Crews are dillegently working on the Norfolk Southern tracks that the Amtrak Wolverine and Blue Water trains use between Dearborn and Kalamazoo and are expected to be finished by the second or third week of September 2011 according to an Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) official.
Over the past year, Norfolk Southern has deferred some maintenance to the track while it negotiates the sale of the railroad to the State of Michigan.
Poor track conditions have slowed train speeds during the past few months. Train speeds of 60 mph will be restored on this segment, in preparation for even higher speeds in years to follow.
“That’s why we had to step forward and stabalize the track regardless of whatever we have going on.” said Tim Hoeffner of MDOT’s rail office, referring to the negotiations.
MDOT and Norfolk Southern entered into a $4.2 million maintenance agreement in early August. The work to be done by Norfolk Southern includes replacing ties, smoothing the track, and improving grade crossings on the 135-mile section. Passengers on Wolverine Trains 350 and 353 are bussed between the Pontiac and Jackson stations as well as all stations in between. See this bulletin for more information.
MARP member Larry Krieg observed the track crews near Ypsilanti and shot and narrated this video of the work being performed: