MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION OF RAILROAD PASSENGERS
April 25, 2015
Members Present: Larry Krieg, Jim Wallington, John Langdon, Robert and Diane Patterson, Jeanie Merckel, Chuck Merckel, Don Monteith, Dan Platz, Charley Bonnell, Clark Charnetski, Barb Spaulding-Westcott, Don W. Westcott, Steve T. Sobel, Dennis & Pat Schumaker, Warren Williams, Julien Wolfe, Jim Hinkins, Dan Sommerville, Jim Roach, Ren Farley, Rosemary Horvath, Mark Campbell, Richard L. King Jr.
Guests: Art Cole, Liz Treutel, Pete Murdock,
Call to Order: Chairman Krieg called the meeting to order at 10 a.m.
Freighthouse host Pete Murdock welcomed MARP and gave a brief history of the building the city purchased in 1979 for an indoor farmers’ market. Friends of the Ypsilanti Freighthouse formed to restore the building and bring it up to code. The Ann Arbor-Detroit Commuter Rail will stop at the site but the building cannot be used as a station as supporters once hoped for. A farmers’ market is located outside the building rather than inside. One day it will be used as a community building.
March Minutes: John Langdon moved for approval with the correction of 23 commuter cars. Motion passed.
Langdon clarified 59 presentations to lawmakers were part of the Meet & Greet program paid from a Michigan Environmental Council grant awarded to MARP to promote Michigan By Rail, composed of several organizations advocating for passenger rail.
- Merckel noted a $40 transaction fee is paid to PayPal for memberships to be paid online.
Checking Opening balance: $16,310.58
Closing balance: $18,013.30
Langdon moved for approval of the treasurer’s report. Motion passed.
MEETING SCHEDULE – Don Westcott
May 16: Durand Union Station during Railroad Days. Retired history teacher Joe Mishler will talk about the Holly-Flint Railroad, which is one of the state’s earliest railroads. Mishler will give the talk at the Michigan Historical Conference in October.
June 20: Crossroads Village in Flint. We will meet there but the final agenda has not been settled. One idea is to meet in the Warehouse with a box lunch served to those that reserve or to meet on the paddle wheeler on Mott Lake if maintenance on the boat is completed in time. The boat would cruise along Mott Lake while we have our meeting and eat our box lunches. Crossroads Village will be open. There is a operating steam powered saw mill and cider mill, an operating water powered grist mill, turn of the 20th century amusement rides and historic buildings with interpreters. There is the historic 3 ft gauge steam powered railroad (the engine and many of the cars came from Colorado and were built in the late 19th century and the early 20th century) that gives a little over 8 mile round trip thru the 4500-acre Genesee Recreation Area. As an added attraction for MARP, the railroad restoration and maintenance facilities will be open for a guided tour. The shops are not usually open for public tours. I will be getting more details out as the plans come together.
July 25: Grand Rapids. The Amtrak Exhibit Train is expected.
August is open Sept. 5 is the annual MARP meeting in Durand.
October meeting is in Charlevoix
OUTREACH – Chuck Merckel
Langdon has plans for Amtrak Train Day. Chuck has other events on his schedule and asked for volunteers.
RAIL CONSTRUCTION UPDATES – Steve Sobel, MARP Michigan Passenger Photographer & Reporter
Steve presented a 15-minute “Newsreel” or summary of the progress along the Amtrak Wolverine route since late 2013. He included the two new intermodal stations: The Troy Transit Center which opened on October 14th, 2014, and Dearborn’s John D. Dingell Transit Center which opened on Dec.13th, 2014.
This was followed by photos of the M-1 rail construction along Woodward Avenue, concentrating from Grand Circus Park to Campus Martius.
He also showed a few pictures of the ongoing construction of the soon to be completed Junction Ave viaduct which will permit Amtrak trains to move much more smoothly and quickly between the West Grand Blvd (Detroit) and Dearborn stations. According to Amtrak, MDOT, this will save 5-10 minutes of travel time.
Steve briefly took us back to the Fall of 2013 where two track gangs provided by Norfolk Southern Railroad and supervised by Amtrak personnel was doing rail and tie replacement in the vicinity of the Ann Arbor Amtrak station.
He concluded by showing photos along the Michigan Avenue corridor where a 2nd track is being installed from the old Dearborn station to a point just East of downtown Ypsilanti. When completed in the Fall of 2015, it will act both as a long passing track for trains, both passenger and freight and will save a lot of lost time for Amtrak waiting for trains to pass each other.
The current Amtrak schedule has been changed to allow a 6 hour track work “window” so work can be performed without interruption. A supplement has been issued to the current Amtrak schedule. This covers a period from the present to October, 2015.
NARP “Day on the Hill” Report – Larry Krieg
Larry Krieg, John DeLora, Rich Vavra-Musser and Dwight Phillips, all on NARP Council of Delegates, visited offices of Michigan’s U.S. Senators and Representatives to convey support for passenger rail.
Special Report – Liz Treutel, policy associated, Michigan Environmental Council, outlined Proposal 1 on the May 5 ballot targeting roads and transportation. Treutel sought MARP support which generated discussion. Langdon noted MARP had indicated on its nonprofit certificate it would not take political stands. Treutel clarified 501 © (3) federal status allows for supporting issues but not monetary contributions. Langdon disagreed and moved for MARP not to take a stand on Prop 1. Voice vote. Majority supported. Discussion ensued. Langdon moved to extend meeting. Motion passed.
Historian Ren Farley circulated packets on Depot Town and Ypsilanti history. Don Monteith announced the Michigan Land Use Institute would announce a name change at the May 16 meeting. R. Patterson attended the MEC meeting.
Meeting adjourned 12:07 P.M.
MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION OF RAILROAD PASSENGERS
MONTHLY MEMBERSHIP MEETING
BOARD OF WATER & LIGHT (FORMER GTW DEPOT), EAST LANSING
JANUARY 10, 2015
Present: Steve Sobel, David Williams, Clayton Farmer, Clark Charnetski, Chuck Merckel,, Jeanie Merckel Kim J. Powell, Don Monteith, Don W. Westcott, Bob Johnston, Warren Fritz, Larry Krieg, Darryl Apps, Kay Chase, Hugh Gurney, Bob Lovell, Jim Roach, Michael Frezell, Robert Patterson, Diane Patterson, Bob Tischbein, Jim Hinkins, Larry Swartz, Nancy L. Swartz, Norma L. Ward, Barb Spaulding-Westcott, Charles Bonnell, Dave VanderBee, Richard Pekarek, John Burmen, Andrew Kent, JP Descamp, Dan Platz, Steve Vagnozzi, John Langdon, Jim Wallington
Chairman Larry Krieg opened the meeting with a safety briefing.
Individuals in attendance introduced themselves.
A MOTION by Dave Williams, seconded by John Langdon, was made to accept the Order of Business for the meeting as presented. MOTION PASSED.
A MOTION by John Langdon, seconded by Dave Williams, was made to accept the minutes as amended by Kay Chase for the November 18, meeting in Port Huron. MOTION PASSED.
Jeanie Merckel presented the budget for 2015. 2015 budget is established at $17,000.00, up from $15,420.00 in 2014. $2,700 dollars from the 2014 budget was carried forward in the 2015 budget. A MOTION by Hugh Gurney, seconded by John Langdon, was made to accept the 2015 budget as presented. MOTION PASSED.
Jeanie Merckel presented the Treasurer’s Report. Income for 2014 was $16,273.95 (budgeted $14,700) and expenses were $13,914.63 (budgeted $15,420.00). The Pratt Fund as of 10/23/14 was $17,141.24 ($48.91 per share) and on 11/30/14 it was up to $18,083.99 ($51.60 per share) for a gain of $942.75. A MOTION by Clark Charnetski, seconded by Warren Fritz, was made to accept the treasurer’s report as presented. MOTION PASSED.
OUTREACH REPORT: Chuck Merckel reported that he is looking for additional Amtrak literature to hand out at the scheduled shows this winter. Amtrak is out of many pieces of literature and it is uncertain when the new material will be ready. Chuck gave a report on the December 15, 2014 Dearborn Station Open House in conjunction with the dedication of the new station. MARP was the only organization present to hand out information on rail travel. The event was well-attended and the many people stopping by the MARP table kept the volunteers busy handing out the information. Those that participated were Robert Patterson, Steve Sobel, Robert Tobleck, Chuck and Jeanie Merckel. Chairman Krieg thanks those that worked the show and congratulated them on a job well done.
MEMBERSHIP: Reported by Kay Chase
MARP Membership Analysis CY2014
MEMBERSHIPS PAID in CY2014 281
COMPLIMENTARY 12 (includes 2 for Library of Michigan)
LIFE MEMBERS 22
TOTAL MEMBERSHIP 315 (this includes the 12 complimentary memberships)
Senior $15 152
Student $15 2
Regular $25 48
Family $30 29
Advocate $50 28
1st Class $100 13
LIFE $500 22
Gift & Comp 6
WHERE MEMBERS RESIDE
In-State MEMBERS BY REGION
Detroit Metro 150
Total Dues Collected $7,250.00
TOTAL MEMBERSHIP INCOME $8,060.00
COMMUNICATIONS: Reported by Kay Chase
Larry Sobczak, editor of The Michigan Passenger, is working on the Winter issue which should be out soon.
Treasurer Jeanie Merckel is looking into making Pay-Pal available to members for paying membership dues.
GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS: Reported by John Langdon
John indicated that meetings with legislators were being set up.
Clark Charnetski spoke to the possible need to change the organization of MARP from Regional Chapters to areas of different aspects of rail travel.
Steve Sobel spoke about the Dearborn Station and the possibility of current and future parking problems because of the limited amount that is allocated to station parking that doesn’t meet the current parking needs and the possible additional problem of people using this parking lot to access Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum by way of the new over pass at the station.
Steve also suggested that on the way out of town after lunch people might like to drive by the construction site of the new East Lansing station.
PROGRAM: Bob Johnston, writer for Trains Magazine
Bob delivered a power point informal presentation on several topics giving his views of where passenger travel is going. He talked about:
1. The possibility of the Talgo trains, which Wisconsin canceled the order for after they were built, coming to Michigan. Negotiations are ongoing with MDOT mostly about who would be responsible for maintaining the units and where a maintenance facility would be located. Most likely the units would be used to supplement the Wolverine Service.
2. A possible alternative route for Michigan trains between Porter, IN, and Chicago that would go slightly south of the existing route and come back to the Amtrak Michigan section at Porter. Rail right-of-way still exists but it would have to be completely rebuilt being that it is not currently being used.
3. Amtrak and the State of Indiana are still in negotiations over who will run the Hoosier State trains between Chicago and Indianapolis.
4. The Empire Builder is back on its original route. Bob showed pictures of the right-of-way at Devils Lake from a few years ago with the water lapping at the tracks and what it looks like today now that the tracks have been raised.
5. Amtrak and the State of New Mexico are talking about how Amtrak can service parts of New Mexico now that BNSF plans on abandoning the tracks that the Southwest Chief currently uses across New Mexico. The track is in poor condition and New Mexico, although they want Amtrak service to continue, do not want to have to invest in the necessary track improvements.
6. When asked, Bob did not think Amtrak would alter the route of either the Capitol Limited or Lake Shore to come through Michigan so that a connection to Toledo could be made from Southeast Michigan.
Meeting was adjourned at 12:30pm
Many members made their way to Clara’s Lansing Station to lunch together.
Respectfully submitted by: Accepted by:
Don W. Westcott, At-Large Executive Larry Krieg, Chair
MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION OF RAILROAD PASSENGERS
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE RETREAT
OFFICES OF SMITH GROUP JJR
201 DEPOT STREET, ANN ARBOR
DECEMBER 13, 2014
The Executive Committee met on December 13 for an all-day session to organize for the coming year. We enjoyed the hospitality of the planning consultants Smith Group JJR at 201 Depot Street in Ann Arbor, who made their facilities available to us for the day.
Voting Members present: Kay Chase, Warren Fritz, Larry Krieg, John Langdon, Jeanie Merckel, Don Monteith, Kathleen Newell, Robert Patterson, Jim Wallington (Quorum: 5)
Non-Voting Members present: Jim Hinkins (alternate for Patterson), Hugh Gurney, Chuck Merckel
Call to order. The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m. by Chair Larry Krieg.
Approval of Order of Business. The Order of Business was unanimously approved.
Approval of Minutes. Minutes of the Executive Committee October 4 conference call were not available.
Treasurer’s Report. The Treasurer’s November 2014 report was accepted as presented.
Future Meetings. The January 10, 2015 meeting will be held at the former GTW Depot in Lansing.
Action Items. Action was deferred until discussion was held under New Business
b. Bylaws Amendments
Officer Reports. There were no officer reports.
Old Business. There was no old business.
Treasurer Jeanie Merckel presented the draft budget for 2015, projecting income from dues ($7000), donations ($1000) and a grant from Michigan Environmental Council ($5000). A major expenditure is for the four issues of The Michigan Passenger provided to the membership and widely distributed through train stations and outreach events. MARP pays membership dues to the National Association of Railroad Passengers ($150), Midwest High Speed Rail Association ($200), Transportation Riders United ($100), and Transportation for Michigan ($150). An annual grant of $500 to Durand Union Station, Inc. supports a basic organizational purpose of MARP (preservation of historic train stations) and allows us use of the facility for the annual meeting. The Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) grant aids MARP in covering expenses associated with our participation in MEC (www.environmentalcouncil.org) and Transportation for Michigan (Trans4M.org) projects which this year will include a number of community meetings to promote the Coast-to-Coast rail project, as well as other activities associated with the Michigan By Rail campaign (mibyrail.wordpress.com). A contribution of $1000 from American By Rail will fund speakers for special events such as the annual meeting.
Discussion of reimbursement for expenses of such things as travel to the Toledo National Train Day will be discussed at a later date in conjunction with creating a set of guidelines or “best practices.
Langdon moved, Westcott seconded, to approve budget with expenditures of $16,750 and income of $14,300. The Treasurer projects carry over from the current budget year to bring budget into balance. Motion carried unanimously.
Merckel asked that a Finance Committee be formed to assist in budgeting and planning. Langdon moved, Newell seconded, to form a Finance Committee. Motion carried with 7 in favor, 1 opposed, 1 abstention. Jeanie Merckel will chair the committee. Langdon and Fritz were named to the committee.
Following discussion of the potential of using phone conferencing and/or online tools to conduct executive committee business, Steve Vagnozzi volunteered to investigate an internet-based meeting tool, as well as conference calling with 800-numbers.
b. Bylaws Revision
The bylaws committee, chaired by Hugh Gurney, has been working for several months to assess the need for, and suggest possible revisions to, the MARP bylaws. After considerable discussion, a number of changes were approved. When finalized, the document will be presented to a vote of the entire membership.
A key change would be to allow election of regional chapter officers by their regional chapter membership if more than ten members in that region so request. Other changes include: wording to allow use of electronic means to distribute MARP news publications, send notices and to conduct business; clarification of duties of officers; and assignment of authority for disbursement of funds.
It was moved and seconded that the bylaws changes presented today be approved with the exception of Article 12 concerning finances. Westcott moved, Langdon seconded, to amend the motion to exclude section 2.1 as well from approval of the bylaws revisions until the goals subcommittee has further discussion. Motion passed with 7 in favor. The original motion to accept the recommendations of the bylaws committee with exception of 2.1 and article 12 passed with 8 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstention.
Fritz, Vagnozzi, and Gurney will continue to work to resolve the questions with 2.1 and Article 12.
The Executive Committee proposed developing a set of “best practices” to guide its work in carrying out the various functions of the organization. Electronic communications and teleconferencing provide opportunities for policy discussions and decision-making, but it is unclear how best to incorporate these resources into our work.
There was not time to discuss the results of the questionnaire presented at the beginning of the meeting in which the committee was asked to rank a number of possible activities for the coming year. Responses were tallied and summarized by Carolyn Lusch, a student of urban design at U of M, who was engaged to take notes during the meeting. This summary is included on a separate document accompanying these meeting notes.
Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
Respectfully submitted: Accepted:
Kay Chase Larry Krieg
Transcribed from notes taken by Carolyn Lusch