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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Amtrak, Michigan DOT's Blue Water route marks successful first year


A year ago, Amtrak and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) took a chance by eliminating the Canadian portion of its Chicago-to-Michigan line. The gamble paid off. During its first full year of service, Amtrak’s Blue Water service carried 104,655 passengers — a 24.3 percent increase compared with the 84,167 passengers that rode the former International service the previous year.

In April 2004, Amtrak began operating the Port Huron, Mich.-to-Chicago route, which serves East Lansing, Lapeer, Flint, Durand, Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Dowagiac and Niles, Mich., under contract with MDOT. Trains depart Port Huron at 5:15 a.m. and arrive in Chicago at 11:10 a.m., then depart for Michigan in the afternoon, enabling passengers to make day trips between Chicago and Michigan, or connect with afternoon trains from Chicago’s Union Station to other destinations.

The International service extended the route into Ontario. However, the train’s late evening arrivals in Toronto and Chicago hampered passengers’ attempts to make daily connections at Union Station.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/8/2005