WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livingston)

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livingston)

Postby ARBKAL » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:33 pm

As some of you may know, SEMCOG (Southeast Michigan Council of Governments) has headed up the creation of a new commuter rail line in metro-Detroit.
"The project is being managed by SEMCOG along with partners that include representatives of all communities in the corridor, Wayne and Washtenaw County officials, state and federal representatives, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the local transit operators (AATA, DDOT, and SMART), Amtrak, representatives of Norfolk Southern (NS) and Canadian National (CN) Railroads, and members of the business community."

It will run between Ann Arbor and Detroit, running the same route as Amtrak's Wolverine, with the addition of stops in Ypsilanti and Detroit Metro Airport (DTW).

Here is the link to the most recent update. It contains pictures of the refurb, along with the completed locomotive. When they first released renderings last year, the paint scheme was nothing to write home about. I must say though, this is one good looking locomotive! You can look back to previous monthly updates to view further pictures.

http://www.semcog.org/AADD.aspx

Moderator's Note: edited to add a link to SEMCOG's website, 1/27/11, 10:25am CST
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Re: Detroit, MI: MiTrain Engine/Coach Refurb

Postby ARBKAL » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:26 am

I apologize for not including the link: http://www.semcog.org/AADD.aspx
Jan. 2011 features the locomotive pictures.
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Re: Detroit, MI: MiTrain Engine/Coach Refurb

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Jan 27, 2011 11:30 am

Welcome, ARBKAL! I edited your first post to include that same link - if you're logged in, you can edit your own posts by clicking the Edit button in the upper right-hand corner of your post. Also, thanks for posting about the Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter service!
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Re: Detroit, MI: MiTrain Engine/Coach Refurb

Postby electricron » Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:29 pm

This photo is too large for this web site, so I posted a link to it. http://www.semcog.org/uploadedImages/Programs_and_Projects/Transportation/Transit/Ann_Arbor_to_Detroit_Rail_Study/consist1.jpg
Looks like they've already refurbished an F59-PH locomotive and two Galley cars, the last one in the photo with a cab. Looks like there might be more cars awaiting refurbishment in the background.

The January presentation projects capital costs of $80 Million, funds obligated at $33 Million, with a $47 Million shortfall. Is this train ever going to reach the station? Why is SEMOG spending $33 million when they hav eno idea where the last $47 Million is coming from? It's almost like they are wishing for a genie to appear and blink her eyes or a witch to twist her nose. Without finding the last $47 Million, they could be wasting the $33 Million they have obligated to spend....

Good luck Ann Arbor and Michigan....
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Re: Detroit, MI: MiTrain Engine/Coach Refurb

Postby MACTRAXX » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:09 pm

E-Ron: Interesting consist noting the former GO Transit F59 along with Burlington 50s era bilevel gallery cars...

I like the color scheme and the MI-RAIL concept...

The Detroit-Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor route once was served by a RDC train that was finally discontinued sometime in the mid 70s...I recall reading that most of that train's users were PC employees that worked in Detroit probably at the former MC station and building...

Thinking about commuter rail routes has there been any mention about reviving the Detroit-Pontiac service via the former GTW line?
It has been 30 years since this route ended service or thereabouts...

If oil prices see a spike there could be an incentive for reviving Detroit's Commuter Rail lines...a good move in my opinion...

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EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livingston

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon Dec 03, 2012 4:08 pm

Some news: Progressive Railroading

The cars are being tested for eventual use by the proposed Detroit-to-Ann Arbor and Washtenaw and Livingston Railway (WALLY) commuter-rail services, said Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) officials in a prepared statement.

Amtrak is operating the test train using its locomotive, while Amtrak, Great Lakes Central Railroad, MDOT consultants and the Federal Railroad Administration are conducting the tests.

The cars were purchased from Metra in Chicago and refurbished by Great Lakes Central in Owosso. The cars' new seating was manufactured by American Seating in Grand Rapids.

The cost to refurbish each car totaled $310,000, with funding provided by state and federal sources, MDOT officials said.
Next stop, Willoughby
~Jeff Smith (fka "Sarge") :: RAILROAD.NET Site Administrator
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Re: WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livings

Postby NH2060 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:11 pm

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Re: WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livings

Postby NH2060 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 7:48 pm

Here's a promo vid for the MiTrain posted a few months back:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFtxB4RjgwM
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Re: WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livings

Postby Detroit » Sun Dec 01, 2013 7:23 pm

After reading all the comments in this thread, I did not see any reference about a SEMCOG study done several years ago for its estimate (using SEMCOG''s own data) of the operating costs for the Detroit to Ann Arbor commuter line. So, I will contribute the following...

Doing the simple arithmetic using the SEMCOG expected annual operating costs and ridership, the average operating costs per passenger then came to $146. No capital costs were used, BTW--just operating costs.

That commuter-line project essentially went dormant for most of the time afterward because of the expected super-high operating costs per passenger.
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Re: WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livings

Postby Milwaukee_F40C » Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:35 am

Since the two dozen fully refurbished (at $350,000 per car) MiTrain ex-Metra Budd bilevels have been up for sale on Sterling Rail for a while, does this mean that the operation has been shut down? It is concerning that I can't find any press discussing what would be a significant development unless Michigan is hoping no one pays attention to it.
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Re: WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livings

Postby NH2060 » Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:18 pm

Dated Jan. 9th:
"Meanwhile, efforts to make Ann Arbor to Detroit commuter rail a reality in another two to three years are still underway."
http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/ind ... study.html
And there you have it, folks!
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Re: WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livings

Postby Detroit » Sun Jan 19, 2014 7:35 pm

SEMCOG last June said that MDOT contracted to lease 23 former METRA cars from the Great Lakes Central RR, and now Sterling has 24 of them up for sale. Hmmm.

The state of Michigan is expecting a surplus at this time, so MDOT is under no immediate pressure to cancel its planned lease. However, the Sterling listing seems a bit suspicious. OTOH, whoever buys the two dozen cars could still lease them afterward.

As far as the project being dead... Was it ever alive? SEMCOG has been talking it up for a decade already, but without any real progress. And there seems not to have been any public clamor about it in the media for quite some time, even from the usual culprits.
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Re: WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livings

Postby electricron » Mon Jan 20, 2014 3:40 am

Detroit wrote:As far as the project being dead... Was it ever alive? SEMCOG has been talking it up for a decade already, but without any real progress. And there seems not to have been any public clamor about it in the media for quite some time, even from the usual culprits.

Commuter rail requires some means of getting passengers that last mile or two in downtown Detroit. The existing people mover runs in a one way loop, depending upon where your office building lies on that loop, it could be either a short or long ride.
The proposed streetcar project will run both ways, the last mile ride on it should be quicker. Once both transit systems are completed, then commuter rail trains from Ann Arbor might run full. So, Detroit has set its priorities correctly. Multimodal transit systems work in conjunction with each other to make a better whole.
Imagine how many riders the TRE would get if there were no DART light rail lines through downtown Dallas. I would expect it would have about 25% of its ridership today.
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Re: WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livings

Postby Detroit » Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:14 am

A SEMCOG Ann Arbor to Midtown commuter route would likely become yet another flop like the SEMTA commuter-train failure that ended some 33 years ago, which ran between the CBD in Detroit and Pontiac--now two deteriorating urban downtowns, one bankrupt and the other one getting there.

Back over 30 years ago, there was still some retail left downtown. Today, what passes for downtown retail in Detroit are a few grungy dollar stores and a fairly new CVS store, even as Gilbert buys many vacant CBD buildings to convert for literally pennies on the dollar. Almost all of the planned loft conversions into apartments died during the past ten years. Two of the three large Riverfront Apartments next to Cobo Hall went into bankruptcy, whereas the third became condos.

Four or five daily round-trip SEMCOG commuter runs (three on weekends) wouldn't amount to that much traffic anyway--considering the relatively high capital and operating costs required.
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Re: WALLY Commuter Rail (Detroit-Ann Arbor-Washtenaw Livings

Postby dowlingm » Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:57 am

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