• Michigan Central Station

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by gokeefe
 
Ridgefielder wrote:As for NS/CP/CRSA demanding funds, well-- Ford Motor is one of the biggest, if not *the* biggest, shipper on the US and Canadian rail systems. A fact I'm sure the folks in Norfolk, Jacksonville and Calgary are well aware of. If Ford wants this to happen, they're not going to start throwing obstacles in the way.
Probably the best point made in this discussion in quite some time and perhaps ever. Ford has tremendous leverage as a major shipper to get things done that otherwise would never happen.

I never thought of this angle and I have to believe that it is indeed very significant.
  by Tadman
 
This is very interesting. It reminds me a bit of the 1950-ish attitude of "passenger trains lose money but we run them in top shape because that's how shippers form an opinion of our service".
  by mtuandrew
 
A good point indeed. Also, I remember that in their announcement Ford stated that MCS is a pretty building and a good headquarters (to rival the RenCen), but that they also want the cheap land surrounding MCS. They stand to make a great deal of money from real estate, since they have to consider the entire neighborhood is ripe for very inexpensive corporate, retail, and residential low-rise development. Bringing Amtrak is a development tool too, just as the renovation of St. Paul Union Depot was a cornerstone of the St. Paul Lowertown District, and how Virgin Trains America née Brightline is a massive development tool for very-undervalued former FEC land.
  by Ridgefielder
 
mtuandrew wrote:A good point indeed. Also, I remember that in their announcement Ford stated that MCS is a pretty building and a good headquarters (to rival the RenCen), but that they also want the cheap land surrounding MCS. They stand to make a great deal of money from real estate, since they have to consider the entire neighborhood is ripe for very inexpensive corporate, retail, and residential low-rise development. Bringing Amtrak is a development tool too, just as the renovation of St. Paul Union Depot was a cornerstone of the St. Paul Lowertown District, and how Virgin Trains America née Brightline is a massive development tool for very-undervalued former FEC land.
There's a sea-change going on here, I think.

For the first time in a couple generations you have large, well-funded corporations like Ford and Virgin either sniffing around or outright jumping into the passenger train space.

I've pointed this out in the Brightline thread but I'll repeat it here-- the conversation between the freight carriers and potential passenger operators is going to be very different when the guy across the table from the Class I's representative is reporting to William Clay Ford II or Sir Richard Branson, not the commissioner of the State DOT.

The Class I's aren't just in business to run freight trains for the sake of running trains. They're in business to make money. If Virgin steps up to the BNSF and says "we'll pay you $x million/year to run our trains over the Cajon," or Ford says to NSC "remember, we spend a billion dollars a year on freight" when talking about reconnecting the leads to MCS, they're not going to get brushed off.
  by dowlingm
 
I would see Ford's leverage as being massively superior to the Bearded One's. Offering to pay $ for access to Cajon anyone can do but it comes directly from the financial operations of the train, right? So then we are back to the Iowa Pacific situation with the Hoosier State and Amtrak retaining train operations etc. because the line owner just doesn't have a big enough incentive to say yes to anyone else.

Ford would not only have client relationship - which gets them the meeting in the first place - but also the ability to offer a relationship inclusive of a suitably sized stake in MCS/related real estate redevelopment - the Brightline model.
  by gokeefe
 
Shocking to see a parallel between Brightline and Detroit (MCS).
  by gokeefe
 
227,000 gallons of water out ... Scaffolding and brick masons in.
Work crews had to pump out nearly 227,000 gallons of water that flooded the station's basement and its little-known subbasement. They also installed temporary roofing and sealed floors to keep additional rainwater out during construction.
  by gokeefe
 
5,000 replacement tiles ordered ... First hint of occupancy date ...
Ford has already made an initial order of 5,000 tiles from one of the few manufacturers capable of replicating the tile. Scaffolding will go up early next year to make that repair work possible. Phase III of the project will involve finishing and restoring the interior to get Michigan Central Station ready for tenants in 2022.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Much beyond MCS to suggest "Detroit is back":

Today, in their "take Monday off" series, The Wall Street Journal, has a feature on Detroit. MCS is not mentioned as, let's be fair about it, is a "work in progress".

Also; no mention of anything rail: not the Woodward Ave Trolley, not the People Mover, and most definitely not Amtrak. One place they do mention is the Detroit Museum of Art - and that is quite accessible from the Trolley:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/an-essenti ... lewebshare
  by gokeefe
 
The story is impressive in its own right for the fact that there really is plenty to write about for a weekend visit.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Maybe it's time to attend a Detroit Symphony concert, which I haven't done since '16.

I last stayed at The Marriott at Renaissance Center (why they have not rebranded that hotel to their Renaissance brand escapes me) and the Q(uicken Loans)-Line goes from Ren Cen and stops right in front of Max Fisher Orchestra Hall.
  by mtuandrew
 
I may have to do the same, Mr. Norman, though my seats will have a considerably higher “nosebleed” aspect than yours. Between having friends & family in the area and wanting to do some light railfanning, it’d be a nice vacation.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Well Mr. Stephens, when compared to the Rolling Stones performing at Soldier Field this Tuesday, any ticket to the DSO is a bargain. But Fisher Hall is "not all that big" at 2000 seats. I'm fearful that "half houses" are the "norm".
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
From Hilton Suites Boca Raton--

The New York Times has an article that is informative, but does not "break new ground" for those who have been following the project:

Fair Use:
DETROIT — Detroit’s former main train station, designed in the Beaux-Arts style by the same architects who created Grand Central Terminal in New York, has tall columns and vaulted ceilings that hint at its past glory.

Yet much of the station is now crumbling, covered in rainbow graffiti and weathered by decades of rain and snow that seeped in through the deteriorating roof.

“Michigan Central Station has long been a symbol of Detroit’s vibrancy, and then it became an international symbol of decline,” said Detroit’s mayor, Mike Duggan.

Now the long-vacant station is getting a new life, thanks to the Ford Motor Company, which will transform the depot as well as an adjacent book depository, brass factory and hosiery factory into a 1.2 million-square-foot transportation innovation district.
No mention regarding possibility of returning passenger rail to the ststion. But, lest we forget, King Henry had no probkems with railroads - he owned one (D,T&I).
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