SEMCOG Commuter Rail

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Ann Arbor-Detroit Regional Rail
MiTrain logo.png
Service type Regional rail
Status Proposed
Locale Southeast Michigan
First service 2022
Current operator(s) RTA
Ridership 1,150 – 1,750 (projected)
Start Ann Arbor
Stops 5
End New Center, Detroit
Distance travelled 39.72 mi (63.92 km)
Average journey time 45 minutes
Service frequency 8 round-trips
Line used Michigan Line
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Track owner(s) MDOT
Route map
Amtrak Wolverine to Chicago
Ann Arbor
Greenfield Village
Amtrak Wolverine to Pontiac, MI
Detroit M-1 Rail Line
Detroit People Mover
Cobo Center Station
Rosa Parks Transit Center (Michigan Avenue)

Ann Arbor-Detroit Regional Rail (also known as MiTrain and formerly known as SEMCOG Commuter Rail) is a planned regional rail link along the Michigan Line between the cities of Ann Arbor and Detroit, Michigan, a total length of 39.72 miles (63.92 km).[1] The project would connect with a proposed Detroit bus rapid transit service and the under-construction QLINE streetcar.[1]


Detroit previously had commuter rail service. Until 1983, SEMTA operated Grand Trunk Western Railroad's former service between downtown Detroit, and Pontiac, Michigan. Amtrak continued Penn Central Detroit–Ann Arbor commuter service as the Michigan Executive until 1984.

In May 2009 SEMCOG commissioned a $200,000 study to determine whether commuter trains could operate along the same corridor as Amtrak intercity passenger trains and freight trains.[2] As of November 2012 limited service for special events in Detroit was scheduled to begin in early 2013, while regular commuter service was scheduled for 2014, after further track upgrades are completed.[3] As of October 2013 no operating funds had been identified and service was at least two years out.[4]

From November 12 to 14, 2012, testing of the railcar fleet by an Amtrak GE Dash 8-32BWH locomotive took place between Pontiac and Jackson; while service will only initially operate between Ann Arbor and Detroit, testing the fleet on additional trackage eases the process required for future expansion to Jackson and Pontiac.[3] The locomotives have not yet been tested.

The plan was folded into the RTA's master plan in May 2016.[5] The service is estimated to cost $11-$19 million to operate annually, and $130 million in capital costs to start. The service is scheduled to begin in 2022.[5]


The service is proposed to operate eight round-trips during each day: three during morning and afternoon rush-hours, one during the midday, and one in the evening.[6] An end-to-end ride is estimated to take 45 minutes, and there would be stops at Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Wayne, Dearborn and the New Center neighborhood in Detroit. Of these stops, four are existing or proposed Amtrak stations, and one (Wayne) would be a new station used exclusively for the regional rail service.[6] At Wayne, a shuttle bus connection would be offered to Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Rolling stock[edit]

SEMCOG Commuter Rail's rolling stock are all ex-Metra Budd bi-level gallery-type cars as the passenger cars and the locomotives are ex-GO Transit EMD F59PH units currently owned by RB Railway Leasing.[7] SEMCOG has painted its rolling stock. Like on Metra cab cars, SEMCOG's cab cars have red and white warning stripes at the front. They have plates that say "MiTrain" on the sides.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Master Plan". Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Stolarz, Christina (May 21, 2009). "SEMCOG to spend $200K on Ann Arbor-Detroit rail study". Detroit News. Retrieved May 21, 2009. [dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Michigan tests cars for future commuter service". Trains Magazine. November 13, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2012. (subscription required)
  4. ^ Regional Transit: Where Does Ann Arbor Fit?
  5. ^ a b Fleming, Leonard N. (20 May 2016). "RTA wants Detroit-Ann Arbor commuter rail service". Jonathan Wolman. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  6. ^ a b "Michigan Avenue Corridor Study Locally Preferred Alternative Report DRAFT May 2016" (PDF). Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan. Retrieved 4 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Ann Arbor-Downtown Detroit Transit Study: Detailed Screening of Alternatives

External links[edit]