Rail travel in Michigan recently has seen a huge improvement. Upgrades to the Amtrak Wolverine tracks will increase the efficiency of trains from Chicago to Detroit and cut travel times. Elsewhere, there are exciting plans in the works to establish commuter rail into Ann Arbor and into Detroit.
However, important connections are still needed. No rail connection to Toledo and lacking a quick and efficient connection from Grand Rapids to Detroit continues to be a detriment to Michigan citizens. Michigan’s current integration into the Midwestern rail system is tenuous at best, improvements need to be made.
Steps towards 110-mph service on the majority of the Detroit to Chicago line are positive, but real high-speed service is needed to Chicago. Moreover, commuter rail proposals are at risk of stalling due to budgetary concerns and resistance among state lawmakers.
A 2011 study conducted by the Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers determined that a line should be constructed from Holland to Detroit with stops in Grand Rapids and Lansing. In 2013, MDOT granted $100,000 to the AAATA to study a Detroit to Grand Rapids corridor. Click here to learn more
This project, by running through Metro Airport, would finally connect travelers to downtown Detroit with ease. Existing tracks would be used, requiring only some improvements, and the construction of stations at Ypsilanti and Metro Airport. Click here to learn more
A study is currently being conducted by the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (AAATA) using money from a federal grant. This study should demonstrate Wally’s viability and move the project forward. Click here to learn more
For a connection to Howell, the state currently owns the majority of the tracks and they would only need a minor refurbishment. The remaining portion of the route would run on the WALLY route from Howell to Ann Arbor.
A connection to Toledo would allow access via train to locations on the east coast.
This connection would involve a rail link to either Kalamazoo, Lansing, and/or Detroit.