Posts Tagged ‘M-1 RAIL Streetcar Project’

Detroit QLINE to Open on May 12

March 13, 2017

Revenue service on Detroit’s streetcar system will begin on May 12, QLINE officials said last week.

To mark the opening, there will be a special event at the Penske Technical Center and an inaugural ride down Woodward Avenue. Public service begins that evening.

“We are going to be running simulated operations in April,” said M-1 Rail spokesman Dan Lijana. “We want to make sure that the drivers have as much time on the road (as possible) before we start taking passengers.”

M-1 Rail is the operator of the streetcar system. Construction of the $142 streetcar line began in July 2014 and test runs over the 3.3-mile system began in December.

The 66-foot long streetcars can carry 125 passengers on average and will reach maximum speeds of 35 mph.

They will stop for traffic lights and M-1 Rail has begun a public education campaign with the first step being a series of safety videos to help Detroit residents become accustomed to coexisting with streetcars.

The QLINE will operate between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to midnight on Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight on Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

M-1 Rail estimates that the QLINE will carry 5,000 to 8,000 passengers per day.

“QLINE’s grand opening will be a historic day in Detroit,” said M-1 Rail CEO Matt Cullen. “We’re bringing rail transit back to the heart of the city and connecting the Woodward Corridor in a way that’s already begun to transform the entire district.”

Detroit Streetcar Route Testing Begins

August 30, 2016

Track testing of the Detroit QLINE streetcar route because last week using a motorized inspection car.

M-1 Rail logoDetroit M-1 Rail, which will operate the 3.3-mile line along Woodward Avenue, said the speeder checked for obstructions and reviewed the physical dimensions of infrastructure to ensure proper maintenance of traffic.

M-1 Rail said installation of the overhead catenary system is 60 percent complete and that 85 percent of the poles have been installed.

Track installation is 83 percent complete. Revenue service is expected to begin in early 2017.

Detroit Street Car to be Named QLINE

March 29, 2016

Quicken Loans already has its name on a sports arena in Cleveland and now the Michigan-based company will soon see its name on the Detroit streetcar line.

M-1 Rail logoThe finance company and M-1 Rail announced last week that the streetcar system will be known as the QLINE and cars will feature a stylized “Q” logo that they said “symbolizes the connectivity accomplished through the rail line.”

Quicken Loans received the naming rights to the streetcar line last May due to its financial support for the project. The companies will also be one of 20 station sponsors.

“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 in a statement. “Quicken Loans is proud to play our part in the beginning stages of modernizing the transit system in our burgeoning urban core.”

The QLINE is expected to be completed late this year. The first streetcar will be delivered during the fourth quarter.

Cars will operate at a top speed of 35 mph over a 3.3-mile route from Congress Street in downtown Detroit to West Grand Boulevard. Construction began in 2014.

Detroit Streetcar Debut Delayed Until 2017

August 6, 2015

The inauguration of service on Detroit’s M-1 Rail street car line has been pushed back to 2017 due to changes in safety rules and construction delays created by this year’s harsh winter.

The updated safety rules were part of the Federal Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. Although that law was approved in 2012,, government agencies are just now enforcing its provisions.

“MAP-21 is now just being implemented throughout the whole transit area,” said Paul Childs, chief operating officer for M-1 Rail. “It’s going to be a learning experience. We think we have a sense of it, but it’s new and it’s the government.”

Childs also said that workers are still seeking to catch up from setbacks that occurred last winter.

Also delayed is construction of the streetcars themselves. The first streetcar won’t be delivered until late 2016 with four more cars expected to arrive in spring 2017. Detroit will need at least four cars to launch service.

Childs said much of the lost construction time can be made up with worker overtime. Therefore, he expected construction of the streetcar infrastructure to be finished by late 2016.

Construction of the central downtown core of the 3.3 mile route should not interfere with the annual Thanksgiving Day parade.

The streetcar line will run along Woodward Avenue from Congress Street to Grand Boulevard, serving 20 stations, some on each side of the street.

M-1 Rail Seeking Operator for Detroit Streetcar

February 28, 2015
An artist's drawing of the Detroit street car line in operation.

An artist’s drawing of the Detroit street car line in operation.

A request for proposals has been issued for an operator to run Detroit’s 3.3-mile streetcar line that is under construction.

M-1 Rail, which is developing the line as part of a $140 million project, has scheduled a pre-proposal conference for March 13, with proposals due by April 16.

Contract talks with a preferred bidder are expected to occur in May with a contract signed in June.

The streetcar is expected to begin operations in December 2016.

The company that wins the contract will begin working with M-1 Rail at least a year in advance of the commencement of operations, said Paul Childs, M-1 Rail’s chief operating officer, in a news release.

The contractor “will be instrumental in developing processes and procedures for operations and fulfilling all of the obligations required by federal, state and city government agencies,” Childs said.

Contractor responsibilities will include hiring operators, scheduling and training employees; developing customer service standards; safety; fare collection; maintaining vehicles, track, switches, signals, platforms, substations, and overhead contact systems/charging bars; washing and cleaning vehicles; and report preparation.

The initial operating contract will be five years with M-1 Rail retaining the option to renew it for another two to five years.

M-1 Rail officials estimate the cost to operate the streetcar at $5 million annually.

“Passengers want a reliable, safe and clean experience and the operator of the line will be a catalyst for that,” Childs said.

When operational, the streetcar line will run along Woodward Avenue between Larned Street and West Grand Boulevard in Detroit.

M-1 Rail Shows Off Penske Facility Concept

February 18, 2015

M1 1

M1 2

The parent organization of the Detroit streetcar line has released conceptual renderings of the nearly 19,000 square feet Penske Tech Center facility that will serve as an operations and maintenance center.

The center will be located between Bethune and Custer avenues, at the northern end of the 3.3-mile streetcar system.

“We have communicated extensively with the residents and business owners from the neighborhood where the Tech Center will be located, and their input has been invaluable in making sure that the new Tech Center becomes a vibrant part of the community,” says Paul Childs, Chief Operating Officer of M-1 Rail. “From the types of vegetation we use on the grounds, to the building’s actual design and location on the property, the voices from the community have given M-1 Rail terrific guidance.”

The facility is named in recognition of Roger Penske’s leadership of M-1 Rail and Penske Corp., as one of the major donors to the project.

Detroit Streetcar Construction Will be Busy

February 3, 2015

Officials with M-1 Rail in Detroit are eyeing an aggressive 2015 construction schedule for the streetcar line that is being built on Woodward Avenue.

The 3-3 mile line is expected to open in 2016 between Campus Martius in downtown Detroit and the New Center area. Track laying will resume in March.

Motorists, though, may be less than pleased with what an M-1Rail official described as a “very aggressive” construction schedule.

“It’s going to be a lot of orange cones,” said Sommer Woods, director of external relations for M-To minimize the impact, M-1 will keep cross streets open and maintain access to medical centers.

M-1 officials will be holding six community update meetings to provide the public information about construction plans in specific neighborhoods.

During a recent in downtown Detroit, Megan Owens, executive director of Transportation Riders United, noted that bus riders on the SMART system are confused by detours on parts of Woodward that remain in place even though the area is currently open to traffic.

Detroit Department of Transportation buses resumed travel along the route after last year’s construction ended.

Woods said was the decision of the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, rather than M-1 Rail, to keep the detours in place.

Beth Gibbons, spokeswoman for SMART, said that although travel along Woodward might not be restricted now, that would change in coming months.

“SMART decided to put our buses on permanent detour until construction is completed,” Gibbons said. “We’re trying to keep it simpler for the customers knowing that the detours are standing until further notice.”




4 Firms to Design, Build Detroit M-1 Rail Center

November 3, 2014

Detroit M-1 Rail has chosen three firms to design and built the Penske Technical Center near the northern terminus of the city’s future streetcar line at Woodward Avenue and West Grand Boulevard in the New Center neighborhood.

The companies are Turner Construction Co., 3.L.K Construction, ABE Associates Inc. and RNL. The facility will be named after Cleveland native Roger Penske, a race car owner who was one of the major donors to M-1 Rail’s streetcar line.

“This facility will be one of the first new construction projects in the neighborhood, and is a key part of the entire project,” said Paul Childs, chief operating officer of M-1 Rail, in a news release. “Members of the community have had a voice in the eventual design of the building, which will serve as the maintenance and storage and technical center for the streetcars.”

M-1 Rail is constructing a 3.3-mile streetcar line that will operate along Woodward Avenue between Larned Street and West Grand Boulevard.




Detroit Streetcar Project Gets City’s OK

June 26, 2014

The Detroit City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved granting permits that will clear the way for construction of the M1 streetcar line.

A groundbreaking ceremony is expected to be held this summer with work possibly getting underway in July. The streetcar line is expected to begin carrying passengers in late 2016.

“M-1 Rail will play a major role in shaping a better future for Detroit,” said project President and CEO Matthew Cullen in a statement. “This world-class rail system will serve Detroit’s largest job centers and most visited destinations. It will ignite tremendous new economic development and job creation and will provide a foundation for improved and expanded public transit throughout the region. The project will also create construction and permanent jobs for Detroiters. It’s time to make history.”

A builder for the cars to be used on the 3.3 mile line is expected to be named soon. Two companies are reportedly bidding for the contract to build the cars.

The Detroit News had reported earlier this month that the streetcar project faces a $12 million funding gap that threatened its viability. However, Cullen had said that that would not prevent the construction of the project.

M-1 RAIL officials said they plan to launch a public information campaign to inform residents, businesses and patrons throughout the Woodward corridor about the upcoming construction work.

Detroit Streetcar Project Still a Go, CEO Says

June 20, 2014

Detroit’s M-1 Rail streetcar project reportedly faces a $12 million shortfall, but the head of the group that is building the 3.9-mile line has denied that the project is in jeopardy of being canceled.

“The construction of the M-1 Rail streetcar will proceed as planned and commence upon City Council approval of our operating agreement. We hope for approval next week,” said M-1 Rail CEO Matthew Cullen.

He was responding to a story in the Detroit News that if the $137 project to build a streetcar line on Woodward Avenue could be in danger if it doesn’t receive the additional federal funding that it is seeking.

The News reported that Michigan members of Congress are saying that the project might be dead unless the U.S. Department of Transportation approves the added funding.

Cullen said that M-1 Rail has contingency plans to fund the project if its bid for a $12.2 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant is not approved. He added that the TIGER grant is just one component of the project’s funding structure.

“We remain very optimistic about the requested TIGER grant based on the quality of our application, the strong support of the mayor, our congressional delegation and others, the [Obama] administration’s focus and commitment to the city of Detroit, and the profound impact of this project for our community,” Cullen said.

Most of the funding of the streetcar project is being generated by a public-private partnership, with substantial contributions from corporations and philanthropic organizations.

The initial starter line is a scaled-back version of earlier plans for a rail line stretching nine miles from downtown to 8 Mile on Detroit’s northern border. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) options are being considered to bridge the distance gap as an interim measure.