Category Archives: FYI

Amtrak is offering 20 percent off fares for the Blue Water, Pere Marquette and Wolverine trains

Don’t sit in your house and wait for warm weather. See the fun activities Michigan has to offer this winter by planning a Pure Michigan Snow Day and taking advantage of the hot savings Amtrak is offering on their Michigan trains! From now until March 31, Amtrak is offering 20 percent off fare for the Blue Water, Pere Marquette and Wolverine trains. Below are just a few of the special prices available (adult fares, each way, as low as):

Chicago to Detroit $28.00
Chicago to Grand Rapids $24.80
Chicago to Port Huron $24.80

             To receive discounts, apply Amtrak fare code V441 for Michigan trains. The fare code must be used to take advantage of these low fares. Tickets are non-refundable and some blackout dates apply. See the Deals tab on Amtrak.com for other applicable restrictions, including advance reservation and purchase requirements for discounts through March 31. Terms and conditions vary.

Once you have your ticket, here is a sampling of special events occurring now until the end of March:

Amtrak Route

Event

City

Dates

Wolverine

North American International Auto Show

Detroit

Jan. 11-24

Blue Water/

Wolverine

Kalamazoo Beer Week

Kalamazoo

Jan. 16-23

Wolverine

Avondale Train Show

Auburn Hills

Jan. 17

Blue Water

Port Huron Chilly Fest

Port Huron

Jan. 22-23

Pere Marquette

Annual Chili Tour

St. Joseph

Jan. 29

Blue Water

Art & Craft Beer Fest

Lansing

Jan. 29-30

Pere Marquette

St. Joe Winter Beer Fest

St. Joseph

Jan. 30

Wolverine

Winter Fun Fest

Ann Arbor

Jan. 30 – Feb. 20

Blue Water/

Wolverine

Coopers Glen Music Festival

Kalamazoo

Feb. 5-6

Pere Marquette

Magical Ice Fest

St. Joseph

Feb. 5-7

Wolverine

Paczki Day

Hamtramck

Feb. 9

Wolverine

Meridian Winter Blast

Detroit

Feb. 12-14

Wolverine

Ann Arbor Train Show & Sale

Saline

Feb. 13-14

Pere Marquette

Beer Week

Grand Rapids

Feb. 17-28

Blue Water/

Wolverine

Pub & Grub Fest

Battle Creek

Feb. 20

Pere Marquette

Winterfest

Grand Rapids

Feb. 25

Wolverine

Autorama

Detroit

Feb. 26-28

Pere Marquette

LaughFest

Grand Rapids

Mar. 10-20

Wolverine

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Detroit

Mar. 13

Beyond the special events, the following list is an excerpt of family-friendly attractions that will keep visitors warm indoors. These attractions are open year-round:

Amtrak Route

Attraction

City

Blue Water/

Wolverine

Air Zoo

Kalamazoo

Wolverine

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Ann Arbor

Blue Water

Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland

Frankenmuth

Wolverine

Detroit Institute of Arts

Detroit

Blue Water

Durand Union Station/Michigan Railroad History Museum

Durand

Pere Marquette

Federick Meijer Garden & Sculpture Park

Grand Rapids

Blue Water

Flint Institute of Arts

Flint

Pere Marquette

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

Grand Rapids

Blue Water/

Wolverine

Gilmore Car Museum

Kalamazoo

(Hickory Corners)

Pere Marquette

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

Grand Rapids

Pere Marquette

Holland Museum

Holland

Wolverine

The Henry Ford

Dearborn

Blue Water/

Wolverine

Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Kalamazoo

Blue Water

Michigan Historical Center

Lansing

Wolverine

Michigan Science Center

Detroit

Blue Water

Michigan State University Museum

East Lansing

Blue Water

Port Huron museums

Port Huron

Blue Water

Sloan*Longway

Flint

Wolverine

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

Ann Arbor

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) does not endorse the events and attractions listed above as they just offer a snapshot of what visitors and residents can do along the Amtrak routes. For more information on other events, attractions, dining, lodging and connecting transportation to the trains, visit the following travel and visitor bureau websites:

Pure Michigan

Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

Dearborn Visitor and Welcome Center

Discover the Blue

Discover Kalamazoo

Experience Grand Rapids

Flint and Genesee Chamber of Commerce

Frankenmuth Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Four Flags Area Council on Tourism

Greater Lansing Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Holland

Lapeer Chamber of Commerce

New Buffalo Travel and Visitor’s Guide

Saugatuck/Douglas

St. Joseph Today

Shiawassee County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

Visit Ann Arbor

Visit Detroit

Visit Grand Haven

West Michigan Tourism Association

Ypsilanti Convention and Visitor’s Bureau

 

Amtrak conductor talks to passenger on the Blue Water

A conductor talks to passengers aboard the Amtrak Blue Water.

More information at: http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MIDOT/bulletins/12f7aed

Amtrak adds 10 extra trains to handle Thanksgiving travel in Michigan

Amtrak will operate 10 extra trains in Michigan for the 2015 Thanksgiving holiday in addition to its regularly scheduled service.

On Nov. 25 and 29, an extra eastbound morning train will depart Chicago bound for Grand Rapids and an extra westbound evening train will depart Grand Rapids bound for Chicago.

On Nov. 25, 28 and 29, an extra eastbound morning train will depart Chicago bound for Ann Arbor and an extra westbound evening train will depart Ann Arbor for Chicago.

Click on the timetable below for more details.

Amtrak plans on utilizing every available piece of equipment to handle one of their busiest travel weeks of the year.

Amtrak recommends that passengers book their trip early in order to best match desired travel times and days.

CLICK ON THE SCHEDULE TO ENLARGE
CLICK ON THE SCHEDULE TO ENLARGE

First day of service for Amtrak’s experimental platform in Ann Arbor

Amtrak and RLE International (an engineering firm) worked with the Michigan Department of Transportation to develop an innovative system for getting people easily onto trains. People needing wheels for their mobility have been a special concern, given that many trains’ floors are several feet above the level of the platform at most stations around the USA. With this system, gentle slopes lead up to a platform at the same height as the floor of train coaches. To allow freight trains to pass the platform safely, however, it must be a couple of feet from the train. This system bridges the gap with a sliding platform that can be remotely controlled by Amtrak iPhones, or deployed manually.

The first, experimental installation was built at the Ann Arbor, Michigan, Amtrak station. Dedicated on July 23, 2015 – the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act – the platform was not put into regular service until September 23, when it was used for train 353, Wolverine service Detroit/Pontiac to Chicago. The first full day of use, September 24, bagan with the station-stop shown in this video by train 351, also to Chicago.

Priority Boarding Available at Chicago Union Station in the Legacy Club

Priority boarding is now available at Chicago Union Station for an introductory price of $20, offering access to Amtrak trains ahead of general boarding.

The priority boarding fee includes access to the Legacy Club located in the southwest corner of the Great Hall where coach passengers, commuters and others can enjoy a quiet, comfortable atmosphere to wait for trains or unwind after traveling. The Legacy Club features include:

  • Priority boarding for all Amtrak trains
  • Comfortable, quiet lounge seating
  • Complimentary refreshments
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi and charging stations
  • Train status displays
  • Satellite TV

The Legacy Club is open daily from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Daily access passes are available for $20..

For more information, speak with a uniformed Amtrak employee at Chicago Union Station or stop by the Amtrak kiosk in the Great Hall.

Sleeping car passengers, Business class and Amtrak Guest Rewards Plus and Select Executive members will continue to have complimentary access to the Metropolitan Lounge in the Concourse level of the station.

Reservations and information are available at Amtrak.com, our free mobile apps and at
1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

Operation Lifesaver awarded grant to boost rail safety education and awareness

qi9kIxKKThe state is getting a new grant to boost rail safety education. Michigan Operation Lifesaver has been awarded $8,400 from Operation Lifesaver, Inc., in partnership with the Federal Railroad Administration.

It is part of the nonprofit safety group’s ongoing “See Tracks? Think Train!” public awareness campaign.

The money will be used to boost awareness on billboards, movie theater advertising and displays for public events.

Federal statistics show that about every three hours, a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the United States.

Michigan ranks 10th nationally for crossing collisions train incidents, with 13 deaths from 79 crashes in 2014 according to Sam Crowl, State Coordinator for Michigan Operation Lifesaver.