Posts Tagged ‘Expanded Amtrak service’

MDOT to Study Detroit-Holland Service

June 21, 2014

Passenger trains haven’t travelled the 200-mile former Pere Marequette route between Detroit and Holland, Mich., since 1971, but that may change if the results of a pending study are favorable.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is preparing to commission a study of the instituting Amtrak service on the Detroit-Holland route.

“Right now, we need to figure out if there is actually a potential ridership along the route before we move this any further,” said MDOT spokesperson Michael Frezell.

MDOT officials decided to undertake the study after Amtrak ridership in Michigan had risen in past 10 years by nearly 300,000.

“This would be the first step in a many-step process. If we are to look for any type of passenger rail along any line between any of those cities, it would take years,” Frezell said.

“Right now, we need to figure out if there is actually a potential ridership along the route before we move this any further,” he said.

Aside from demand, another challenge to implementing the service would be the need to rehabilitate a route that has been freight only since May 1, 1971, when Chesapeake & Ohio service was discontinued with the coming of Amtrak.

The C&O operated two daily roundtrips over the route between Detroit and Grand Rapids, although one pair of trains did not run on Sundays.

The route also served Lansing, the state capitol that is today served by Amtrak’s Chicago-Port Huron, Mich., Blue Water. That train is funded in part by MDOT.

CSX proposed within the past year to remove the block signals from the Detroit-Grand Rapids route, citing the expense of maintaining the signals and the relatively low train density.

Although the Detroit-Holland passenger service study has yet to begin, its results are due to the Michigan legislature by May 2015.