With the unofficial end of the summer travel season, plans are continuing to connect Ann Arbor with Northern Michigan by train.
A feasibility study is underway to begin passenger train service between Ann Arbor and Traverse City. Jim Lively is program director for the Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities in Traverse City, which is conducting the study. He says they are looking at several different aspects including what interested passengers might expect.
"It's roughly a four-hour car ride. Would people accept a five-hour train ride? And how much might they be willing to pay?"
Lively says there are a lot of different questions that need to be answered as part of their study, including what is the market demand and what are the track conditions. Freight trains currently travel the projected path. And, ultimately, it would need to be determined who would operate and manage what is being called "A2 TC." Lively says the trip they are planning for would include more than just sitting on a train.
"We see having local food, local beer and wine on this train, as well as local music and entertainment in the cars."
Before they begin regular passenger rail service between Ann Arbor and Traverse City, developers are envisioning special excursion trips that could begin as soon as next fall.