Category Archives: Announcements

ATTENTION! MARP meets Oct. 21, 2017 in Grand Rapids

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017
10 a.m. – Noon
Grand Rapids Transportation Center
250 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids MI 49503

Map & Directions

MARP’s October 21 meeting will be in the Conference Room on the 2nd floor of the Grand Rapids Transportation Center, beginning at 10 a.m. Just to the south of the Transportation Center building and bus canopy is the new Vernon J. Ehlers Amtrak Station.

This meeting will be an opportunity to brainstorm ideas for MARP activities over the next twelve months. Among topics for possible discussion are: recruitment of new members, creative ideas for doing outreach, next steps for the Coast-to-Coast proposal to restore passenger train service connecting Detroit-Ann Arbor-Lansing-Grand Rapids-Holland, and addressing station staffing issues. Your ideas are important to moving forward in the coming year.

You might want to plan to catch The Silver Line, Michigan’s first bus rapid transit line, at the 54th St and Division station. Exit US-131 at 54th St. and go east a few blocks to Division. It appears there is parking on the NE corner of this intersection. The bus will take you to Rapid Central Station.

Following the meeting, we will enjoy lunch (no host) across the street at Founders Brewing, one of several venues that are part of the transformation of downtown Grand Rapids into a thriving destination spot.

Some Links to Help You Plan Your Visit

Experience Grand Rapids

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum

Grand Rapids Model Railroad Historical Society

Special speakers scheduled for regular member meeting on Sept. 23, 2017

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, September 23. 2017
9:30 a.m. – Noon
Durand Union Station
200 Railroad Street, Durand MI 48429

Map & Directions

MARP will hold a general membership meeting on Saturday, September 23 at Durand Union Station, 200 Railroad Street, Durand MI 48429.

NOTE the change in start time: the meeting will begin with socializing at 9:30 AM and run until Noon.

You won’t want to miss the speakers we have lined up. William Hamilton, senior analyst, Michigan House Fiscal Agency, will tell us about the history of funding for state supported trains and the very interesting “sausage-making” procedures of the May Budget Conference tasked with meshing House and Senate bills to finalize the annual state budget. From MDOT’s Office of Rail, Michael Frezell, Communications, and Al Johnson, Passenger & Operations Manager, will have updates on ongoing projects of the MDOT Office of Rail.

The 44th Annual Meeting, originally set for this date, has been tentatively rescheduled for November.

MARP meets Aug. 19 in Bangor

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, August, 19, 2017
10 a.m. – Noon
Odd Fellows Hall
235 W Monroe St, Bangor MI 49013

(On the 2nd floor above the Bangor Historical Society Museum)
Map & Directions

West Michigan is beautiful this summer! The blueberries are ripe, the sweet corn is ready and the Freestone Pickles may be curing in the barrels across the tracks from the Bangor train station.

We hope you are planning to “come on out” to enjoy the sights and smells – and while you’re at it, join fellow MARP members and friends in the interesting meeting planned for us.

Ron Pesch, author of “Big Wheels Turning: Greyhound in Michigan”, will treat us to the surprisingly interesting story of the 1914 Hupmobile that became a fleet of inter-city buses and the forgotten role played by West Michigan.

The Odd Fellows Hall is located in the historic Funk, Steinman & Ely Building, above the Bangor Historical Society Museum. Look for the building with the big green awning on the south side of Monroe Street (aka M-43) a few buildings west of the railroad tracks.

The Museum houses, among other things, a collection of Kalamazoo Toy Trains, which were manufactured in the Bangor train station during the years prior to restoration of passenger service in 1984. The museum is open 10AM to 4PM on Saturdays.

For the gardeners among you, a visit to the Liberty Hyde Bailey Museum might be in order before you leave Bangor. The museum is located in the childhood home of Liberty Hyde Bailey, considered the “father of horticulture”.  Saturday hours are 9AM to 4PM.

Or you might plan a whole weekend of activities including fun on the beaches at South Haven or Van Buren State Park and a visit to the Michigan Maritime Museum.

 

Midwest Rail Conference slated for Aug. 15-17, 2017 in Kalamazoo

Midwest Rail Conference
“Midwest Connections: Passenger and
Freight Rail Look to the Future”
Au
gust 15-17, 2017
W
MU Fetzer Center, Kalamazoo MI

 

In its fifth year, the Conference focus has been expanded to encompass the broader Midwest region. In addition, the 2017 conference will join forces with two other events by leading rail transportation organizations: the Summerail 2017 event organized annually by the Freight Rail Transportation Committee (AR040) of the Transportation Research Board; and the annual meeting of National University Rail Center (NURail), the first USDOT OST-R University Transportation Center dedicated to the advancement of North American rail transportation.

Events will kick off with the Student Scholarship Fundraiser Golf Outing at the Ridgeview Golf Course and Committee Meetings on Tuesday morning/afternoon, followed by the Opening Reception and live music with the Norfolk Southern Lawmen Band at the Bell’s Brewery “Backroom” in Kalamazoo.

Technical Sessions will take place all day Wednesday, August 16, at the WMU Fetzer Center. The luncheon Keynote Speaker will be Joseph McHugh, senior vice president and chief for Amtrak Government Affairs and Corporate Communication.

The opening plenary session is a panel on “Autonomous Vehicles and Their Impact on the Rail Industry”. Following that, three panelists will talk about “State DOT Rail Programs” in Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin. “High(er) Speed Rail” will be discussed from the perspectives of IL-DOT, an academic researcher, and a rail and transit consultant from Parsons Brinckerhoff. Other break-out sessions will discuss “Future of Freight”, “Urban Rail”, “Short Lines”, and “Inter-City Passenger Services”.

The conference will wrap up on Thursday with field trips featuring a visit to a Cargill facility in Decatur, a train ride to Battle Creek on the upgraded Wolverine Higher Speed Rail Corridor, topped off with a visit to the Little River Railroad in Coldwater.

CLICK HERE to view the Conference Program

REGULAR REGISTRATION begins July 1 at a rate of $250 per person.

Blocks of rooms at four Kalamazoo hotels will be held until July 24 for conference participants.

To register, view the complete 3-day Agenda, and learn about lodging Visit  rail.mtu.edu/event/mrc2017

Make Plans Now to Attend MARP Meeting at Chicago Union Station, Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers (MARP) is planning a special meeting for Saturday, May 13, 2017 at Chicago Union Station. The meeting will take place in the historic Barbershop that has been impressively restored as a meeting room. It is located adjacent to the new Legacy Lounge off the southwest corner of the Great Hall. To accommodate Wolverine passengers, the meeting will begin at 11:30 a.m. Informal socializing at 11 a.m.

We cordially invite our colleagues from All Aboard Wisconsin, Wisconsin Association of Railroad Passengers, Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance, Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association, All Aboard Ohio, Ohio Passenger Rail Association, and All Aboard Minnesota to join us. We will have time for brief updates (5-10 minutes) from your organizations on developments in your states.

Martin Bloedt, sales and product manager-locomotives, Siemens Industry Inc., will speak about next-generation passenger train equipment, including the SC-44 Charger locomotives currently being delivered for use on Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri routes.

Laura Kliewer, Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Commission (miprc.org), will update us on the FRA-led Midwest Regional Rail Planning Study (MidwestRailPlan.org) that has recently gotten underway. A 43-member stakeholder planning group has been named and has undergone the first of four workshops to be held throughout the 18-month study period.

We will have a guided tour of the Joseph C. Szabo Chicago Control Center that oversees nearly 510 train movements daily, carrying almost 130,00 people, in Chicago Union Station, on the Michigan Line and in New Orleans.

Some pleasant surprises are in store if you have not visited Chicago Union Station lately. Ticketing and queuing to board trains now takes place in the Great Hall. As you approach the Great Hall, you will envy the business and first class passengers seen on the other side of the large windows who are enjoying the comforts and amenities of the new Metropolitan Lounge. The former Ladies’ Lounge, a space unused for many years, has been beautifully and meticulously restored and is available to rent for large gatherings. Guided tours are available most weekday afternoons. The famous steps have been rebuilt with travertine from the same quarry as the original.  Among the stone masons who worked on the steps are descendants of some of the original workmen. We hope to have time to tour these reclaimed spaces and others slated for upgrades. In any case, you will have an opportunity to look around and be impressed.