• 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

  by RandallW
 
Except you are completely ignoring the fact that Ann Arbor has twice the daily boardings that Detroit has, and that Ann Arbor is the third most popular destination from Detroit (and from Pontiac), suggesting that those passengers to Ann Arbor from points east of Ann Arbor are using seats that would otherwise be empty east of Ann Arbor. Are you suggesting that running a train with empty seats for 1/5 of its route is better than running a train with occupied seats over that portion?

It's 38 miles from Detroit to Ann Arbor by rail and 61 miles from Pontiac to Ann Arbor by rail (and 43 miles by car, so I don't know where the complaint about 20 mile trips comes from other than a complete disregard for numbers or facts).
  by Tadman
 
This is Amtrak. It is a corridor and national intercity passenger train. It makes no sense to be running a passenger train that blocks all the passenger space for Chicago-Detroit passengers with intrasuburb Detroit passengers. That's what something like Metra or Septa is for. It's also idiotic that someone would wait hours and hours to catch a train across metro Detroit when they could drive the same trip (or bus, taxi, etc...) four times over while waiting for a train. Full stop.

Also what the numbers arent telling you, and what I've experienced, is when Dingleberry A reserves a trip (and honesly who the F reserves a trip from Pontiac to Ann Arbor????) across metro Detroit, a business traveler like me cannot reserve to Chicago, thus negating the ability to earn the passenger miles while still running the seat miles at cost.

If the goal is to move people around metro Detroit, they are welcome to start a commuter train or buy more busses. The rest of the Michigan taxpayers and federal taxpayers are not funding the Wolverine to allow a bunch of suburbanites to joyride around Detroit.
  by RandallW
 
Detroit averages 51 passengers per train (to any destination) in the latest numbers I can find, or fills less than 1 Horizon coach, or for that matter less than 1 Greyhound bus. I suppose under you logic, Amtrak should just rent and old RDC and run it on the Wolverine, and bypass Ann Arbor, a city whose average passenger numbers are 116 people per train (I suppose the other 2-3 coaches carried by the Wolverine should just be empty as they won't magically fill just by bypassing Ann Arbor).

I seriously doubt that the 242 passengers per train out of Chicago not traveling to Detroit (an average of 293 passengers travel from Chicago on the Wolverine) on the Wolverine are going to magically going to turn into passengers wanting to go to Detroit.

If I assume that by "suburban Detroit" you mean Ann Arbor, Dearborn, Royal Oak, Troy, Pontiac, those stations account for an average of 220 passengers per train, which suggests most of suburban Detroit would rather go direct to Chicago than to Detroit itself.

You really need to pay attention to numbers in making these arguments, because the numbers say suburban Detroit provides more passengers to Chicago than Detroit proper, and if Michigan really wants to promote train travel, but needs to remove a stop to make time, skipping Detroit is far better for the Wolverine than skipping Ann Arbor, and that excluding suburban Detroit stations would radically increase the subsidy per passenger for this train than already exists.
  by Tadman
 
RandallW wrote: Mon Jun 17, 2024 5:41 pmbecause the numbers say suburban Detroit provides more passengers to Chicago than Detroit proper, and if Michigan really wants to promote train travel, but needs to remove a stop to make time, skipping Detroit is far better for the Wolverine than skipping Ann Arbor, and that excluding suburban Detroit stations would radically increase the subsidy per passenger for this train than already exists.
We could say this for literally any large city in America. Let's try this:

"suburban Denver provides more passengers to Chicago than Denver proper"
"suburban Cleveland provides more passengers to Chicago than Cleveland proper"
"suburban Kansas City provides more passengers to Chicago than Kansas City proper"

It is not Amtrak's job to meander indirectly around the suburbs collecting passengers so they don't have to go dowtown. Otherwise the Silver Star needs to start originating at Short Hills, backtrack into Penn, then go to Miami. Or the Chief could start in Elgin, backtrack into Chicago, then off to Los Angeles. After all there are probably more west suburban Chief riders than Chicago proper.

See that all sounds kind of nuts. Which is why we have "central station" or "union station". It's a central location served by multiple carriers, routes, and modes. You come in, you hop on another train, you get to your destination.

We're also blindly following the numbers without examinig underlying causes. Of course there are lots of suburban passengers. Detroit has an awful station, staffed by awful employees, in what was once an awful part of town. If Amtrak would open a clean new station readily accessible to the freeway so that passengers from all points of suburban Detroit can access the station, they would probably see a big leap in passenger numbers. You'd see additional boardings from other suburbs as well such as downriver, upriver, etc...

As a kid my parents always boarded the South Shore in Dune Park or Michigan City. We lived in South Bend. Did that mean nobody in South Bend wanted to ride the train? No, it meant the South Bend station sucked, the neighborhood around it was bad, and service was infrequent.
  by RandallW
 
Historically most stations that we would now consider "central" that served existing cities or towns were built on the edge of those towns and the places they served grew up around them; in other places the town or city was built around an existing station. It was exceedingly rare for a railroad to build into a city unless the city itself paid for that. The same is true of "Union" stations -- they were either built because some railroad didn't want to build its own station, or because a city paid to move the railroads into that station.

The Detroit MSA is about 4.3 million people, while Detroit proper is only about 1.7 million and Pontiac is 1.2 milliton and Ann Arbor is too far from Detroit to be considered part of the MSA, so it's not "the suburbs" of Detroit.

Ann Arbor gets twice the business Detroit gets -- to pick on your Silver Star example that would be like requiring the Silver Star not serve Wilmington DE despite having no option but to pass through that stations because it's close to Philadelphia.

Suggesting that cities served by the Wolverine, which on their own generate a lot of traffic to Chicago (Kalamazoo generates almost as much traffic to Chicago as Detroit does), should be skipped is making the suggestion that travel should be made more inconvenient for the majority of Wolverine passengers on the off chance that some of those people will still consider the Wolverine to be convenient. We all know that making it more inconvenient to use a particular service ensures that service isn't used.
  by bostontrainguy
 
Throwing in a suggestion that I made long ago. Run the Lake Shore Limited through Canada between Buffalo (Niagara Falls) and Detroit. I would think a direct NYC-Detroit train would be very successful. Great excuse for using this station.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Another favorable architectural review - and from a source from which you might not expect such:

Wall Street Journal

Fair Use:
The newly restored building is a Roman-inspired testament to the Motor City’s endurance and a catalyst for its rebirth.
  by StLouSteve
 
>>>
Throwing in a suggestion that I made long ago. Run the Lake Shore Limited through Canada between Buffalo (Niagara Falls) and Detroit. I would think a direct NYC-Detroit train would be very successful. Great excuse for using this station.
>>>

Better yet, as was seriously proposed a few years ago, split the two Lake Shores (Boston & New York) into separate trains (saving the hour of switching at Albany) and run one via Detroit/Canada and the other via Cleveland/Toledo. Would improve timekeeping, open up some city pairs to direct service and offer more service along the route. (Just need to wait for more equipment--but with the Venture coaches now in service in the midwest, aren't there surplus Amcoaches?)
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
StLouSteve wrote: Thu Jul 18, 2024 6:47 am Better yet, as was seriously proposed a few years ago, split the two Lake Shores (Boston & New York) into separate trains (saving the hour of switching at Albany) and run one via Detroit/Canada and the other via Cleveland/Toledo. Would improve timekeeping, open up some city pairs to direct service and offer more service along the route. (Just need to wait for more equipment--but with the Venture coaches now in service in the midwest, aren't there surplus Amcoaches?)
So, bring back The Wolverine adding LD train miles in the process, as well as making Michigan Central into Michigan Central Station again?

With likely a new Administration next January, any of this FRA nonsense will cease; the coloring books produced from such will be in the dumpsters (don't think any will find their way down to Mar-a-Lago - they're unclassified).

So far as surplus railcars go, they seem to be having a second life with a "rumble in the jungle" South of the Border.

But to close on topic, it is disturbing to learn that Ford Motor is using only three floors of the structure. With the diminishing interest in EV's, and the apparent little use a new Administration likely has for them, who is going to fill up the open ten floors?

With GM vacating Renaissance Center, I fear an office glut for Detroit; here's hoping the structure does not fall into disrepair.
  by Tadman
 
Rumor mill has it that Renaissance Center is coming down at least in part. It would be funny if the original GM HQ outlasts the current one. Heck they should've asked the state to rent out some space in the Cadillac Place building!
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