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Transit Updates for Greater Grand Rapids


GRDadof3

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Other than the old GR and Holland stations, I can't picture where stations could work in Grandville, Jenison, Hudsonville or Zeeland.  They each have spots where the track doubles up which I assume would be needed.

And ironically, I was just at a meeting in Hudsonville where some feared Chicago Drive could turn into the next 28th Street.  This rail project wasn't even mentioned.

Edited by elcelc
an ironic thought
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4 hours ago, Prankster said:

Old station on Wealthy is in very bad shape, and would probably need to be leveled an rebuilt. 

Depots themselves don't seem like they'd be that expensive to build. Essentially an enclosed pavilion with bathrooms (no need for a ticket counter with everything automated). 

It's the land that would be expensive and the Wealthy land is still owned by the city I believe. Or the railroad. 

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53 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

Depots themselves don't seem like they'd be that expensive to build. Essentially an enclosed pavilion with bathrooms (no need for a ticket counter with everything automated). 

It's the land that would be expensive and the Wealthy land is still owned by the city I believe. Or the railroad. 

I would guess either MDot or Amtrak owns the Wealthy Street Station.  (MDOT subsidizes most if not all of the Amtrak trains through Michigan).

 

I would be opposed to using Wealthy Street for the GR Terminal.  If you could tie in with the new (existing) Amtrak station off of Grandville Ave., you have a short walk across the parking lot to the bus depot.  As others have noted, access to other forms of transportation would be key to making this idea work.

2 hours ago, elcelc said:

me: "Oh cool!" scroll, "Oh cool!" scroll, "Ahhh!"

Very unfortunate.  Thanks for sharing the pictures!  Do you have any pictures/locations of other possible depots along this corridor? Or pictures of former depots along this corridor?

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51 minutes ago, cutlervillegr said:

I would guess either MDot or Amtrak owns the Wealthy Street Station.  (MDOT subsidizes most if not all of the Amtrak trains through Michigan).

 

I would be opposed to using Wealthy Street for the GR Terminal.  If you could tie in with the new (existing) Amtrak station off of Grandville Ave., you have a short walk across the parking lot to the bus depot.  As others have noted, access to other forms of transportation would be key to making this idea work.

Very unfortunate.  Thanks for sharing the pictures!  Do you have any pictures/locations of other possible depots along this corridor? Or pictures of former depots along this corridor?

My only issue with the Amtrak station is that it's not in a very good spot for easy in-and-out for commuter trains coming in from the SW like the CSX. I don't even know how the Amtrak train maneuvers around to get in and out of there. Anyone ridden the Amtrak? You can get away with monkeying around when people are expecting a 4 - 5 hour train trip, not for a 20 minute ride from Hudsonville. 

 

Amtrak station.JPG

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35 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

My only issue with the Amtrak station is that it's not in a very good spot for easy in-and-out for commuter trains coming in from the SW like the CSX. I don't even know how the Amtrak train maneuvers around to get in and out of there. Anyone ridden the Amtrak? You can get away with monkeying around when people are expecting a 4 - 5 hour train trip, not for a 20 minute ride from Hudsonville. 

 

 

One option could be completing the wye to the Amtrak station.  It looks like the city already owns the parcel at 280 Logan SW.  Acquiring the top edge of 503 Century (Faber & Co) could possibly allow a wye to be connected that would eliminate the need for the train to stop, have the switch pulled and back into the station.  

 

Of course, Amtrak would likely be interested in this, too, so that makes me wonder if it isn't feasible, since Amtrak didn't already try this when they put in their station.

 

 

image.png

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Quote

One option could be completing the wye to the Amtrak station.  It looks like the city already owns the parcel at 280 Logan SW.  Acquiring the top edge of 503 Century (Faber & Co) could possibly allow a wye to be connected that would eliminate the need for the train to stop, have the switch pulled and back into the station.  

Of course, Amtrak would likely be interested in this, too, so that makes me wonder if it isn't feasible, since Amtrak didn't already try this when they put in their station.

It is very possible and was suggested to both the architect in charge and some members of the RAPID board . Completely ignored.  It should have been constructed with the east option later  IF there is ever service to Detroit or Kalamazoo. The same architect said they couldn't get the train to the tent because the cars wouldn't fit under Wealthy St overpass. That's really a dumb comment since there were freight yard tracks in the same location.

Service to Holland will be fought tooth and nail by CSX.  And there is no gov't agency that can make them accept commuter service on anything but CSX terms. They just make it so expensive, it won't happen. 

GRD3 and a few of us tried to get a Sparta to downtown (Bridge St / GVSU campus) rush hour commuter service just looked at but guess who owned the tracks from Ann St to downtown? And that was with a RR north of Ann that was willing to consider it.  Same corporate  owner owns GR to  Lowell.

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9 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

It is very possible and was suggested to both the architect in charge and some members of the RAPID board . Completely ignored.  It should have been constructed with the east option later  IF there is ever service to Detroit or Kalamazoo. The same architect said they couldn't get the train to the tent because the cars wouldn't fit under Wealthy St overpass. That's really a dumb comment since there were freight yard tracks in the same location.

Service to Holland will be fought tooth and nail by CSX.  And there is no gov't agency that can make them accept commuter service on anything but CSX terms. They just make it so expensive, it won't happen. 

GRD3 and a few of us tried to get a Sparta to downtown (Bridge St / GVSU campus) rush hour commuter service just looked at but guess who owned the tracks from Ann St to downtown? And that was with a RR north of Ann that was willing to consider it.  Same corporate  owner owns GR to  Lowell.

I'm new to this board (and relatively new to the area), but it is already depressing how often civic leaders screw up some rather obvious transit/cityscape choices (like not trying to complete the wye into the station).  I'm sure it's even worse for those who have been following these decisions for a long time.

You are correct about CSX.  They are not a good host railroad for passenger/commuter rail, and this is evidenced throughout the country.  A better option may be to buy R.O.W. from CSX.  A decent portion of the GR-Holland portion is double tracked.  I'm assuming the R.O.W. is there for the entire line to be double tracked from GR-Holland.  Buying or leasing the R.O.W. from the second track may be the better option than dealing with CSX.  Although, that defeats the entire point of the initial idea and probably destroys the budget for such an idea.

Genesee & Wyoming owns from Ann Street north and east on the West Side.  Coopersville & Marne (a tourist line) owns the line west of Ann Street.  I believe Grand Elk owns from Hughart Yard (along 131 @ Burton St) south to Kalamazoo.  They may also own the abandoned-in-place spur that juts out to 44th St  southeast from Burton Street.   I don't know how these companies are to work with for passenger/commuter rail, but some of these rail lines may be attractive commuter rail options, particularly a GR-Wyoming-Cutlerville-Byron Center-Wayland line that runs North-South.  And like you said, a line up to Sparta would probably do well, also.

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13 hours ago, Raildude's dad said:

GRD3 and a few of us tried to get a Sparta to downtown (Bridge St / GVSU campus) rush hour commuter service just looked at but guess who owned the tracks from Ann St to downtown? And that was with a RR north of Ann that was willing to consider it.  Same corporate  owner owns GR to  Lowell.

I thought it was Ada to Downtown (along Michigan Corridor) or am I thinking of a different attempt?

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10 hours ago, tSlater said:

I thought it was Ada to Downtown (along Michigan Corridor) or am I thinking of a different attempt?

There were a lot of corridors talked about but the Sparta/Comstock Park to downtown one was a straight shot right down to the area around GVSU Pew Campus.  I think even a demo commuter train engine was available if we wanted to have it brought to GR.  That was a long time ago. :)

The Ada to downtown one is messy because the rail lines shoot way North (around Monroe and Leonard area) and then circle back into downtown in the Monroe North area, where much of the rail is abandoned. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/10/2018 at 6:21 PM, cutlervillegr said:

I believe Grand Elk owns from Hughart Yard (along 131 @ Burton St) south to Kalamazoo.  ... I don't know how these companies are to work with for passenger/commuter rail, but

Grand Elk has previously stated they are open to the idea;  they sent someone to a MARP (Michigan Association of Railroad Passengers) meeting in Kalamazoo ~2 years ago.  In general short-lines are open minded and interested in anything that brings would result in investment in their infrastructure.

The GRD/KZO corridor is also of interest to MDOT as an alternate routing from GRD to CUS (Chicago) as that would tie into the Michigan's high-speed line.

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22 minutes ago, whitemice said:

The GRD/KZO corridor is also of interest to MDOT as an alternate routing from GRD to CUS (Chicago) as that would tie into the Michigan's high-speed line.

The fact that from GR you can take a bus to K-Zoo, get on a train to Chicago and still get there in about the same amount of time as just taking the train from GR would leave me to believe that a route going through K-Zoo would probably shave a few minutes off the journey.

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6 hours ago, Pattmost20 said:

The fact that from GR you can take a bus to K-Zoo, get on a train to Chicago and still get there in about the same amount of time as just taking the train from GR would leave me to believe that a route going through K-Zoo would probably shave a few minutes off the journey.

And you can catch a train out of Kalamazoo 4-5 times a day. It would be nice to tap into the extra options throughout the day.

Joe

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17 minutes ago, Raildude's dad said:

More people get on in Holland than GR.  Will they ride from Holland to GR to Kazoo?

image.thumb.png.5420297d5a2596ea82150d49af94a9bf.png

 

What is the reason for the 24% decline?  Cheap gas?  Lots of airline options?  Train reliability/availability?

 

I would hope that a GR-Kzoo-Chicago Amtrak service would be in addition to, not replacing GR-Holland-Chicago service.  Maybe arrive in GR early in the morning and leave GR late at night to mirror the current Pere Marquette service.  Or maybe a mid-day arrival/departure out of GR.  I think augmenting the service would help.

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1 hour ago, cutlervillegr said:

What is the reason for the 24% decline?  Cheap gas?  Lots of airline options?  Train reliability/availability?

 

I would hope that a GR-Kzoo-Chicago Amtrak service would be in addition to, not replacing GR-Holland-Chicago service.  Maybe arrive in GR early in the morning and leave GR late at night to mirror the current Pere Marquette service.  Or maybe a mid-day arrival/departure out of GR.  I think augmenting the service would help.

I agree. It’d be nice to have the GR to Chicago route plus a few back and forth options between GR and KZoo. If times right, it’d give a lot more options to get to Chicago. or GR > Bells > CHI. :) :)

Joe

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3 hours ago, cutlervillegr said:

What is the reason for the 24% decline?  Cheap gas?  Lots of airline options?  Train reliability/availability?

 

That’s kind of a mystery.  I would have guessed it was because of the ungodly time change a few years ago but I looked it up and that was way back in 2015 so that couldn’t be it, and megabus stopped their service so that couldn’t be it.  Maybe Grand Rapids is so cool now there’s less reason to go visit Chicago now, but not so cool that people decide to come here from Chicago. 

Lately when I’ve taken the train, I catch it in Holland instead of Grand Rapids.  I can get to Holland a lot faster than the hour it takes the train so I get to sleep in a few minutes longer.    
 

Edited by walker
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8 hours ago, Sparty97 said:

It looks like the table shows calendar years.  So part of the decline is due to a partial year (2018) vs. a whole year (2017).  Maybe there will be a holiday rush that gets it closer to 2017?

I suspect that to be the case.  Why they don't note that??????????????????

I posted the numbers to show that as many people get on in Holland as GR. Put 1/2 on a train to Kazoo and 1/2 on a train to Chicago and you will more than double the subsidy required by Amtrak from MDOT. Plus, GDLK isn't going to upgrade the track for free.

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11 hours ago, jonrapley said:

I think the downtown core needs to grow before we can support a commuter train. I have to imagine the majority of people that live in this 196 corridor that work in GR do not work close to where the train will end. 

X2X3X4.  What makes these folks think this will work here when Ann Arbor can't get the WALLY going or an AA-Detroit commuter train going with a much more dense population corridor?

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