June 14, 2013 – Well, today we celebrate another small step towards the beginning of commuter rail service between Detroit and Ann Arbor. SEMCOG and MDOT are unveiling a commuter train at the Mayor’s Green Fair on Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor on Friday, June 14 between 6-9 p.m. The renovated Metra double-decker train will be parked on the tracks at First and William Streets—two blocks west of Main Street. Visitors may board and experience both levels of the passenger cars and tour the cab on the upper level that is used by the engineer to operate the train.
This is the first-ever public display of this equipment, which has been leased by the Michigan Department of Transportation. The train cars are former Metra bi-level gallery cars that have been refurbished by the Great Lakes Central Railroad, based in Owosso, Michigan. The cars have American with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible lifts and bicycle storage areas.
These cars can serve the rail lines between Ann Arbor to Detroit or Ann Arbor to Howell (Wally). Additional information about the rail cars and proposed commuter rail services will be available at the train site and the Commuter Rail Booth at the Green Fair. No rides will be provided.
The special train exhibit is made possible thanks to the efforts of many who collaborated to make this happen, including MDOT, SEMCOG, Great Lakes Central Railroad, Ann Arbor Railroad, Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, and the City of Ann Arbor.
The 13th annual Green Fair on Main Street celebrates the community’s environmental efforts as exhibited by citizens, nonprofits, government, and businesses. Ann Arbor’s downtown Main Street is closed to regular automotive traffic, but will be open for walkers and displays of environmental information, “green” products, live music, and general enjoyment of the urban outdoor environment. So head over to Ann Arbor this evening if you get the chance.
We still have lots of hurdles to go over before we will be riding the train for commuter service, but let’s celebrate the day, reflect on the past, and get ready for the challenges that lay ahead as we continue moving forward.
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