Category Archives: Announcements

MARP meets Feb. 18, 2017 in Kalamazoo

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, February 18, 2017,
10:30 a.m. – Noon
First Methodist Church
212 South Park Street,
Kalamazoo MI 49007

Map & Directions

Make plans now to join us when railroad historian Mark Tomlonson takes us on a virtual train trip from Kalamazoo to New Orleans in 1916 – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

PLEASE NOTE that the meeting will start at 10:30 a.m. in order to accommodate those who ride the Blue Water train to Kalamazoo.

Meetings in Kalamazoo always offer the opportunity to take either the Wolverine or the Blue Water. To sweeten the pot, Amtrak is offering 20% Savings on Travel in Michigan. Transportation will be provided from the depot to the meeting venue.

Westbound #351 arrives Kalamazoo   9:34a     Eastbound #352 departs 4:08p

Westbound #365 arrives Kalamazoo 10:25a     Eastbound #364 departs 7:12p

Following the meeting, we will adjourn to the former rail freight house, now doing business as HopCat Kalamazoo. HopCat opened last fall after extensive and creative renovation. With a commitment to environmental sustainability, HopCat salutes not only Kalamazoo’s rail history, but also its place in the history of rock ‘n roll as the original home of Gibson Guitars. Check out the interesting menu which includes an intriguing item call Vladimir Poutine.

Please let us know if you will be arriving by train so we can arrange transportation from the depot to the church.

If you would like to carpool to the meeting, please reply to this email. We’ll try to match you up with others in your area.

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There is much to do in downtown Kalamazoo and nearby. If you’ve got the winter blues, you might consider making a weekend of it. Below are some ideas.

Discover Kalamazoo  

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is featuring “Master Works of Ceramics” from the permanent collection and “Sculpture by Sayaka Ganz” who transforms common discarded objects into echoes of luminescent sea creatures.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum is featuring Story Telling Quilts, Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” like never before, a solar eclipse simulation, and an exhibit of pop-up books.

Read about The Old Gibson Guitar Factory or the Kalamazoo Seven rail stations still extant as late as 1979 (at least 4 of them are still standing).

For those venturing outside downtown Kalamazoo, the County Expo Center is hosting Shipshewana On The RoadAlways of interest are the Gilmore Car Museum and the

Kalamazoo Air Zoo  

MARP meets Jan. 14, 2017 in Lansing

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, January 14, 2017
10 a.m.- Noon

REO Town Depot (the former GTW Depot)
1203 S. Washington Ave., Lansing MI 48910

Map & Directions

It is becoming somewhat of a tradition for MARP to have its first meeting of the New Year in Lansing’s former GTW station which has been reborn as the REO Town Depot. This classic Spier & Rohn-designed structure was built in 1902 for the Grand Trunk Western Railway, but has not seen service as a passenger station since 1971. The building has been painstakingly restored in conjunction with the development of the new Lansing Board of Water & Light co-generation plant with which it shares the 5.3 acre site in the area known as REO Town. The depot is listed on the State Register of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places.

 Tim Hoeffner, Director of MDOT’s Office of Rail, is our featured speaker. He update us on the progress made in 2016 on the Wolverine corridor upgrade as well as what to expect in 2017 for Michigan passenger trains.

Plan to arrive a bit early so you can look around the building. The BWL spent more than $2.8 million to restore it as a home for board meetings and employee training. From the terra cotta roof to the dark wood ceiling, period light fixtures, windows, and wainscoting, the restoration has been described as “stunning”.

Of particular interest is the eye-catching terra cotta roof. The tiles were 110 years old and needed to be replaced. The original manufacturer — Ludowici Roof Tile Co. of New Lexington, Ohio, a 120-year-old company with roots in Renaissance Rome and still in business — had the original plans for the depot and produced 14,600 new tiles to the original specifications.

Following the meeting, we will adjourn to a nearby eatery for our usual no host lunch. We always look forward to this opportunity to get better acquainted.

If you would like to carpool to the meeting, please reply to this email. We’ll try to match you up with others in your area.

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MARP meets Nov. 12 in Lapeer

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, November 12, 2016
Lapeer Amtrak Station
78 Howard Street, Lapeer MI 48446

 Map & Directions

Make your plans now to attend the November 12 MARP meeting at the Amtrak station in Lapeer. PLEASE NOTE that the meeting will begin promptly at 12 o’clock Noon and end no later than 2:30 pm.

Our speaker will be T.J. Gaffney. He will speak on passenger train history in the eastern Thumb area, particularly in the Lapeer area. Gaffney is the owner of Streamline Historic Services, and is a consultant and contract historian to the museum and preservation fields. He is the former Director of the Steam Railroading Institute and the past Curator of Collections of the Port Huron Museum. He has written several articles on rail, maritime and local history and is the author of two books. The most recent is Rails Around the Thumb, part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of Rail series. He lives in Port Huron with his wife, Heather, son Thomas, and daughter Phoebe.

If you would like grab a PRE-MEETING bite to eat and a chance to socialize with fellow members, we suggest stopping at Leo’s Coney Island 282 S Main St, Lapeer MI 48446. To allow plenty of time, plan to be there by 10:30am-10:45am. Leo’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  From I-69, go north on M-24/Lapeer Rd. which becomes Main St. You will see Leo’s on your left just north of Turrill Ave. From here, it is a 3-minute drive to the Amtrak station via Turrill Ave and S Court St.

If you would like to carpool to the meeting, please reply to this email. We’ll try to match you up with others in your area.

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Built by Grand Trunk Western, the Lapeer depot opened in 1906. Currently serving passengers on the Blue Water route, the depot received a complete historic restoration in 2004 led by the local transit agency which owns the depot. CLICK HERE for a photo of the station taken by MARP member Ren Farley.

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Regional transit topic of League of Women Voters Meeting

The League of Women Voters Dearborn-Dearborn Heights will present a forum on Regional Transit at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 13.  The meeting will be held at Christ Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall in Dearborn.  The church is located at 120 N. Military, at Cherry Hill.

Attendees will learn about the proposed Regional Transit Authority (RTA) millage proposal which will be on the November ballot, as well as how its passage could affect local residents and businesses.

Scheduled speakers are Megan Owens, Executive Director, Transportation Riders United; Barry Murray, Director of Economic and Community Development, Dearborn; and Lynette Ish-Green, Project Manager, Healthy Wayne.

The meeting is free and all are welcome.

For more information, please call (313) 278-6476 or email info@lwvddh.org.                                                                                                         

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What You Need to Know About Regional Transit:

A Community Forum Sponsored by the LWV Dearborn-Dearborn Heights

Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 7 p.m.

Christ Episcopal Church Fellowship Hall, 120 N. Military (at Cherry Hill)

Megan Owens, Executive Director, Transportation Riders United

Transportation Riders United (TRU) is a nonprofit group dedicated to improving transit in greater Detroit through education, engagement and advocacy.

Barry Murray, Director of Economic and Community Development, Dearborn

Lynette Ish-Green, Project Manager, Healthy Wayne

Healthy Wayne is a collaboration between Beaumont Health, the City of Wayne and Wayne-Westland Community Schools District, joining with residents and community leaders to create a roadmap to improve community health.

Come and join with your neighbors in learning more about the RTA Millage Proposal. This event is free and all are welcome.

For more information, please call 313.278.6476

League of Women Voters Dearborn-Dearborn Heights

                   Making Democracy Work                                           

www.lwvddh.org                  www.VOTE411.org

MARP meets Oct. 8, 2016 in Dowagiac

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Dowagiac City Hall
241 S Front St, Dowagiac MI 49047
Map & Directions

Make your plans now to attend the October 8, 2016 MARP meeting in Dowagiac. This venue offers the rare opportunity for many of you to arrive via train, whether you live along the Blue Water route or the Wolverine route. The meeting will begin at 11:00 am to accommodate the train schedule.

 Blue Water Train #365 arrives into Dowagiac at 10:50 AM and departs for the return trip at 6:43 PM.

 Wolverine Train #351 will make a special stop, arriving into Dowagiac at 9:45 AM. You will return home on Wolverine Train #358, departing at 7:21 PM.

For Wolverine riders, Amtrak’s online reservation system will automatically ticket you to and from Dowagiac on this Saturday at the usual fares for this segment. Please thank John Langdon for making these arrangements with Amtrak.

An alternative for Wolverine route folks, if “low bucket” tickets become unavailable, is to take #351 to Battle Creek and transfer to Blue Water #365 at Battle Creek.

Dowagiac City Hall is located immediately across the street from the station. Take a moment to look around the historic station to appreciate the work of the Dowagiac High School Choir members who yearly wash the 100+ panes of glass in the windows and polish the beautiful wood paneling. MARP member Ron Leatz organizes this volunteer effort.

Following MARP’s business meeting, we will adjourn to Zeke’s for our usual no-host lunch.

The Dowagiac Area History Museum will remain open for us until 3:00 PM to provide us an opportunity to learn about the products that made Dowagiac famous, as well as the entrepreneurs and personalities who had made this a surprisingly vital community.

After the museum visit, you will enjoy being part of the action as Dowagiac celebrates its annual Under The Harvest Moon Festival in the downtown area. Be sure to visit  Caruso’s Candy Kitchen & Soda Fountain, where the family has been serving up old-fashioned sodas, hand-dipped ice cream, and handmade chocolates since 1922.

Dowagiac is a small community rich in history. Dowagiac was platted in 1848 when the Michigan Central Railroad arrived. The current Dowagiac train station was built by the Michigan Central Railroad in 1902, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. Dowagiac is famous manufacturing the Round Oak Stoves that heated trains and stations all along the Michigan Central line. Sold worldwide, Round Oak Stoves eventually took up more than one million square feet of manufacturing space and employed more than 1,000 residents in a complex where Ameriwood turns out ready-to-assemble furniture today. Heddon Fishing Lures is another enterprise that put Dowagiac on the map and now attracts collectors and visitors to its museum. Dowagiac today enjoys a vital literary and arts scene. Among the numerous public sculptures to be seen on a walking tour of the downtown area are the three bronze Cheetahs on the Run that you see bounding alongside the track as the westbound train pulls into the station. The Dogwood Fine Arts Festival each May brings in nationally renowned authors and showcases home grown talent.