Michigan

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.

Projects

Wally: Ann Arbor-Howell
Wally is a proposed 27 mile commuter-rail service that would connect Ann Arbor and Howell.

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

Traverse City-Ann Arbor
Connecting Traverse City to the rest of Michigan with passenger rail is considered a priority for MDOT.

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.

Detroit-Toledo
The Detroit to Toledo passenger train earned inclusion into the 2011 MDOT State Rail Plan.

A connection to Toledo would allow access via train to locations on the east coast.

Grand Rapids Connection
Linking Grand Rapids into Michigan’s passenger rail network is a top priority for MDOT.

This connection would involve a rail link to either Kalamazoo, Lansing, and/or Detroit.

Detroit-Grand Rapids
There is a renewed effort to construct a train connecting Michigan’s west and east coast using existing tracks.

 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

Detroit-Ann Arbor Commuter Rail
The 38 mile route would run from Ann Arbor to Detroit with stops in Ypsilanti, Metro Airport and Dearborn.

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