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  1. #26

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    I took the train that ran this rout from Utica, NY to Detroit and back several times in the 60's and 70's.
    I once ate in the dining car and discovered that Jesse James was still alive but was now working for the railroad in the dining car.
    wow, you rode that route in the 1860's and 1870's? nice long life [jesse james died in 1882.]

  2. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by rsa.313 View Post
    wow, you rode that route in the 1860's and 1870's? nice long life [jesse james died in 1882.]
    Detroiters: Immune to metaphor since 1701.

  3. #28

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    wow, that was bad. it's a bit of a reach to make that work even. don't get me wrong- i like dry humor- but sheesh!

  4. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by rsa.313 View Post
    wow, that was bad. it's a bit of a reach to make that work even. don't get me wrong- i like dry humor- but sheesh!
    Don't be so hard on yourself.

  5. #30

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    i claim responsibility on the internet not being a proper conveyance of sarcasm. besides, my response was just as dry in humor, if missing the point in general...

  6. #31

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    Yes, back in the old days (i.e., the 50's and before), NYC routed a substantial number of their Chicago-New York trains via Detroit and southern Ontario rather than via Toledo and Cleveland. They also had a train that originated at MCS in the evening and arrived in New York in time for a day's work (with a corresponding return train from New York). I have a NYC timetable from about 1946 that shows all of this. Amtrak tried to revive the Detroit-New York train in the 70's (I have it in an Amtrak timetable from around 1975), but evidently it wasn't too popular because it was dropped pretty quickly.

    Finally, I believe Canadian Pacific trains from Toronto to Detroit ran through the tunnel to MCS for a time, but I can't prove this. Canadian National trains ran through the Port Huron tunnel, then into the Brush Street station via Flint, Durand, and Pontiac (they also had a commuter rail service from Pontiac).

  7. #32

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    Twice in the early 90's I took the Amtrak train to NYC. The first trip involved a short train ride at 11:00 pm from the Detroit station in the New Center to Toledo (the next year this train had been replaced by a Trailways bus shuttle) where I transfered to an overnight sleeper train to NYC which left Toledo ~1:00 am.

    The sleeper compartment seemed to me to be right out of a Star Trek episode: the bed (with crisp white linens) pulled down from the outside wall, the sink and toilet also appeared when needed then went back into their hiding places. The best part was sleeping through the night as the train went eastward then waking up at daybreak and looking out as the train was south bound through the Hudson River Valley. I had breakfast and lunch at shared tables in the dining car.

    At 2 pm the next day the train pulled into the underground of the former Penn Station. My favorite description of Penn Station is from NY Magazine.

    "A historian once bluntly assessed Penn Station's two incarnations as follows: "One entered the city like a god, one scuttles in now like a rat."
    http://nymag.com/listings/attraction/penn_station/

    IIRC, the cost was fairly reasonable at that time. Several years later when I considered doing it again, the price for a private sleeper compartment had skyrocketed

  8. #33

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    I think the old Amtrak 1970's service from Detroit to NYC was called 'The Niagra Limited'.

    Most likely the Porter St. tunnel carried a lot of passenger traffic over the decades between MCS and Windsor for various routes to Canada, Northeast US cities and from the Northeast and Maritimes to Chicago and the west.

    On street maps of Detroit you used to see the rail lines from the MCS to the tunnel, so there were definitely passenger trains using that tunnel in the past.

  9. #34

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    The tunnel still is in use for freight by Canadian Pacific, which then uses the CSX through Grand Rapids or Norfolk Southern through Fort Wayne to access Chicago. And those tracks from MCS to the tunnel are part of the route. Freight running through the tunnel always ran by MCS.

  10. #35

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    Quote Originally Posted by Don K View Post
    The tunnel still is in use for freight by Canadian Pacific, which then uses the CSX through Grand Rapids or Norfolk Southern through Fort Wayne to access Chicago. And those tracks from MCS to the tunnel are part of the route. Freight running through the tunnel always ran by MCS.
    Even a few years ago, they ran about three dozen trains a day through there. And they can't even run the tall cars through (those have to go up through Port Huron-Sarnia).

    Do they just run on diesel fuel all the way through? If so, isn't that hazardous?

  11. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    Even a few years ago, they ran about three dozen trains a day through there. And they can't even run the tall cars through (those have to go up through Port Huron-Sarnia).

    Do they just run on diesel fuel all the way through? If so, isn't that hazardous?
    Not if they zip on through. Railroads with a lot of tunnels use diesels that are special "tunnel motors" with engine air intakes positioned to get the max amount of fresh air. As far as the engine crew, they are no worse off than car and truck drivers going through automotive tunnels.

    Back in the steam days, though, they did have to electrify tunnels and use electric locomotives to move the trains through the tunnels.

  12. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermod View Post
    Not if they zip on through. Railroads with a lot of tunnels use diesels that are special "tunnel motors" with engine air intakes positioned to get the max amount of fresh air. As far as the engine crew, they are no worse off than car and truck drivers going through automotive tunnels.
    At least vehicular tunnels have vents and fans and stuff to pull exhaust out. Then again, with one engine (and in front of it) you could probably get pretty safe. Must be some view down there!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hermod View Post
    Back in the steam days, though, they did have to electrify tunnels and use electric locomotives to move the trains through the tunnels.
    Interesting. I could be wrong, but I vaguely remember that the tubes were electrified back when it was built, with special locos to take trains through.

  13. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    Interesting. I could be wrong, but I vaguely remember that the tubes were electrified back when it was built, with special locos to take trains through.

    There are a lot of pictures of the massive electric locomotives used in the Sarnia-Port Huron tunnel. I don't recall seeing pictures of Detroit-Windsor tunnel electrics but they probably exist..

  14. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermod View Post
    There are a lot of pictures of the massive electric locomotives used in the Sarnia-Port Huron tunnel. I don't recall seeing pictures of Detroit-Windsor tunnel electrics but they probably exist..
    It was a while ago, and I lost it, but I had a postcard image of the tunnel and the loco I bought at John K. King. Wish I had it now!

  15. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    It was a while ago, and I lost it, but I had a postcard image of the tunnel and the loco I bought at John K. King. Wish I had it now!
    Here you go, quick Google.

    http://www.canadasouthern.com/caso/images/ge-mcrr.pdf

  16. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermod View Post
    Nice! It's like an old-fashioned switching engine or something! Thanks, Hermod!

  17. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    Nice! It's like an old-fashioned switching engine or something! Thanks, Hermod!
    A "switching engine" was a smaller, low speed loco (steam, diesel, or electric) to move small strings of cars around a classification yard or to distribute cars to industrial sidings.

    The technical term for what these locos did was the "transfer locomotive" mission. These were larger, low speed locomotives to move whole trains or large cuts of cars from one yard or terminal to another (as opposed to the higher speed "road locomotives").

  18. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermod View Post
    A "switching engine" was a smaller, low speed loco (steam, diesel, or electric) to move small strings of cars around a classification yard or to distribute cars to industrial sidings.

    The technical term for what these locos did was the "transfer locomotive" mission. These were larger, low speed locomotives to move whole trains or large cuts of cars from one yard or terminal to another (as opposed to the higher speed "road locomotives").
    Thanks for the clarification, Hermod!

  19. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by esp1986 View Post
    I will say, I have been working in Toledo for a while now, although I spend every weekend in Detroit... I still have family in Detroit, and if there were a viable train from Detroit to Toledo and back, I would certainly take it to be able to live in Detroit again full time... but since there is no such train, I am stuck here in Ohio four days a week...
    I realize this is an old thread - however, I have been searching for anything on possible Toledo-Detroit light rail and came across this thread and wanted to reply .....

    I was thinking what a money maker it could be for a Toledo (Downtown) to DTW light rail. I, like most business men and women in Toledo, fly out of Detroit Metro fairly often, and if I could drive and park downtown, and take a quick train to the airport, I would. If it could run right into the terminal area, how great would that be. And Detroit has talked for years about light rail linking DTW and the downtown Detroit area. Maybe even a loop, up Toledo, to DTW, to downtown Detroit, back to Toledo.

    I was checking rail lines on Google, and there are at least two routes from the Amtrak station in downtown Toledo which would run straight up into Michigan, and then run parallel to Telegraph Rd, then turn and run parallel to I-275, right to DTW. The infrastructure is already there, aside from terminal stations at DTW to receive passengers.

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by esp1986 View Post
    I will say, I have been working in Toledo for a while now, although I spend every weekend in Detroit... I still have family in Detroit, and if there were a viable train from Detroit to Toledo and back, I would certainly take it to be able to live in Detroit again full time... but since there is no such train, I am stuck here in Ohio four days a week...
    There's Greyhound service between Toledo and Detroit.

    Not clear why not having an Amtrak route somehow forces someone to live in Ohio.

  21. #46

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    I doubt any kind of rail from DTW to downtown will ever happen, much less to Toledo. There's just not enough demand.

    Light rail might work in many other cities, where business travelers are more likely to want to go downtown. But places business travelers will want to go in SE Michigan are far less concentrated downtown as they are in most other cities—they are spread all throughout the region. That's going to make demand for rail a big problem.

  22. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by MDE427 View Post
    I realize this is an old thread - however, I have been searching for anything on possible Toledo-Detroit light rail and came across this thread and wanted to reply .....

    I was thinking what a money maker it could be for a Toledo (Downtown) to DTW light rail. I, like most business men and women in Toledo, fly out of Detroit Metro fairly often, and if I could drive and park downtown, and take a quick train to the airport, I would. If it could run right into the terminal area, how great would that be. And Detroit has talked for years about light rail linking DTW and the downtown Detroit area. Maybe even a loop, up Toledo, to DTW, to downtown Detroit, back to Toledo.

    I was checking rail lines on Google, and there are at least two routes from the Amtrak station in downtown Toledo which would run straight up into Michigan, and then run parallel to Telegraph Rd, then turn and run parallel to I-275, right to DTW. The infrastructure is already there, aside from terminal stations at DTW to receive passengers.
    I think that a light rail line from Toledo to DTW would be the longest light rail line in the world. Not sure why it makes sense to put in a light rail line on such a sparsely populated route.

  23. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by iheartthed View Post
    I think that a light rail line from Toledo to DTW would be the longest light rail line in the world. Not sure why it makes sense to put in a light rail line on such a sparsely populated route.
    I think rail links between cities have value, and we should be able to create these day -- but we don't seem willing. We instead pursue extremely expensive high-speed rail -- when it would probably we better to just get our trains running a semi-decent speed -- rather than the crawl and waits that we have today on Amtrak.

    But back to the idea of Toledo/Detroit rail... it would make more sense to have a Toledo -> DTW rail -- which could then continue into Detroit. TOL only makes sense for business travellers. I would bet most Toledo tourists use DTW where they can save about 25% or more vs. TOL.

  24. #49

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    A few quick thoughts on this idea. On the surface it does seem odd that to travel by train from Detroit to Toledo requires a stop & switch in Chicago. But even financially foolish Amtrak would never run a spur between the two cities. It would need to be part of a larger route. Amtrak would not run service between Trenton NJ & Philadelphia if that were the extent of the route. I don't know what logical new route to and from Detroit would include a stop in Toledo.

    A Toledo to the airport service would require significant subsidy to operate, even assuming infrastructure and rights were already in place. It would require MASSIVE subsidy to offer the frequency and reliability an airport shuttle service needs to attract significant ridership.

    I think a more practical idea (in the long term) is to expand the RTA down through Monroe County, and have a BRT line from Toledo to Detroit, with several stops along the way. This would necessitate coordination of services with Toledo & Ohio, of course. Perhaps the Detroit-to-Airport BRT line could be extended south from the airport station down to Monroe, where people on the Detroit to Toledo BRT route could transfer to the airport.

  25. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeyinBrooklyn View Post
    I think a more practical idea (in the long term) is to expand the RTA down through Monroe County, and have a BRT line from Toledo to Detroit, with several stops along the way. This would necessitate coordination of services with Toledo & Ohio, of course. Perhaps the Detroit-to-Airport BRT line could be extended south from the airport station down to Monroe, where people on the Detroit to Toledo BRT route could transfer to the airport.
    I recall seeing a few transit planning maps that included a BRT line that ran out Fort Street south to I-75 in Flat Rock and from there it went on I-75 to Monroe. It doesn't appear on the new Master Plan though.

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