The amount of incorrect information being repeated in this thread is troubling. I know Detroit. It my favorite city. I'll correct the record, but it makes me wonder how many incorrect things I read about other lines and cities in places that I'm not as familiar with.
Let the corrections begin:
Engineer James wrote:Yes, I used to live on the near the line Amtrak Used. NS from Detroit to Kalamazoo....
Served by 4 trains daily, 3 Wolverine and the Blue water, then u also have the Pere Marquette, but that now does not serve detroit.
The Blue water does not serve Detroit. It shares the Michigan Central line with the Detroit trains until Battle Creek, Michigan and then takes the Grand Trunk line to Port Huron.
Engineer James wrote:MCS... No, Amtrak never used MCS, Conrail was the last opertor of MCS
We've been over this. Amtrak did serve passengers at the station. I don't believe they used the office building.
Engineer James wrote:Mr Mourn, who also owns the Trenton Railway, also the old Belle isle Toll bridge, which my become a new rail line to belle isle.
His name is Matty Moroun. The Detroit International Bridge Company is his company. I don't know if it owns any operating railroads, but James has some facts mixed up about the bridge. The bridge to Belle Isle is not a toll bridge. He owns the Ambassador Bridge.
There is not rail line to Belle Isle. There was some discussion about converting the Michigan Central rail tunnel under the Detroit River to highway use and building a new tunnel to take double stack trains. The highway conversion is a no go, and I don't know any current talk about building a new tunnel. The state of Michigan and Ontario province are working on planning a new river crossing
. Moroun's company is trying to keep their monopoly by twining their bridge.
Engineer James wrote:there has been talk a lot of Detroit Police wanting to renovate the old building, but detroit is in a pickle when it comes to funds... so the plan was cancelled. In that plan, amtrak would have worked the lower 2 floors, and started using MCS, again, but the plans fell through.
That plan was DOA, but it never included the return of passenger trains to the facility (unfortunately...more on that later)
BTW RE: Movies: A number of films have used the building as a location in the last 5-6 years, including Transformers.
pdxstreetcar wrote:MCS is in a terrible location for a station or just about any other use. and on top of that there is little demand for anything in detroit, especially a few miles out of downtown.
MCS is where it is so that it could serve trains from Canada without a backup move. Michigan Central quickly became part of the New York Central, and in 1913, the water level route was effectively split into a northern route and a southern route between Buffalo and Chicago. The southern route went through Cleveland, the Michigan Central station was a major stop on the the northern route. Amtrak's current name for the Michigan trains to Detroit is "Wolverine" which was the name of a NY-Chicago train that took this route. The MCS still has this advantage with respect to the tunnel. The neighborhood that the station is in (Corktown
) is actually a healthy and gentrifying place. It is significantly held back by land speculation surrounding the old Tiger's Stadium and the aforementioned bridge and tunnel. The public sector wants control of a bridge, and the private company buys up any land they can get their hands on to prevent that from happening. That is the primary reason that a trucking company owns an old passenger train station...to prevent the construction of a competing bridge.
The MCS is closer to downtown Detroit than the existing station location (1.5 vs 3 miles). Noticing the pdx in your handle makes me want to compare it to Portland Union Station, which is a similar distance from the traditional CBD of Portland (1.5 vs 3/4 mile) and next to an area that has recently gentrified. The difference is that Portland doesn't have dueling land speculation for a major new highway and they built MAX and your namesake streetcar.
Noel Weaver wrote:Most of them are no longer with us and the few that remain are generally not used for railroad purposes.
The tower wasn't actually built for railroad purposes. It was built as a speculative office building that would also house some railroad functions. Michigan Central was trying to start an uptown in that area. They failed. Remember that MCS opened at the same time (1913) as GCT in NY, which did spur an uptown. Less than a decade later, various automotive business interests developed New Center,
which is near the current Amtrak station. Michigan Central moved into the building before it was finished not only because of the fire at the old station, but also because they didn't have tenants for the upper floors. They never built those floors out. Any plan to resuse the station would either get rid of the tower portions of the building, or would convert then into a non-railroad use. A hotel and conference center make the most sense to me.
peconicstation wrote:Prior to using the Ren. Center station these trains used Union Station, that was on Fort Street downtown
Grand Trunk never used the Union Station. The station was called the Brush Street Station. It was moved up the line to the east when the RenCen was built. Union station
was used by Penn, Wabash, and others. Detroit had three main stations: Michigan Central, Union, and Brush. Michigan Central was part of the New York Central system, and Brush was solely used by Grand Trunk.
NellieBly wrote:The abandonment of the MC station largely resulted from the state of Michigan's interest in extending service out the Grand Trunk to Pontiac. This would have required a reverse move to get to the MC station, and with the train to Buffalo (and the railroad to Buffalo) gone, the MC station simply wasn't on the way to anywhere. Operation to/from the Trunk via Milwaukee Junction meant that a new station could be built right on Woodward Ave (Detroit's main thorofare), although when I rode through from Pontiac to Ann Arbor last summer, boardings/alightings at the "downtown" Detroit station were pretty light.
This is absolutely correct from my experiences. I'd only add that all of the stations in SE michigan see pretty light passenger counts, because there are so many stations. Between the end of the line and Ann Arbor, there are 6 stations in 61 railroad miles, but because of the bend in the line, they are effectively much closer together. I'd also add that the state of Michigan is planning to build a major new station on the opposite side of the tracks from the current station on Woodward. Though there are good things about this plan, I'll go into the reasons that I think the MCS is better in a follow up post.