State will test more high-speed rails

Capital News Service
LANSING—Part of the Michigan passenger rail service goes 110 miles an hour, but not all of it. Next year the state will test additional tracks to support that speed along the Amtrak route between Detroit and Chicago. “We have three Amtrak trains that run from Michigan to Chicago and the rider shift numbers are continuing to go up,” Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), said. “And we are improving the rail line. So 110 is our goal to enhance the speed and cut down the time between Detroit and Chicago.

Once down, trains and cars prove their staying power

Capital News Service
LANSING – These have been hard times for train travel and the auto industry in Michigan, but there are signs of recovery. Statewide ridership on Michigan’s three Amtrak routes – the Wolverine, Blue Water and Pere Marquette – hit 797,017 in 2011 and 782,286 in 2012, according to Michigan Department of Transportation statistics, up by more than 100,000 since 2009. And work has started on track improvement projects that will enable passenger trains to travel as fast as 100 mph in mid-Michigan and eventually cut travel time between Chicago and Detroit/Pontiac from about 6½ to 4½ hours, officials said. In a bid to lure more passengers, Amtrak has started to allow a limited number of bicycles aboard its Blue Water line running between Port Huron and Chicago, with stops in East Lansing, Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. The railroad also announced plans to add cellular-connected Wi-Fi next year.