working to overcome hurdles towards a successful opening,” he said, noting the rail line is expected to connect to streetcar and bus rapid transit services at the New Center station in Detroit.

If other issues can be resolved with Amtrak, Palombo said, it’s possible there could be demonstration commuter trains running to certain special events in Ann Arbor and Detroit sometime within the next year or two.

The Southeast Michigan Regional Transportation Authority is expected to be the controlling organization for the commuter rail service.

The route of the commuter trains is currently used by Amtrak’s Wolverine Service. There are three roundtrips a day between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac) over the route.

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: