Minutes – June 16, 2007 – Durand

Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers

General Member Meeting

Saturday, June 16, 2007 10:00 am

Durand Union Station

Durand, Michigan

Attendees:Mike Whims, Michael Frezell, John DeLora, Clark Charnetski, Dave Randall, Dick Pekarek, John Langdon, Andrew Kent, Jim Hinkins, Burton TenBrink, Norma Ward, Steve Sobel, Don Monteith, Kay Chase, Robert Meisner, Bob Tischbein, Pat Post, Robert Patterson, Diane Patterson, Duke VanTil, Vi VanTil, Philip Chamberlain, Jared Becker, James Roach, Rich Vavar-Musser, Mike Bagwell and Chris Bagwell 

1.  Chairman Michael Whims called the meeting to order at 10:12am.

2.  Guest Speaker Mike Bagwell, President-Great Lakes Central Railroad, presented information on the proposed Ann Arbor to Howell commuter train and intercity passenger rail.  

3.  Minutes from the May 12, 2007 member meeting were approved after corrections were made. 

4. Executive Director Report:  Executive Director John DeLora reported the U.S. House Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee approved $1.4 billion for Amtrak.  Unfortunately, there are amendments being proposed to other bills that have a negative impact on passenger rail and to see the NARP website for details.  Phone calls and fax are the most effective when contacting legislators.  DeLora also reported the Michigan Railroad History conference will be held in November 2007.  There will be presentations on MARP and the history of Amtrak.  DeLora will be creating a Powerpoint presentation that could be used for other future MARP presentations.  DeLora is also tracking Amtrak Wolverine business class sell-outs since January 2007; averaging 2/3 of the time sold out.  MARP can use this data with MDOT and the legislature to argue for more capacity.  Sometimes passengers need to book 6-8 weeks in advance for business class.  This information could also build a case for business class on the Pere Marquette.  


5.  Treasurer’s Report: Treasurer David Randall reported the April 30, 2007 balance is   $5,239.86.  Dues received in May were $43.00, total expenses were $680.34, and the May 31, 2007 ending balance is $4,602.52.  The American Funds May 31, 2007 balance is $15,794.19. The treasurer’s report was accepted by unanimous vote. 


6.  Regional Activity Reports (Eastern, Metro, Northern and Western Regional)

a.  Eastern:  Richard Pekarek reported the Blue Water performance for the past five weeks followed the general pattern established since the first of the year.  Train #365 Chicago arrival time average 50 minutes late (23% OTP) and train #364 Flint arrival time averaged 40 minutes late (34% OTP).  Best performance the past five weeks was on the weekends (Sat/Sun).  Train #’s 365/364 together averaged 30 minutes late with 50% OTP.  Pekarek also reported East/Central region was represent by Jim Wallington at Michigan Day.

b.  Metro:  John DeLora reported that flowers were planted at Detroit station

c.  Northern:  Andrew Kent reported there was an excursion in Standish and left MARP newsletters.  The Standish depot grand opening is in October and work continues on restoring the station.  Don Monteith suggested MARP should come up with plan to bring passenger rail service to Petoskey and Traverse City because there is a lot interest in getting train service. 

d.  Western:  John Langdon reported that a passenger/day has missed the Pere Marquette because of the earlier departure due to CSX trackwork.  Langdon displayed a Michigan Intercity Passenger Rail System map at Michigan Day in Chicago and they also ran out of Travel Michigan brochures.  Langdon suggested getting more Convention and Visitor Bureaus involved with taking the train.  Finally, the platform in New Buffalo is still delayed and he spoke with Ross Capon (NARP) about the issue.  It may require legislation to get this accomplished.

7.  Committee Reports

a)      Outreach Committee: Vice Chair Frezell requested help for the Great Lakes Express convention.  He sent an update outreach schedule soliciting for volunteers.

b)      “Ride the Train Michigan” Committee (Patterson):  No report.

c)      Route Enhancement Committee (Gurney):  Hugh Gurney was not present and Pekarek requested more time for Gurney in Lapeer.  Whims has asked the committee to draft a long-range vision plan for MARP.  DeLora reported that he has used Wolverine ridership data to estimate passenger loads for an additional Pere Marquette train. At a minimum it could be 100 people a day per train, which equates to 6,000 people a month.

d)      Beautification Committee (DeLora): Report made in Executive Director Report.

8. Old Business

a)      Newsletter planning and distribution:  J.R. Valderas reported he has been busy and has not been able to work on the paper.  Valderas stated the regional chairmen handle newsletter distribution and members need to talk to them or the editor if members need a specific amount of papers.  There are about 300 – 330 newspapers per box.  The next newsletter will be done in two weeks. 

b)      NS Michigan Line-update:  Chairman Whims reported that nothing official has transpired on the sale/lease of NS Michigan assets.    

9.  New Business

a)      Nominations for Officer Positions 2007-2009:  Nomination committee chair Andrew Kent reported no new nominations.  The nominating process was then open to the floor. The following nominations from the floor were accepted by the nominees:

  • Jim Wallington for East/Central regional chair. 
  • Andrew Kent for Northern regional chair. 
  • Michael Whims for Metro Detroit regional chair. 
  • John Langdon for Western regional chair. 
  • Hugh Gurney for Secretary. 
  • Don Montieth for Vice Chair. 
  • John DeLora for Chair. 
  • Clark Chartnetski, Kay Chase, Steve Sobel, and Rich Vavar-Musser for At-Large Executive Committee members. 

Michael Whims was agreeable to accepting the Executive Director position and David Randall was agreeable to continue as Treasurer, if so appointed by the incoming Chair in accordance with the bylaws.  DeLora moved to have nominations closed.  All nominations were approved unanimously. 

b)   Howell Depot would be considered for a future meeting location. 

10.  General Member Discussion: 

Norma Ward reported that work is underway on the September annual meeting.  DeLora suggested a $20 registration fee and it was approved. 

Pat Post reported the NMRA Great Lakes Express convention will tour the Durand station in July 2007.


11.  Adjourned at 12:21pm.

Respectfully Submitted Michael Frezell, Vice Chairman.

APPROVED:   _____________________                ___________________

                          Mike Whims                                       John DeLora

                          Chairman                                            Executive Director


                        Michael Frezell

                        Vice Chairman