Please plan to attend the May 21 MARP meeting at the Carnegie Library in downtown Jackson. MARP member Gerald Callison will be on hand to demonstrate the Google map that he has created of Michigan Amtrak routes. Also on the agenda will be an in-depth discussion of the work of the Route Enhancement Committee chaired by Hugh Gurney. The membership discussion will center around recent rail developments with an eye toward having input in the pending updates of Michigan’s 2040 State Long Range Transportation Plan and the Michigan State Rail Plan. See this month’s issue of ON TRACK for links to information on these state plans.
The April 16 MARP meeting will take place at the New Buffalo Township Library. We have invited colleagues from Indiana to join us. Steve Coxhead, President of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance, will have an update on the Hoosier State train now under private management. He will also have information about other projects the Indiana groups are working on. Fred Lanahan, who heads the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association, is unable to attend, but will send a report on the current status of the Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus corridor project which is a primary focus of the group. We will also have an update on the Indiana Gateway projects.
Many of you said you would like to take the train to New Buffalo. GOOD NEWS! John Langdon has succeeded in getting permission for Train #351 to make a stop in New Buffalo. You will have to buy a ticket on Train #351 to Chicago. You can book your return trip on Train #352 leaving New Buffalo at 3:09 pm. For best fares, buy your ticket NOW. If you are a Guest Rewards member, you can earn double points on this purchase. See the Double Points promotion showing on the Amtrak homepage.
Some of our guests may be arriving from the Chicago metro area on Train #350 at 9:37 am. So we have planned a “social hour” with coffee and pastries available at 10:30 am (eastern daylight time). If you are driving, please plan to take advantage of this opportunity for some extra “schoozing”. The business meeting will begin promptly at 11 am.
Lunch will be at the nearby Stray Dog Bar & Grill, just a short stroll from the train platform for those of you who will be catching the train to return home.
We look forward to seeing you in NBU!
ABOUT NEW BUFFALO
New Buffalo is a small beach community with a number of interesting shops and art galleries. The library is just a block and a half from the train and our lunch place is close by. If you want to make a weekend of it, you could visit the New Buffalo Railroad Museum which appears to be operating on a more professional level than in the recent past. The Four Winds Casino, which sends a shuttle to meet most trains, is one of the reasons for the huge jump in ridership at this station. On a nice spring day, the beach is an easy walk to and from the train. For lodging and attractions, visit www.newbuffalo.com.
MARP’s next general membership meeting will be held on Saturday, March 12, at Cleary’s Pubin Howell MI. Click on the link above for driving directions. You can park on the street or in the free lot located behind the pub.
Our featured speaker will be Michael Benham who is the Special Assistant for Strategic Planning at the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority. As such, he is responsible for guiding the planning for one of Michigan’s first commuter rail projects. The North-South Commuter Rail Project, otherwise known as the WALLY, is seen as a cost-effective alternative to ease traffic congestion along US-23 between Howell and Ann Arbor, as well as a spur to economic development and job creation opportunities in the region.
Mr. Benham will provide an update on the technical study currently underway. This detailed study is developing ridership and cost estimates, considering locations for stations and maintenance facilities, looking at governance and funding considerations, as well as reviewing possible alternatives, such as express bus service and high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on US-23.
We hope to be joined by members of The Friends of WALLY, a grassroots organization working to build support for the commuter rail project. Several MARP members are among those who are working to see this project become a reality.
Following the business meeting, we will continue conversations over our usual non-host lunch. Cleary’s Pub enjoys a reputation for excellent food!
If you are interested in ride-sharing to the meeting, please respond to this email. And – a gentle reminder – if you have not yet paid your 2016 membership dues, please click here NOW to pay online or click here to download a mail-in form.
Saturday, Jan, 16, 2016
10am – Noon
REO Town Depot (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 will give us an update on the progress made in 2015 on the Wolverine corridor upgrade as well as what to expect in 2016 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 its 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, please plan to socialize over lunch at Clara’s Lansing Station, another of Lansing’s historic railway stations, at 637 East Michigan.
If you would like to arrange car-sharing to the meeting, please reply to this email. We will put you in touch with others in your area.
Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers
REO Town, located just south of Downtown Lansing, is at the core of Lansing’s automotive history and is one of Lansing’s revitalized gems. The commercial corridor and three neighborhoods of Moore’s Park, Fabulous Acres and River Point make up Reo Town. These distinct neighbors surround the former R. E. Olds Motor plant which was the backbone of Capital region labor in the early 1900’s.
Please plan to join us in Mt. Pleasant as we explore the question “Passenger Trains on the Annie Again?” As you know, the folks in Traverse City have created a good deal of excitement around the idea of reviving passenger train service between Traverse City and Ann Arbor, a project they call A2TC.
We are fortunate to have as our speaker, Chris Bagwell, who will give his perspective as Executive Vice-President and General Manager of the Great Lakes Central Railroad (GLC) on potential for passenger services along the former “Annie“route. He will also update us on the status of the MITRAIN equipment that was refurbished by GLC for use on the proposed WALLY and Ann Arbor-Detroit commuter routes.
Also on the agenda is Erin Strang, President and CEO of the Central Michigan University Research Corporation, and our host for the meeting. She will lead a group discussion of ideas for instituting a local shuttle service in Mt. Pleasant.
Following the program and business meeting, we will gather at one of Mt. Pleasant’s former railroad depots for our usual no-host lunch.
Chris Bagwell is Executive Vice-President and General Manager Great Lakes Central Railroad (GLC). Chris is well known to MARP for his enthusiastic work retrofitting the MITRAIN cars and facilitating their display at events. Chris was honored in 2013 as a “Rising Star” by Progressive Railroading. You can read his profile here. Chris recently “starred” as well in a video talking about GLC operations in Michigan and promoting the proposed WALLY commuter train.
Erin Strang is
President and CEOof the Central Michigan University Research Corporation. CMU-RC is a non-profit business accelerator that provides guidance to entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to market. CMU-RC is designated a Michigan SmartZone — one of 15 technology-oriented centers across the state — established to offer tax incentives while supporting research development and commercialization of new technology to promote economic growth.