Opinion: Passenger rail travel’s future in Michigan

From The Windsor Star

Are the railroads part of our romantic past – or an important and growing  part of Michigan’s transportation future? The answer, it seems clear, is .  yes.

Former congressman Joe Schwarz, a lifelong railroad buff, is Gov. Rick  Snyder’s official and “highly unpaid” adviser on raiI.

Earlier this year, he worked successfully on a deal to improve a portion of  track on the route from Detroit to Chicago, so passenger trains can go faster.  “Once we get this done, we can cut the time it takes to get to Chicago by train  to about four hours,” he said. “That’s about the time it takes to get to (the  airport) get through security, fly, and get to downtown Chicago, with less  hassle and cheaper.”

That seems likely to appeal to a lot of people who put up with security  checks, or long backups on I-94 to get there. Even now, 600,000 people a year  travel from Detroit to Chicago by train, and a faster trip seems certain to  attract more.

There are plenty of Americans who have romantic ideas about train travel, or  who have experienced speedy and quiet bullet trains in Japan or fast and  comfortable passenger trains in Europe.

So are we on the eve of a huge renaissance in passenger train travel?  Unfortunately for railroad buffs . probably not.

Read more: http://www.windsorstar.com/Passenger+rail+travel+future+Michigan/5326115/story.html#ixzz1WiwkTGX0