Category Archives: Announcements

MARP meets Oct. 8, 2016 in Dowagiac

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Dowagiac City Hall
241 S Front St, Dowagiac MI 49047
Map & Directions

Make your plans now to attend the October 8, 2016 MARP meeting in Dowagiac. This venue offers the rare opportunity for many of you to arrive via train, whether you live along the Blue Water route or the Wolverine route. The meeting will begin at 11:00 am to accommodate the train schedule.

 Blue Water Train #365 arrives into Dowagiac at 10:50 AM and departs for the return trip at 6:43 PM.

 Wolverine Train #351 will make a special stop, arriving into Dowagiac at 9:45 AM. You will return home on Wolverine Train #358, departing at 7:21 PM.

For Wolverine riders, Amtrak’s online reservation system will automatically ticket you to and from Dowagiac on this Saturday at the usual fares for this segment. Please thank John Langdon for making these arrangements with Amtrak.

An alternative for Wolverine route folks, if “low bucket” tickets become unavailable, is to take #351 to Battle Creek and transfer to Blue Water #365 at Battle Creek.

Dowagiac City Hall is located immediately across the street from the station. Take a moment to look around the historic station to appreciate the work of the Dowagiac High School Choir members who yearly wash the 100+ panes of glass in the windows and polish the beautiful wood paneling. MARP member Ron Leatz organizes this volunteer effort.

Following MARP’s business meeting, we will adjourn to Zeke’s for our usual no-host lunch.

The Dowagiac Area History Museum will remain open for us until 3:00 PM to provide us an opportunity to learn about the products that made Dowagiac famous, as well as the entrepreneurs and personalities who had made this a surprisingly vital community.

After the museum visit, you will enjoy being part of the action as Dowagiac celebrates its annual Under The Harvest Moon Festival in the downtown area. Be sure to visit  Caruso’s Candy Kitchen & Soda Fountain, where the family has been serving up old-fashioned sodas, hand-dipped ice cream, and handmade chocolates since 1922.

Dowagiac is a small community rich in history. Dowagiac was platted in 1848 when the Michigan Central Railroad arrived. The current Dowagiac train station was built by the Michigan Central Railroad in 1902, and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. Dowagiac is famous manufacturing the Round Oak Stoves that heated trains and stations all along the Michigan Central line. Sold worldwide, Round Oak Stoves eventually took up more than one million square feet of manufacturing space and employed more than 1,000 residents in a complex where Ameriwood turns out ready-to-assemble furniture today. Heddon Fishing Lures is another enterprise that put Dowagiac on the map and now attracts collectors and visitors to its museum. Dowagiac today enjoys a vital literary and arts scene. Among the numerous public sculptures to be seen on a walking tour of the downtown area are the three bronze Cheetahs on the Run that you see bounding alongside the track as the westbound train pulls into the station. The Dogwood Fine Arts Festival each May brings in nationally renowned authors and showcases home grown talent.

MARP Members Gather August 17, 2016

In conjunction with the 4th Annual Michigan Rail Conference
Northern Michigan University
University Center Building
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette MI 49855

IT’S NOT TOO LATE! Make plans now to join fellow MARP members on August 17 at the 4th Annual Michigan Rail Conference on the campus of Northern Michigan University in Marquette.

MARP members will receive the “early bird” discount through August 9 when registering online. The fee will be $100 (a savings of $75). To receive the discount, enter the code MRC_MARP-late2016 in the box at the upper right of the final registration screen when entering your payment information (detailed instructions below).

MARP members wishing to attend only the passenger rail session at 12:45 on August 17 will be allowed to enter free, for that session only. This session is a panel discussion titled “Passenger Operations in an Era of Lean Public Investment”. Panelists include:

  • Chad Cushman, VP Business, Indian Trails, Inc., on Amtrak Thruway service in the Upper Peninsula.
  • Chris Bagwell, Executive VP & General Manager, Great Lakes Central Railroad, on restoration of passenger service in northern lower Michigan.
  • Larry Krieg, Chairman Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers, with an overview of Michigan passenger trains.
  • Frank Loetterle, Project Manager-Passenger Rail Office, Minnesota DOT, on the Northern Lights Express, a proposed higher-speed rail project linking the Twin Cities and Duluth.

View the complete Conference Program HERE

Here’s how to register online:

  • Click HERE to go to the registration page
  • Click on ADD TO CART
  • Complete the registration information form, then click CONTINUE. (The field trip is full. The golf outing is an extra charge.)
  • Click CHECKOUT on the next page
  • Add your e-mail address (sets up an automatic response for your registration), then click CONTINUE UNREGISTERED
  • Finally, put the Promotional Code MRC_MARP-late2016 in the box on the right side of the screen & click APPLY
  • Continue to follow the prompts to enter payment information and finish your registration.
LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING YOU IN THE UP!

Register now for the 2016 annual Meeting on Sept. 24 in Durand

allaboardguySAVE THE DATE!

Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers
43rd ANNUAL MEETING
Durand Union Station
200 Railroad Street, Durand MI 48429
Sept. 24, 2016
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Make plans now to attend! Our keynote speaker is John Robert Smith, currently serving as Chairman of Transportation for America. During his 16 year tenure as Mayor of Meridian MS, he facilitated public-private partnerships in redeveloping the city’s Union Station as the Southeast’s first multi-modal transportation center. Mr. Smith is working closely with the Southern Rail Commission in an initiative to restart passenger train service between New Orleans and Florida and has served on the Amtrak board of directors, including terms as Chairman. In other business, MARP will elect officers for the 2016-18 term,  vote on a recommendation to revise language in the Bylaws relating to appointment and compensation of an Executive Director, and hear updates on Michigan rail projects.

COST: $25 per person includes a catered lunch

DEADLINE:  Sept. 14, 2016 is the deadline for registrations.

If you plan to attend, please Register Today!

CLICK HERE to register online

Or download the mail-in form and send with your personal check payable to MARP, Inc. to:

MARP, Inc. | PO BOX 510842 | LIVONIA MI 48151-6842

ACT NOW! The deadline for registration is Sept. 14, 2016.

Click on the button below to register online using PayPal, a major credit card or a debit card Click on the button below to register online using PayPal, a major credit card or a debit card




Prefer registration by U.S. mail? Click on the form below, print it, fill it out and mail along with your check

MARP Annual Mtg 2016 – mail-in form PDF

CLICK TO ENLARGE AND PRINT
CLICK TO ENLARGE AND PRINT

MARP meets at new Dearborn Amtrak station on June 11, 2016

MARP Member Meeting
Saturday, June 11, 2016
10 a.m. to Noon
John D. Dingell Transit Center (Amtrak Station)
21201 Michigan Ave, Dearborn, MI 48124

Map & Directions

The new Dearborn Amtrak station which opened as the John D. Dingell Transit Center in December of 2014 will be the venue for the June 11 MARP general membership meeting.

The meeting will feature a presentation titled “Presidential Travel By Train”. The speaker will be Radford Jones who, as a U. S. Secret Service agent, was responsible for security of six U.S. Presidents as well as security coordination during the 1976 Presidential inauguration and advance teams for three political conventions. In 2009 he was recognized by Security Magazine as one of the 25 most influential persons in security. Audiences in SE Michigan have found Mr. Jones’s telling of the history of the Secret Service and his experiences with the Kennedy tenure entertaining as well as informative.

Mr. Jones is a native of Hillsdale MI. Retiring after 21 years with the U.S. Secret Service, he became the manager of security and fire protection for Ford Motor Company. Subsequently, he taught in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University and directed the school’s Criminal Justice online degree program.

His freelanced Move It On (MIO) Railroad System, Hillsdale Division, a New York Central connector, duplicates many locations he visited during his year career with the U. S. Secret Service.

Please plan to join your fellow members and friends for the usual no-host lunch following the meeting.

If you are interested in ride-sharing to the meeting, simply reply to this link. We will do our best to match you up with a ride or riders.

MICHIGAN ASSOCIATION OF RAILROAD PASSENGERS

Michigan Auditor General praises commuter car deal

MDOT’s handling of the controversial commuter rail cars was correct, and will potentially save up to $1,680,000 a year.

BY LARRY KRIEG

Remember the dust-up about how Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) was “wasting public funds” by leasing and refurbishing rail cars? These were the cars purchased by Great Lakes Central Railroad (GLC) from Chicago’s Metra commuter service. In 2010 MDOT’s Office of Rail leased 23 of these cars and commissioned GLC to refurbish them for anticipated commuter service in Michigan. (See the detailed article in The Michigan Passenger, Spring 2015 p.1)

As a result of an official state audit and media criticism, a legislative hearing was conducted in March of 2015. MARP submitted written testimony to the legislative committees, supporting the lease and refurbishment as foresighted and cost-saving. The result and the audit and hearing was a requirement that MDOT renegotiate the terms of the lease, terminating payments by the end of 2015 while retaining the right to lease the cars later, when and if commuter service is started.

The Southeast Michigan Regional Transit Authority (RTA) recently released their study [http://www.rtamichigan.org/wp-content/uploads/Draft-Detailed-Definition-of-Alternatives-v16.pdf] of the Michigan Avenue Corridor (Detroit-Ann Arbor), recommending at least eight round-trip trains every day. The announcement was greeted with enthusiasm by local officials and business leaders along the line. If citizens pass the RTA millage in November this year, we could see these commuter cars rolling in Southeast Michigan as early as 2019.

On April 29 this year, Michigan’s Auditor General released a report [http://audgen.michigan.gov/~audgenmi/finalpdfs/15_16/r591019514F.pdf] certifying that MDOT did in fact comply with the requirement. In addition, they estimate Office of Rail’s new contracts with GLC brought about potential savings of $60,000-140,000 per month, or $720,000-1,680,000 per year.

That’s in addition to the money saved by refurbishing used cars in the first place. MARP estimates each refurbished, restroom-equipped car to cost $2.5 million less than the cost of new double-deck commuter cars. It even saved half a million dollars per car under what California recently paid to purchase and refurbish single-level used commuter cars, according to an investigation by Clark Charnetski. And about 3/4 of the money spent by MDOT stayed in Michigan, providing jobs for skilled Michigan technicians during the depths of the Great Recession.