Dearborn train station construction finally reaching the end of the line

From the Dearborn Press & Guide:

The John D. Dingell Transit Center is ready to take on its first passengers on Dec. 10th. (Photo by Steve T. Sobel)
The John D. Dingell Transit Center is ready to take on its first passengers on Dec. 10, 2014. (Photo by Steve T. Sobel)

Amtrak passengers have to wait just a few more days before taking advantage of the new station’s amenities. It is scheduled to open Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014.

The first train will roll into the new station, 21201 Michigan Ave. at 6:51 a.m.

Amtrak is moving all of its operations from the current train station behind the Dearborn Police Station to the new 16,000-square-foot Dingell Transit Center.

City leaders say the transit center promotes intermodal transportation, connecting travelers via train, bus, taxi and pedestrian and bike paths to work, education, cultural attractions, shopping and recreation in Dearborn and beyond.

The station is an important component in initiatives to boost commuter rail from Ann Arbor to Detroit and accelerated speed rail from Pontiac to Chicago.

Six Amtrak trains will stop daily at Dingell Transit Center, with increased Amtrak service and the addition of commuter rail expected in the coming years.

Almost 80,000 passengers used the current Amtrak station during the 2014 fiscal year.

In fact, Dearborn is the most popular Amtrak location in the Detroit metropolitan area, according to Marc Magliari, spokesman for Amtrak.

He expects that number to grow.

“Dearborn is excited to be part of the future of rail. We will continue to work with our partners to increase convenient travel that starts in Dearborn and takes riders throughout southeast Michigan, as well as between Dearborn and Chicago,” said Mayor Jack O’Reilly.

“We’re anticipating bringing more customers to our Dearborn businesses and more visitors to our cultural and entertainment venues,” O’Reilly said. “And in the near future, people are going to find it very easy to get on a train in Dearborn and connect with the new M1-Rail in Detroit for an evening out or to go to a game.”

Magliari said Amtrak is planning to expand in the future, adding to the six lines already running from Dearborn.

Right now, he said the most popular trips from Michigan are to Chicago and sites in western Michigan.

The transit center was funded entirely with $28.2 million from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The city of Dearborn owns the station and the seven-acre site, while Amtrak will run the facility.

Residents hoping to get a look inside the new facility are welcome to attend an open house scheduled for Dec. 15.

The open house takes place from 4-6 p.m. at the transit center, which sits near Brady Street and marks the entrance to the west downtown business district.

During the open house, visitors can tour the station, see informative displays and talk with people knowledgeable about the future of train travel. A mural created by Dearborn students will also be featured.

Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) and his wife, Debbie are expected to be at the open house.

In addition, people attending the open house can enter a free drawing to win tickets to The Henry Ford’s popular Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village.

The Henry Ford has historic displays inside the center, including an iconic Davenport train engine.

The transit center also features a pedestrian bridge over the tracks that will allow travelers to access a new entrance to The Henry Ford complex, including the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, the IMAX Theater, and Ford Rouge Factory Tours.

About 1.6 million people a year visit The Henry Ford.

Ford Motor Company expects to showcase a new F-150 on site, as well.

The transit center has received a silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s

Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design. The building features a metal roof with solar collectors, energy efficient lighting and geothermal heating and cooling.