Contact: Janet Foran, MDOT Office of Communications, 517-335-7176, Agency: Transportation
WHAT: Save the date! The public is invited to celebrate 25 years of the Pere Marquette, Amtrak service between Grand Rapids and Chicago, with stops in Holland, Bangor and St. Joseph/Benton Harbor. Westrain Collaborative and Amtrak will promote the Silver Anniversary event with a Superliner train, including a double-decker lounge car and three coaches; an opportunity to win free round-trip tickets at each stop; and commemorative gift bags and refreshments. The event is sponsored by Westrain Collaborative, Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), which provides state support for the route.
Approximately one-half hour prior to regularly scheduled train departure, Silver Anniversary ceremonies at each city are slated to include local mayors and other city leaders, federal and state legislators, as well as MDOT and Amtrak officials.
To commemorate the occasion, tickets will be discounted 25 percent from Aug. 3-7 for all stops on the Pere Marquette route. Go to Amtrak.com for ticket details.
WHO: Kirk T. Steudle, director, MDOT
George Heartwell, mayor, Grand Rapids
Al McGeehan, mayor, Holland
Mike Selden, city manager, Bangor
Bob Judd, mayor, St. Joseph
U.S. Rep. Vern Ehlers
State Sen. Ron Jelinek
State, county and local officials
Amtrak, business and community representatives
WHEN: Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009
Grand Rapids: 7:00 a.m. event (7:35 a.m. departure)
Holland: 7:50 a.m. event (8:21 a.m. departure)
Bangor: 8:30 a.m. event (9:02 a.m. departure)
St. Joseph/Benton Harbor: 9:10 a.m. event (9:39 a.m. departure)
WHERE: Grand Rapids Amtrak Station, 431 Wealthy St., SW
Holland Amtrak Station, 171 Lincoln Ave.
Bangor Amtrak Station, 541 Railroad St.
St. Joseph/Benton Harbor Amtrak Station, 410 1/2 Vine St., St. Joseph
BACKGROUND: The Pere Marquette serves Grand Rapids, Holland, Bangor, and St. Joseph/Benton Harbor with daily passenger service to and from Chicago. This is one of two state-supported routes. Michigan is among 15 states that pay Amtrak for service, including the Midwestern states of Illinois, Missouri and Wisconsin.
Last year, Amtrak ridership hit all-time highs when gas prices jumped to $4 a gallon. From 2002 to 2008, Amtrak ridership in Michigan has grown by 60 percent. Pere Marquette service has grown every year since 2001. However, it is trailing behind last year’s record-breaking totals due to the economy.
Westrain Collaborative’s membership includes the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council, Grand Valley Metro Council, the city of Bangor, and Cornerstone Alliance, and is supported by the Michigan Association of Rail Passengers.
MDOT: Working with our partners at airports, bus systems, marine and rail to find innovative solutions for Michigan’s transportation systems.