This project implements one of the key recommendations from SEMCOG's Improving Transit in Southeast Michigan: A Framework for Action (PDF 16.25 MB) plan. The project will provide commuter rail service between Ann Arbor and Detroit which is a segment of the Pontiac-Detroit-Chicago Amtrak corridor. As a result much of the existing infrastructure is in place and will be used whenever possible. Moreover, the recent announcement of over a half billion dollars in Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) High Speed Rail (HSR) funds is good news for both the Amtrak trains and the Ann Arbor-Detroit Commuter service as many of the necessary improvements will benefit both. SEMCOG and MDOT are working closely with FRA and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to ensure that the capital improvements for both commuter and Amtrak service are coordinated.
The project began as the Ann Arbor to Detroit Rapid Transit Study Alternatives Analysis. Upon completion of the Alternatives Analysis FTA officials indicated that given the study results, the region should consider suspending the formal federal process on a preferred alternative and initiate a locally funded project to demonstrate that costs and ridership would be in a range to better qualify the project in the federal New or Small Starts program. The federal process can be continued at a later date.
Since that time much progress has been made toward implementation of service. This includes the identification and agreement with host railroads on key track improvements, refurbishment of passenger cars, work toward acquiring the necessary locomotives, preliminary design of stations and layover facilities, and coordination with Amtrak. One major capital improvement, the West Detroit connecting track, is expected to be under construction this spring. The next step toward commuter service is to conduct a capacity analysis that considers both HSR and the Ann Arbor to Detroit services. This will identify remaining capital improvements so that environmental work can proceed and corridor improvements implemented.
In the meantime, the project team is working with Amtrak to identify events to provide special trains to and from using the completed passenger cars.
For more information on the Ann Arbor-Detroit Regional Rail Project, review the regular updates below and/or contact the SEMCOG Information Center at 313-324-3330.
ProjectSpecifics The current project is to provide commuter rail service in the Detroit-Ann Arbor corridor with stops in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Dearborn, and Detroit. The project takes advantage of existing infrastructure where possible and requires adding new station stops in Ypsilanti and at Detroit Metro Airport.
The project is being managed by SEMCOG along with partners that include representatives of all communities in the corridor, Wayne and Washtenaw County officials, state and federal representatives, the Michigan Department of Transportation, the local transit operators (AATA, DDOT, and SMART), Amtrak, representatives of Norfolk Southern (NS) and Canadian National (CN) Railroads, and members of the business community.
Currently, the freight railroads are analyzing capacity on the proposed passenger rail line and will be providing an estimate of the capital costs that will be needed to allow passenger and freight trains to safely co-exist with reliable service in the same corridor. Other activities currently underway include identifying equipment costs, developing ridership estimates, building potential service schedules, and exploring funding options. To learn more about the project, please view the project updates.
Please call or e-mail Carmine Palombo at (313) 961-4266 with comments or questions.