Michigan Trims Wolverine Service for Summer

At the request of the Michigan Department of Transportation Amtrak has annulled some Wolverine Service trains for the remainder of the summer.

Amtrak logoCut from the timetable is eastbound No. 350, which had departed Chicago in the morning and ran only as far as Battle Creek.

Also annulled is an afternoon train from Battle Creek to Chicago, No. 353.

The service cuts mean that Monday through Saturday the first Wolverine Service eastbound train of the day departs Chicago at 4 p.m. A second Wolverine Service train leaves two hours later. Both trains terminate at Pontiac in suburban Detroit.

As for westbound service Monday through Saturday, No. 351 departs Pontiac at 5:15 a.m. while No. 355 leaves at 6:50 p.m.

On Sunday, Wolverine Service returns to normal with three roundtrips scheduled between Chicago and Pontiac.

However, the schedule changes with departures from Chicago at 7:10 p.m., 12:25 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Westbound trains leave Pontiac at 5:15 a.m., 10:35 a.m. and 6:50 p.m.

MDOT asked Amtrak to alter the schedule after reviewing ridership data for May and June and deciding that the cost of providing the Chicago-Battle Creek trains was not being adequately covered by ticket revenue.

During May, ridership and revenue each fell 14 percent from the May 2015 performance figures.

There had been no connecting bus service between Battle Creek and points east on the route.

Michigan is undertaking a track rehabilitation project between Battle Creek and Jackson that involves replacing 26,000 ties, repairing 13 switches, rebuilding 23 highway crossings, and modifying or realigning 29 curves.

The work began in late April and is expected to be finished by Sept. 23 when schedules will reset to normal.

Amtrak recently said that regular service of three roundtrips will be offered during the Labor Day weekend.

The Chicago-Port Huron Blue Water and Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette are not affected by the track work.

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