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As I still believe strongly MDOT needs to initiate service up to Mackinac City from Detroit, Lansing, & Grand Rapids, what is the means to get to the Yoopers? I'm guessing rail access to the UP must come from Wisconsin. There's no rail tunnel under the Straits, right? So Sault Ste Marie is kinda the end of the line from the west?

 

 

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As I still believe strongly MDOT needs to initiate service up to Mackinac City from Detroit, Lansing, & Grand Rapids, what is the means to get to the Yoopers? I'm guessing rail access to the UP must come from Wisconsin. There's no rail tunnel under the Straits, right? So Sault Ste Marie is kinda the end of the line from the west?

 

You’re correct. We Michiganders must work with the Cheeseheads to bring service to the UP—intrapeninsular service wouldn’t have enough ridership. Unfortunately, no tunnel or bridge on the Straits. Milwaukee Road and C&NW ran trains to points in the UP including Escanaba and Ishpeming (h/t to user chakk for correcting me in post No. 6). That’s the most likely scenario if serious discussions arise, but there’s been virtually zero discussion of UP passenger rail other than daydreams.

 

However, there’s a group called “A2TC” with serious hopes to make a Traverse City-Ann Arbor passenger rail service.

Edited by Pere Flyer

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As I still believe strongly MDOT needs to initiate service up to Mackinac City from Detroit, Lansing, & Grand Rapids, what is the means to get to the Yoopers? I'm guessing rail access to the UP must come from Wisconsin. There's no rail tunnel under the Straits, right? So Sault Ste Marie is kinda the end of the line from the west?

 

 

Here’s a crazy idea.....terminate service on both sides of the bridge, St. Ignace and Mackinaw City and bus across the bridge.

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As I still believe strongly MDOT needs to initiate service up to Mackinac City from Detroit, Lansing, & Grand Rapids, what is the means to get to the Yoopers? I'm guessing rail access to the UP must come from Wisconsin. There's no rail tunnel under the Straits, right? So Sault Ste Marie is kinda the end of the line from the west?

 

 

Here’s a crazy idea.....terminate service on both sides of the bridge, St. Ignace and Mackinaw City and bus across the bridge.

I wonder which type of cross-strait service would be more appropriate in that scenario: a bus or ferry shuttle? It would probably depend on capacity, frequency of service, and marginal cost. Buses would probably be more apt for multiple train frequencies. But in a single-frequency scenario, if two buses had to pay toll for two crossings each, a ferry’s overhead cost might pay off in the long run. I’d guess a ferry would have higher capacity than a bus, as well.

 

Now here’s a crazy idea: Through ticketing to Mackinac Island with one of the island’s ferry operators. Imagine it: Pere Marquette Mk II Holland-Mackinaw City, Arnold Lines Mack City-Mac Island!

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As I still believe strongly MDOT needs to initiate service up to Mackinac City from Detroit, Lansing, & Grand Rapids, what is the means to get to the Yoopers? I'm guessing rail access to the UP must come from Wisconsin. There's no rail tunnel under the Straits, right? So Sault Ste Marie is kinda the end of the line from the west?

 

 

Here’s a crazy idea.....terminate service on both sides of the bridge, St. Ignace and Mackinaw City and bus across the bridge.
I wonder which type of cross-strait service would be more appropriate in that scenario: a bus or ferry shuttle? It would probably depend on capacity, frequency of service, and marginal cost. Buses would probably be more apt for multiple train frequencies. But in a single-frequency scenario, if two buses had to pay toll for two crossings each, a ferry’s overhead cost might pay off in the long run. I’d guess a ferry would have higher capacity than a bus, as well.

 

Now here’s a crazy idea: Through ticketing to Mackinac Island with one of the island’s ferry operators. Imagine it: Pere Marquette Mk II Holland-Mackinaw City, Arnold Lines Mack City-Mac Island!

 

Ferrys wouldn’t work during the winter.....but busses can be used as the connection. The only problem I can see with busses is those days high profile vehicles aren’t allowed to cross and/or days the bridge is closed due to high winds...I suppose the same can be said about the ferry.

 

Your idea about Holland to/from the island is crazy enough to work and would be a boost to their tourism....also, a boost for the tulip festival in Holland and other festivals along the route, a win-win situation. It makes too much sense.....the main reason why MDOT and the state of Michigan will never approve of such an idea.

 

As far as the U.P./Wisconsin suggestion, the same logic applies as to why it wouldn’t happen.

 

Personally, I’d love to see the combination of the two ideas, being that I used to live in Central Wisconsin and that region into the Northwoods, Green Bay, Wausau, Marshfield, Eau Claire and other places in the region, in my opinion would have quite a demand plus in the U.P. Houghton, Marquette and points east would be served where the connection to Amtrak is a very long thruway bus connection at best.

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Peninsula 400 ran on the Chicago & North Western. Milwaukee Road ran the Copper Country Limited to Iron Mountain and Champion in the U.P., where the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic took it from there to Baraga and Hancock/Houghton.

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According to the FRA map... https://fragis.fra.dot.gov/GISFRASafety/ ...rail service in the UP from the West now terminates in Sault Saint Marie and the Northernmost extent in the Lower Peninsula is Petosky. Up until 1984 there was an ice-breaking railroad ferry across the Straits of Mackinac: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mackinac_Transportation_Company I think the trackwork might still be there (to St. Ignace and Mackinaw City) but it may be abandoned by now.

 

I live sort of in the middle of the UP (about 25 miles South of Marquette) and it's a good 6 to 8 hour drive to my nearest Amtrak Stations in either Milwaukee or Columbus WI. There was some idle talk and a few pamphlets put out some years ago about extending passenger rail North from Milwaukee to Appleton and Green Bay. That would cut my travel time in half, but just between you, me and the lamp post - it'll never happen.

 

It's fun to dream, however.

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Talk about service between Milwaukee and Green Bay started on A-Day in 1971 and nothing has ever resulted from it. Scott Walker isn't going to invest in such an operation. As far as the UP is concerned, I don't think there is enough people there to justify any kind of rail service.

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Talk about service between Milwaukee and Green Bay started on A-Day in 1971 and nothing has ever resulted from it. Scott Walker isn't going to invest in such an operation. As far as the UP is concerned, I don't think there is enough people there to justify any kind of rail service.

As niemi24s said, it’s nice to dream. I knew the Wisconsin part was going to be impossible due to Walker, having lived in his clutches for nearly the entirety of his first term. His #1 issue on his platform when he ran for governor was anti-Amtrak expansion. I’m sure the demand is there in the areas that I mentioned earlier but I’m not sure enough could be drummed up in the UP for even a study. That being said, the whole concept of expansion in these areas is fun to talk about, no matter how unrealistic it is.

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Of course, if you are a die-hard rail fan....

You could spend a week getting from southern Michigan to the Canadian side of The Soo via Chicago, Buffalo, Toronto, and Oba...or start from Windsor or Sarnia, and do the same... :D

Edited by railiner

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Peninsula 400 ran on the Chicago & North Western. Milwaukee Road ran the Copper Country Limited to Iron Mountain and Champion in the U.P., where the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic took it from there to Baraga and Hancock/Houghton.

Back in the early 60s, I used to get on in Powers (couldn’t go from Iron Mountain where I lived, and go to Chicago, where I changed stations, to take the James Whitcomb Riley to Cincinnati where I attended UC.

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There's definitely momentum to get service to Traverse City. So that's a good start.

According to someone from MDOT I spoke to a year or so ago, all new Amtrak routes are and will be put on hold. They want to focus on improving the roads. I also had lunch on the Capitol Limited today with one of the VPs at NARP saying he’s heard the same.

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There's definitely momentum to get service to Traverse City. So that's a good start.

According to someone from MDOT I spoke to a year or so ago, all new Amtrak routes are and will be put on hold. They want to focus on improving the roads. I also had lunch on the Capitol Limited today with one of the VPs at NARP saying he’s heard the same.

 

Yes and no. MDOT does not necessarily see many more viable routes beyond what they have currently. So therefore not much need to put much money into Amtrak stuff. They are launching an update to their state rail plan that should include a detailed analysis of Detroit to Traverse City and Detroit to Grand Rapids routings. But as far as near term expansion, there isn't anything in the pipeline, so roads will be funded.

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I also found this. https://a2tc.org/ I'll be honest, there's lots of support, but this does seem optimistic. I could see a seasonal train making it, though.

That’s all great and everything.....I’d love to see that plus the “coast to coast” train, however the final words come from MDOT, the state legislature and Rick Snyder....and startups like these aren’t very high on their priority list. It’s not going to happen in the foreseeable future.

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The issue w/ rail expansion over the past 15 or so yrs is always the same. Where does the funding come from? As an ex-pat Michigander living in NJ under protest, seeing a Grand River service from Detroit to Holland would be truly a wonderful addition but my suggestion of an Up North service would be principally during the tourist season in the summer. TC is great but get people to The Bridge & The Island. It is a no-brainer but w/ the amount of discretionary spending getting reduced more and more it may be up to a private consortium to do this. Infrastructure spending competes w/ human services spending and human services wins more often than not.

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The issue w/ rail expansion over the past 15 or so yrs is always the same. Where does the funding come from? As an ex-pat Michigander living in NJ under protest, seeing a Grand River service from Detroit to Holland would be truly a wonderful addition but my suggestion of an Up North service would be principally during the tourist season in the summer. TC is great but get people to The Bridge & The Island. It is a no-brainer but w/ the amount of discretionary spending getting reduced more and more it may be up to a private consortium to do this. Infrastructure spending competes w/ human services spending and human services wins more often than not.

I’ve been told that more and more funding for the corridor services like Michigan Services (Pere Marquette, Wolverine and Blue Water) is coming from the State of Michigan. Studies and public forums have been held on both the A2TC and Coast to Coast trains (a public forum held in Holland last year that I was unable to attend due to illness.) but no real progress since. MDOT had an open forum last fall and I submitted a question regarding updates on both projects and that’s my source in the previous few posts. I’ve heard nothing since and trust me, I’ve had my ear to the ground.

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My folks grew up in the U.P., where snow piled to the second story of their homes was common in winter and summer was 3 days in August. Won’t be easy for a seasonal train to cover its costs.

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As has been pointed out, the rail lines to Mackinaw City were ripped up in the late 80s early 90s. The former NYC line now ends at Gaylord and the former PRR ends in Petoskey. The rail lines that are still in place are dark territory, and lets not even bring up PTC. You might be able to develop service to Marquette and Escanaba, but first you would have to get Wisconsin to extend service to Green Bay (which never seems to be in any of Wisconsin's plans that I see).

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Wisconsin's current political climate notwithstanding, Milwaukee-Green Bay service has been in the state rail plans, but after Milwaukee-Madison service and possibly Madison-St. Paul service. In other words, maybe someday, but don't hold your breath.

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My folks grew up in the U.P., where snow piled to the second story of their homes was common in winter and summer was 3 days in August. Won’t be easy for a seasonal train to cover its costs.

I have relatives near L’Anse (90 minutes SW of Marquette and have been told there’s still snow on the ground in the deep woods in mid-July. Not that it has anything to do with Amtrak extension but just gives an idea of just how cold and snowy it is up there. I do know there used to be passenger rail in the UP as my late mother told me stories of the flag stops the had along the track, even for emergencies to get to a hospital.....quite dramatic indeed!

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So do I (in L’Anse) — a cousin who practiced medicine there for more than 30 years. Others lived in Duluth, Marquette, Negaunee, Gwinn, and downstate. I have stood on the shore of Lake Superior near Munising in May with snow and ice still piled along the shoreline. And then the black flies and mosquitoes and night crawlers emerge ....

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