On the first day in Detroit, we visited SEMCOG where Tim Hoeffner and Tim Fischer gave us an inside look at the M-1 streetcar project that will soon break ground on Woodward Avenue. In total, the streetcar will run 3.3 miles from the downtown Business District to the Amtrak Station off West Grand Boulevard. While at SEMCOG, we got a very interesting presentation from Marge Byington with the Continental Rail Gateway. She shared the current efforts to fund and construct a brand-new underwater rail tunnel connecting Detroit and Windsor. Currently, two tunnels exist, however they are not tall enough to accommodate the increasing container train heights. The next stop on the trip was Dearborn, where Barry Murray and Mike Hohenstein gave us a special tour of the city's almost completed intermodal passenger station that will be served by Amtrak's Wolverine. After leaving Dearborn, Ryan Hoensheid escorted the group to Jackson where we learned about Amtrak's efforts to increase operating speeds on the Chicago-Detroit corridor. Roger Saborido and Robert Lotsbaich gave the group a better understanding of the high-tech signaling systems that are being implemented on the line. The first day was finished off by a great Amtrak ride back into the city.
The second day was started off by a trip to SteelPro, where Paul Russo and Christopher Burcham gave us a tour of an enormous steel coil warehouse, complete with four indoor freight car unloading tracks; quite an impressive operation. Next stop was the Norfolk Southern dispatching center where we met Dave Arnovitz. Dave took us to see the TripleCrown intermodal yard and the vehicle loading facilities where vehicles are driven onto rail cars and shipped across the nation. The last stop for the trip was Conrail's Livernois yard and Rouge River lift bridge, where Ed Statzer gave us an up-close and personal look at the massive bridge in operation.
In total, the 2014 Spring Field Trip to Detroit was action packed and very informative.
Thanks to all who made it possible!
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