Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Preview ride for Detroit-AA commuter train set for Saturday Previous Next
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Thejesus
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Username: Thejesus

Post Number: 1241
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 10:50 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Anyone going?

http://www.metromodemedia.com/ devnews/AARail0019.aspx
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Detroit_stylin
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Username: Detroit_stylin

Post Number: 4149
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 10:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think I may have to check that out...
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Iheartthed
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Username: Iheartthed

Post Number: 798
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 10:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'd go if it were next weekend.
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Dialh4hipster
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Username: Dialh4hipster

Post Number: 2067
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 12:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'd go if it were on Monday.
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Downtown_remix
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Username: Downtown_remix

Post Number: 192
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 1:08 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

wow. We are moving forward
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Tetsua
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Username: Tetsua

Post Number: 1189
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 1:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I wanna go, but I don't feel like staying in Ann Arbor for 6 hours.
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Detroit313
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Username: Detroit313

Post Number: 330
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 1:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would go for the support and invite 30 friends. Congrats Detroit! Wish I were there. <313>
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Mackinaw
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Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 2774
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 2:53 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I ride the Ann Arbor-Detroit route all the time. It would be nothing new for me, although I would go just to show my interest in the commuter plan.

My question is this: boosters of the route talk about how it will provide easy access to metro airport from either Detroit or Ann Arbor (I know this would be great for students at UM), but if they are using current Amtrak tracks and stations, how will this work? The tracks pass by DTW a good ways to the north. I would assume there would be a bus link, which hopefully would be frequent enough not to discourage people. There is a different, parallel set of tracks that passes through the north side of the airfield that could be connected to in the long run.

I also have dependability fears (i.e. whether these trains can stay on time). Obviously if they make this 20 trips a day, even if there are delays, it is way better than the current three, but if people are gonna rely on this for getting to work or meetings or events, its needs credibility for being on time. So in the back of my mind I have all the times when the Amtrak train has had to come to a stop or slow to a crawl, waiting for other trains to pass. In some parts of the route (i.e. the Ann Arbor station area) there is only one track, leading trains crossing paths to have to stop, often.

Now I realize that Amtrak's normally substantial delays result from major slowdowns near Chicago/west Michigan that pile up on the way to Detroit, so if we limit a route to just A2-New Center, you're never going to have 30-90 minute delays, but even small delays will cost you if this is going to be effective commuter rail.

I also wonder about speed. If you could get between the two far points in 45 minutes, it would be a success. Amtrak, with the stop in Dearborn, normally takes about 55 minutes or a bit more. You could bring that time down by upgrading the tracks in Washtenaw and Western Wayne so that the train could go closer to 90-100 mph rather than 60-70ish mph, or you could upgrade the tracks in the C of D, where the train normally goes 10-30 mph.
My final concern is this: the possibility of a downtown Detroit station. The current route brings trains within about a mile of MCS before curving sharply north to New Center. When I spoke to an Amtrak spokesman, he mentioned the possibility of a downtown station. Clearly, the state of MCS prohibits us from using that site on an experimental commuter line, but perhaps a small, simple station could be built somewhere in the west Corktown area maybe around Bagley St. before the tracks dip undergroud? Or, in the long run, one strip of tracks could be put in the Dequindre Cut to bring a train down to the east riverfront. I think if downtown is serviced directly by any commuter rail system there is no way that system will fail.
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Dialh4hipster
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Username: Dialh4hipster

Post Number: 2068
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 3:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Maybe you should go to a Transit Riders United meeting.
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Burnsie
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Username: Burnsie

Post Number: 981
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 3:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Another good site for a Detroit commuter station would be the large grassy area adjacent to the river, west of Riverfront West Apts. at the foot of 10th St. The MC line used to pass through this site on its way to 3rd St. At the tunnel mouth, some tracks simply kept going to downtown, while the other ones went into the tunnel. I don't think there are any buildings built on the old grade until you get to Riverfront West Apts.

Some track would have to be re-laid, but not as much as if the Dequindre Line was rebuilt. I wonder if this option has been considered at all, or if the planners are even aware of it?
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Upinottawa
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Username: Upinottawa

Post Number: 842
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 3:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree that it makes more sense to have the AA to Detroit line terminate closer to downtown rather than at the Amtrak station.

In the future, it would be great to see an AA to Detroit line terminate east of downtown and an Oakland County to Detroit line terminate at the Amtrak station with a light rail line connecting the two stations. Especially if that light rail line connected with the Rosa Parks Transit terminal and the DPM.

One can only hope, but this project shows that the idea is not exactly crazy....
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 908
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 3:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The tracks should go under Fort Street to a massive underground terminal under Cadillac Square.
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Mackinaw
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Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 2775
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 3:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Dialh, I do need to look into that organization.

Ambitious, Detroitnerd. That would be unbelievable. We would need massive government bankrolling that we could only dream about, though.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 909
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 3:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If we ever got our act together, it wouldn't be any harder than ramming a freeway across town.
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Pete
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Username: Pete

Post Number: 69
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 4:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, a downtown station at the west end of the JLA parking garage is being considered long-term, but not for this upcoming demonstration project.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 911
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 5:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't get it. Automotive transportation demands new, ever-larger projects that consumer more and more money. Meanwhile, rail gets tiny, tenative projects that leave people walking further than one of downtown's more distant parking lots. Sigh.
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Upinottawa
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Username: Upinottawa

Post Number: 844
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 5:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Now I am just musing here....

when the JLA is torn down (eventually, to be replaced by a new arena), could it be possible to build an underground train station at Cobo? Since Cobo is connected to the DPM, it could be a decent hub (think NYC's Penn Station on a dramatically smaller scale).

Of course, I realize the cost would be very expensive.
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 913
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 5:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ottawa: At least putting it in a place where you walk out and you're on the street grid would be better than dropping people off behind the Joe's garage. That's what rail can offer, folks, a great way to bring people into town and drop them off right in the middle of things. Planes have speed, cars have curb-to-curb service, and trains take you from downtown to downtown most efficiently. Chicago and New York have grand urban train terminals. Philly has trains that stop right downtown, east of their grand terminal. It is their lead we're following, I presume.
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Dannaroo
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Username: Dannaroo

Post Number: 57
Registered: 05-2006
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 5:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I may be thinking a bit too logically here, but how about a demonstration of the proposed commuter route during a time when commuters would actually want to use it?
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Detroitnerd
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Username: Detroitnerd

Post Number: 914
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 5:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Because, Dan, then it would put the lie to the "demonstration" part of it and show how many people would use it.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 4341
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 5:48 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Dannaroo, I think that part of the problem is getting "track time" from non-Amtrack rail line owners.

I may be wrong, but perhaps on the weekend there are fewer freight carriers running on those tracks.
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Dannaroo
Member
Username: Dannaroo

Post Number: 58
Registered: 05-2006
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 5:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gistok - if that's the case, things are not looking so good at actually getting the route up and running this year.
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Upinottawa
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Username: Upinottawa

Post Number: 846
Registered: 09-2005
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 5:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If Detroit was eventually able to have a system somewhere near Philly's SEPTA rail system that would be amazing. Philly's system is something that Detroit should strive for.

That being said, I believe Philly uses electrified trains which allow for better acceleration, etc. than the diesel train sets that will be used for the AA to Detroit line. This would allow for more stops.
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Miketoronto
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Username: Miketoronto

Post Number: 548
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 6:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Philly's suburban train system is impressive. However it is very underused. Ridership is very low. That could partly be because downtown Philly has lost major major market share in terms of employment levels to the suburbs.
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Transitrider
Member
Username: Transitrider

Post Number: 9
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 - 10:07 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The "Demonstration service" is not the same as this event tomorrow. The TRU event is just using the current the service that's available right now, on a day when hopefully some people can make it. It's a fun ride and you can see where some of the infrastructure changes _can_ be made: like the bridge at Junction that MDOT is supposed to be chipping in to restore so the train does not have to make the long slow curve it does now, which will shave 8-10 minutes off the trip.

But yes, the freight traffic currently gets precedence over passenger, which is NOT how it's supposed to work, but it's not enforced. Senate Bill 294 has a provision to deal with this issue:

http://www.narprail.org/cms/in dex.php/resources/more/s_294/
Requires monitoring of On-Time Performance (OTP) of Amtrak trains and that the STB develop a schedule of penalties for delays caused by host railroads.
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Mackinaw
Member
Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 2776
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 1:10 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Good info, Transitrider. I did not know that the bridge at Junction caused the slowdown there, and the implication in terms of timing.

Indeed, the demonstration will be an actual period of commuter service, which everyone on this forum and everyone who cares about Detroit should use at least once when it is available.

Regarding the host railroad, Norfolk Southern, I've heard only about great cooperation from them in terms of creating commuter rail on their tracks.
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Livernoisyard
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Username: Livernoisyard

Post Number: 3180
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 1:41 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The speed problem at Junction is caused by the speed restrictions imposed by the turns east of Junction. Those sharp turns were created as a result of General Motors forcing the New York Central to sell its ROW south of Vinewood to allow for the Cadillac plant's expansion after 1945. Prior to then, the NYC ROW had faster speeds when entering/leaving the Michigan Line west of Junction at West Detroit. The original NYC (Conrail) ROW could be reinstated because the Cadillac plant had been closed for some two decades already.

(Message edited by Livernoisyard on May 19, 2007)
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Busterwmu
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Username: Busterwmu

Post Number: 386
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 2:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It would speed up the speed through Detroit if they reconstructed the interchange track between the MC mainline and the Wabash "Old Main" at West Detroit, so the trains could bypass CP-Bay City and the big Conrail swing around between W. Detroit and I-96.
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Tetsua
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Username: Tetsua

Post Number: 1195
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 3:55 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Did anyone actually check this thing out, or what?
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 1034
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 8:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Guess that is a no...
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Mackinaw
Member
Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 2790
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 10:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

But we'll all ride the commuter line when it comes about, right?!?
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Scs100
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Username: Scs100

Post Number: 1048
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 11:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If I need to go to AA, sure.
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Mackinaw
Member
Username: Mackinaw

Post Number: 2791
Registered: 02-2005
Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 12:44 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They're tossing around about $6 for the fare. That's half was Amtrak usually costs, and at least half round-trip gasoline. So, basically, spending $12 to get there and back, coupled with all the good, walkable places to eat/drink/be entertained in A2, makes it something you can do even if you don't need to go to A2. And if we get this by next year, I, for my part, will definitely spend fewer weekends in Ann Arbor and more in Detroit,
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 980
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 12:59 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

How very Detroit that for all the talk about this, no one went. Lol.
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Livernoisyard
Member
Username: Livernoisyard

Post Number: 3184
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 2:28 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yawn!

The biggest current users on the Detroit end of Amtrak are the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti transients attending the UoM and EMU. And only for late Friday afternoons and Sundays. And even those types are essentially gone during the summer, like now.

That's hardly what metro Detroit needs to blow its meager available finances on.
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Mayor_sekou
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Username: Mayor_sekou

Post Number: 889
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 3:45 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would have went if I had known, I was down there too.
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Cabasse
Member
Username: Cabasse

Post Number: 38
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 8:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i almost went, i didn't even know about it until the day before and then it was too late to buy tickets online... then i found myself too busy the next day.

damn, i was hoping somebody had gone to see what had been discussed.

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