MDOT to study Detroit-Holland passenger train

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Transportation will soon commission a study to see if a passenger train route between Holland and Detroit is viable.

‘This would be the first step in a many-step process. If we are to look for any type of passenger rail along any line between any of those cities, it would take years,” said MDOT spokesman Michael Frezell.

There are currently no passenger trains that run the 200-mile route between Detroit and Holland, which would have stops in Lansing and Grand Rapids.

The service could potentially use existing tracks currently used by freight trains, though those tracks would need to be upgraded.

But decisions like that would be made much further down the line.

“Right now, we need to figure out if there is actually a potential ridership along the route before we move this any further,” Frezell said.

Trends point to the need. According to MDOT reports, Amtrak passenger ridership in Michigan is up nearly 300,000 riders in the past 10 years.

“Everybody’s excited about passenger rail these days, so it’s always good to talk about it and look into it,” Frezell said.

MDOT hasn’t started the study yet, but the results are due to lawmakers by May 2015.

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