• Amtrak to Detroit, and the old Michigan Central Station

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in the American Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas. For questions specific to a railroad company, please seek the appropriate forum.
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in the American Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas. For questions specific to a railroad company, please seek the appropriate forum.

Moderator: railohio

  by carajul
 
Does Amtrak still serve Detriot, MI? I just learned of and saw pics of the huge Michigan Central Station. They said Amtrak abandoned the place in 1988. What was this station like in Amtrak days? Was the tower above it used for offices? Info please...

  by AgentSkelly
 
Yes, they still serve Detriot, but with a different building: http://snow.prohosting.com/usarail/detroit.htm

MCS is a great terminal, but as I recall like Buffalo Central Terminal in Buffalo, NY it was under-utilized and cost a pretty penny to operate, so they built another station.

  by bratkinson
 
The typographical errors in spelling Detroit in this thread have me rolling on the floor!

30+ years ago, (hard to believe it was that long already), I wrote a large number of computer screens for city hall while there on a contract and CITY OF DETRIOT appeard on only a few of them!

I still catch myself mistyping the name now and then. Fortunately for my fumble fingers, I moved away from Detroit in 1975!

  by Engineer James
 
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.

MCS... No, Amtrak never used MCS, Conrail was the last opertor of MCS, and it is still in a major state of disrepair. 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. 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.

My granddad worked for CR, and remembered the day they shut it down, because he was pulling the Admin cars after the ceremony....

Also, Detroit Terminal RR was also affected, when the station closed, and got absorbed into CR...

  by Tadman
 
I'm pretty sure that new "Crossover" basketball movie is filmed inside or makes us think it's filmed inside. Check the commercials on TV, they have some outside shots of what could only be MCS.
  by 2nd trick op
 
Detroit, like Newark and the Bronx, suffered almost a complete meltdown from the urban unrest of the 1960's/70's. While there's still a very long way to go, it appears that some of the newer strategies in urban renewal, such as saving a few recoverable properties in an otherwise burned-out block, and encouraging entrepreneurship by building smaller properties which can be offered to business-oriented owners (buy three, live in one and rent the other two), can prevent the cycle of destroy-and-rebuild which sabotoged the large, sterile projects of the 1950's.

Road-atlas maps of Metro Detroit now tend to cover the entire Southeasten Michigan region, and to focus as much on Ann Arbor, with its high student/transient popuplation, as on the Detroit inner city which, nevertheless, with a growing "anchor" of institutions downtown, has advanced past the most difficult part of the renewal process.

Years ago Detroit even had one "commuter" line, on the former Grand Trunk and running as far out as Durand, Mich. It lasted until some time in the 1980's. Unfortunately, mass transit is a hard sell in this most auto-oriented of the major cities, (Remember, most of the growth came after the automotive boom, so Detroit lacks the core of high-density housing common in the older communities), and some of the experiments, such as the "people mover" aren't very compatible with more typical methods of transit. Barring rapid development of a non-fossil-fuel personal vehicle, Detroit may be dragged, kicking and screaming, toward a new transit system.

Now, about that baseball team....... :P

  by gt7348b
 
Actually, there's a topic about Detroit COmmuter Rail over on the General Commuter Board: http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 0d45991efc

Also, I read somewhere that Amtrak also operated a commuter rail type service between Ann Arbor and Detroit until sometime in the '80s
  by GeorgeF
 
2nd trick op wrote:Years ago Detroit even had one "commuter" line, on the former Grand Trunk and running as far out as Durand, Mich. It lasted until some time in the 1980's. Unfortunately, mass transit is a hard sell in this most auto-oriented of the major cities, (Remember, most of the growth came after the automotive boom, so Detroit lacks the core of high-density housing common in the older communities), and some of the experiments, such as the "people mover" aren't very compatible with more typical methods of transit. Barring rapid development of a non-fossil-fuel personal vehicle, Detroit may be dragged, kicking and screaming, toward a new transit system.
The commuter line died quickly after the Chrysler plant just north of Detroit closed down; it was a major destination point. I rode the line after that closure, and patronage was very light, indeed.

  by AgentSkelly
 
Amtrak didn't serve MCS? I could of sworn they did for a short time untill the current station was built...

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
I need not swear, Mr. Skelly, I will simply recall.

Shortly after it was inaugurated during October 1974, I rode the Empire State Express from Detroit Michigan Central Station, through the Detroit River Tunnel, accross Ontario on the Canada Southern, X-ing the Welland Canal, and on to Buffalo Central Terminal. This was the historic route of NYC trains such as the Wolverine and Detroiter.

Enjoy a repeat of that trip today!!

  by TomNelligan
 
Amtrak used Michigan Central Station for nearly 17 years, until January 1988. See this Wikipedia listing:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_Central_Station

  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Here is a photo site worthy of review:

http://www.ferestenphoto.com/trainsta.html

  by LStJ&StL
 
The last Amtrak train to use Michigan Central was #353, the midday departure to Chicago, on January 5, 1988. F40PH 270 did the honors that day, hauling a train comprised of an Amcafe, two Amcoaches and a couple of ex-Santa Fe heritage coaches. Later that same day Amtrak started using a trailer on the site of the old Michigan Central coach yard as its Detroit station, a situation that lasted until 1994 when a new station opened on Woodward near the Fisher Building, along the Grand Trunk right-of-way; Amtrak service was extended up to Pontiac on the GTW at the same time.

If Michigan Central had an Amtrak heyday, it would have been in the second half of the 1970s. Between 1974 and January 1979 there was direct service to New York across Ontario on the Canada Southern, along with three daily departures to Chicago and the "Michigan Executive" between Detroit and Jackson, a 403b operation that was ultimately cut back to Ann Arbor and finally discontinued in 1984. In the summer of 1980 my dad took me on an Ann Arbor-Detroit round trip, and the "Michigan Executive" that night featured brand-new Superliner coaches- likely the most luxurious local passenger train ever to operate in Michigan. The train shed had been removed over two tracks in 1979 to allow for the operation of ex-C&NW bi-level equipment on the Executive- something that never transpired.

The office tower at Michigan Central was used by its builder, the Michigan Central Railroad, as well as successors New York Central, Penn Central and Conrail. Conrail moved out in the mid-1980's, sealing the building's fate.

MCS opened in 1913 before it was even finished, the result of a fire at the original MC Station down along the Detroit River, not far from Fort Street Union; the top floor of the office tower was never even plastered. MC's waiting room is probably the grandest public space in Detroit, but the building is absolutely gutted- a far cry from the place where Henry Ford once greeted Thomas Edison and Herbert Hoover when they visited the Motor City.

  by LI Loco
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Here is a photo site worthy of review:

http://www.ferestenphoto.com/trainsta.html
Far cry from the place I boarded the Wolverine in 1960, coming home from my cousin's bar mitzvah. In its heyday, Michigan Central was a fitting partner for my destination station, Grand Central Terminal.

Side note: One of my fellow travelers that day was Frank Sinatra. "Old Blue Eyes" couldn't get a flight out because of a snow storm.

  by Engineer James
 
Well, I think Wikipedia is wrong, (NO offence), I know several people who were there when CR Closed it. Including my late grandfather... so maybe they did, i am just saying, to my knowledge, AMTK never operated out of MCS.

Not, to mention, my late granddad, worked mostly out of the Livernois Yard, but, again did pull the Admin cars after the ceremony, to Jackson. Then they went on from there.