Proposed train service from Ann Arbor to Traverse City gets new funding for study

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MisterUptempo

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On Aug. 11, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced that the study would receive $1.3 million as a grant through the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) program, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation news release.

This is in addition to the $1 million awarded to the study through the state of Michigan’s 2023 Labor and Economic Opportunity budget in July.

The grant, a part of the $52 million awarded to support four Michigan projects, will be given to the Cadillac/Wexford Transit Authority, which is working in partnership with the nonprofit Groundwork Center on the completion of the planning study.

The proposed route for the train service passes through 15 counties between southeast Michigan and northern lower Michigan starting in Traverse City through Cadillac, Mount Pleasant, Alma, Owosso and Howell to Ann Arbor. It would also branch off north to Petoskey. The study called for more investigation into the possibility of an extension from Ann Arbor to Detroit.

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The next stage would identify and prioritize improvements needed along the corridor to maximize freight and passenger opportunities, which could include crossing signal and track upgrades, safety technology, potential bridge replacements, community-specific station needs and equipment. It will also develop a business plan for passenger service.
FaUrtKr.jpg

img src - Detroit Free Press

Link to the whole story
Link to Groundwork Center's feasibility study
Link to Groundwork Center's A2TC project page
 

Just-Thinking-51

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This was a private railroad project, not sure why the government is getting involved.

I believe they are running a demonstration train on that route. I've been in talks with the operator about staffing it.

 

MisterUptempo

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If they can originate this train out of Ann Arbor, why NOT have it originate out of DET?
A connection from Ann Arbor to Detroit is, in fact, an option that is being explored. If you don't wish to go through the entire report, use the link to the project page. There is also a shorter summary of the project and options.

The options roughly are these-
Start out a portion of the route as a 25MPH excursion route
Upgrade to a 60MPH excursion route
Progress to a 60MPH scheduled route
Upgrade to either 90MPH or 110MPH scheduled route

Routing would either involve two branches - one with direct access to Traverse City and one directly to Petoskey or a combined route, serving Traverse City first, then continuing ENE to Petoskey via Williamsburg (stopping at Turtle Creek Casino).

Route originating at either Ann Arbor or Detroit.
 

MisterUptempo

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This was a private railroad project, not sure why the government is getting involved.



Regarding Seaboard92's comment - From the Free Press story-

While the new rail service was scheduled to begin limited runs in 2021, the service test rides were placed on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

railiner

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Being able to traverse our lower peninsula by rail, from the Southeast/Detroit, through mid Michigan, to the northern/western shorelines, is a beautiful concept.
Agreed. So would a train from Chicago, Milwaukee, and Green Bay to your Upper Peninsula... :)

 
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A connection from Ann Arbor to Detroit is, in fact, an option that is being explored. If you don't wish to go through the entire report, use the link to the project page. There is also a shorter summary of the project and options.

The options roughly are these-
Start out a portion of the route as a 25MPH excursion route
Upgrade to a 60MPH excursion route
Progress to a 60MPH scheduled route
Upgrade to either 90MPH or 110MPH scheduled route

Routing would either involve two branches - one with direct access to Traverse City and one directly to Petoskey or a combined route, serving Traverse City first, then continuing ENE to Petoskey via Williamsburg (stopping at Turtle Creek Casino).

Route originating at either Ann Arbor or Detroit.
The challenge there is that the Ann Arbor Railroad which this train runs on to Ann Arbor currently is not connected to the MDOT/Amtrak tracks leading to Detroit. They would have to build a new connection in order to serve Detroit.
 
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The challenge there is that the Ann Arbor Railroad which this train runs on to Ann Arbor currently is not connected to the MDOT/Amtrak tracks leading to Detroit. They would have to build a new connection in order to serve Detroit.
It's been a while since I last researched the A2 RR... and have forgotten what little I knew. Do you know how far east of Ann Arbor the tracks run?
Also I know the tracks cross downtown Ann Arbor not far from the Amtrak track but that would require a bus or shuttle connection at some disembarkation point TBD. Actually, with this Traverse City service, originating in Ann Arbor could include a bus bridge from Toledo and Detroit.
 
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