Amtrak en Amtrak is offering free rides to writers <p>There's quite an excited buzz happening among the ranks of writers.</p><p>Amtrak is putting together a "writers' residency" program – free, or-nearly free – train rides to writers.</p><p>You write while you're chugging along the tracks, send out a few tweets about your travels and let Amtrak interview you for their blog at the end of your trip.</p><p>Today, we found out how this came about, how it might work, and who might be eligible.</p><p>Our "resident expert" in all things Amtrak, Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, joined us today.</p><p><em>– Listen to the audio above.</em></p><p> Thu, 06 Mar 2014 21:48:50 +0000 Stateside Staff 16750 at Amtrak is offering free rides to writers Weather stalls Amtrak train for 8.5 hours in Michigan <div><p>NILES,&nbsp;Mich. (AP) - An Amtrak train carrying more than 200 people has arrived in Chicago after weather-related problems caused it to stop for more than eight hours in southwestern Michigan.</p><p>Amtrak spokesman Marc&nbsp;Magliari&nbsp;says the train's engine lost power Sunday due to cold weather. But he says heat, lights and restrooms still worked.</p><p>The train started in Pontiac, north of Detroit, and had trouble between Niles and New Buffalo in the corner of southwestern Michigan. It was later connected to another westbound train and arrived in Chicago around 1:30 a.m. CST Monday.</p><p>Magliari&nbsp;says passengers may have been frustrated but they were always safe on the stalled train. He says it was better to keep them on the train rather than switch to buses, even if buses were available.</p> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 15:56:55 +0000 The Associated Press 15891 at Weather stalls Amtrak train for 8.5 hours in Michigan Amtrak adding trains in Michigan during Christmas & New Year's holidays <p>AAA Michigan estimates 2.9 million Michiganders will be traveling more than 50 miles during the holiday season.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p></p><p>Many of them will be traveling by train.</p><p></p><p>Marc Magliari is with Amtrak. He says Amtrak is adding extra trains in Michigan to accommodate increased demand during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.</p><p></p><p>“We’re adding trains across Michigan during the busy holiday season because our other trains are selling out,” says Magliari.</p><p></p> Wed, 25 Dec 2013 14:24:53 +0000 Steve Carmody 15827 at Amtrak adding trains in Michigan during Christmas & New Year's holidays Michigan Amtrak is getting faster and better <p>&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s take the train.&rdquo; It seems more and more of us are saying those words these days.</p><p>A record 793,000 passengers hopped aboard Amtrak&rsquo;s three Michigan routes last year and revenue grew to $27.8 million. And there are some changes coming down the track that should make the traveling faster and better for train passengers in Michigan.</p><p>Tim Hoeffner, rail director at the Michigan Department of Transportation, joined us today.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p> Mon, 14 Oct 2013 21:14:28 +0000 Stateside Staff 14835 at Michigan Amtrak is getting faster and better Michigan's Amtrak subsidy is about to triple <p>Beginning Tuesday, the subsidy that Amtrak gets from the state of Michigan is about to triple, from $8 million to nearly $25 million a year.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>The reason for the increase is a 2008 federal law that requires greater cost sharing between the federal government and the states where Amtrak operates.</p> Sun, 29 Sep 2013 17:41:00 +0000 Steve Carmody 14619 at Michigan's Amtrak subsidy is about to triple Amtrak gets ready to start track improvements <div><p>JACKSON,&nbsp;Mich. (AP) - Amtrak is getting ready to start the first of three Michigan train track improvement phases for the 2013 construction season.</p><p>Work begins next Monday east of Jackson. The project is expected to cause some delays and modified schedules, but Amtrak says it will result in upgraded tracks and more reliable service for Amtrak Wolverine Service trains as part of the Accelerated Rail Program.</p><p>When all 2013 phases of the project are complete in November, more than 30 miles of new track will be installed.</p><p>The Michigan Department of Transportation is leading a three-state effort to improve the 300-mile corridor from Pontiac and Detroit across Michigan, through northwest Indiana and to Chicago. Train speeds will increase to up to 110 miles per hour in more places.</p> Wed, 04 Sep 2013 16:27:21 +0000 The Associated Press 14262 at Amtrak gets ready to start track improvements New trains to be built for higher speed rail in the Midwest <p><span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;">States in the Midwest are moving forward with their plans to increase the speed of passenger trains.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;">The <a href="">Federal Railroad Administration announced</a> that several states will join together to purchase new passenger rail equipment:</span></p><blockquote><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: OpenSansRegular, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 16px;">The Request for Proposals (RFP) to manufacture approximately 35 new diesel-electric locomotives in America comes from a groundbreaking multi-state effort to jointly purchase standardized rail equipment to be used on state corridor routes in <strong>Illinois, Michigan, Missouri and Iowa</strong> in the Midwest and Washington, California, and Oregon on the West Coast.&nbsp;</span></p></blockquote><p>The FRA has set aside $808 million for the purchase of the locomotives and for 130 new bi-level train cars.</p><p> Fri, 09 Aug 2013 14:39:48 +0000 Mark Brush 13912 at New trains to be built for higher speed rail in the Midwest Michigan's Amtrak subsidy will see a huge jump in October <p>There's no doubt about it, more of us are climbing aboard Amtrak trains than ever before.</p><p>The three lines that Amtrak runs in Michigan are often packed, especially that Detroit to Chicago Wolverine Line.</p><p>Come this October, the State of Michigan's tab for Amtrak will jump. The subsidy will go from $8 million a year to around $25 million.</p><p>Why is that happening? What does this mean for you, the taxpayer, and for Amtrak and its passengers?</p><p>Adie Tomer is with the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program and he's a member of the Metropolian Infrastructure Initiative.</p><p>He joined us today from Washington.</p><p><em>Listen to the full interview above.</em></p><p> Tue, 16 Jul 2013 21:35:36 +0000 Stateside Staff 13559 at Michigan's Amtrak subsidy will see a huge jump in October Amtrak derails in Port Huron this morning, no injuries reported <p>More from the <a href="">Port Huron Times Herald</a>:</p><blockquote><p>Crews are investigating the scene just south of 22nd and Railroad streets in Port Huron where an Amtrak locomotive derailed this morning.</p><p>The trailing locomotive derailed shortly after departure about 6:20 a.m. from the station on 16th Street, said Marc Magliari, Amtrak spokesman.</p><p>There were 14 passengers on the train, but there were no injuries.</p><p>The locomotive is expected to be disconnected from the rest of the train soon so it can continue on to Chicago, Magliari said.</p></blockquote><p>Holly Setter posted this picture of the derailed locomotive on Twitter:</p><p></p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>At the site of an @<a href="">amtrak</a> trailing locomotive derailment in <a href="">#PortHuron</a> <a href="" title="">…</a></p>— Holly Setter (@hsetter) <a href="">March 27, 2013</a></blockquote><p><br> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 15:27:22 +0000 Mark Brush 11887 at Amtrak derails in Port Huron this morning, no injuries reported NTSB issues recommendations after railroad accidents in Michigan and illinois. <p>NILES, Mich. (AP) - Federal officials say railroad accidents last year in Michigan and Illinois were caused by workers not following required safety precautions.<br><br>The National Transportation Safety Board said Friday that both the Feb. 28 accident in Madison, Ill., and the Oct. 21 accident near the southwestern Michigan city of Niles involved signal maintenance operations. It issued recommendations to address the improper use of jumper wires during maintenance and repairs.<br> Sat, 09 Mar 2013 22:09:35 +0000 The Associated Press 11616 at Coast-to-coast high speed rail map: fantasy to reality? <p>The “road trip” has forever been romanticized as the epitome of carefree, coming-of-age adventures. But what if instead of hopping into your car, you could jump on a train and arrive at the other side of the country in the same day?</p><p>Berkeley graphic artist Alfred Twu&nbsp;created a map of a potential high speed rail system for the United States.</p> Tue, 26 Feb 2013 17:03:30 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 11376 at Coast-to-coast high speed rail map: fantasy to reality? Michigan gearing up for high-speed train expansion <p>LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Michigan Department of Transportation and Amtrak are saying full speed ahead on expanding the state's high-speed train service.</p><p>Amtrak will take over maintenance on the former Norfolk Southern Railway route used by Amtrak's Wolverine Service and Blue Water trains Feb. 16.</p><p>MDOT purchased 135 miles of the railroad last year.</p><p>MDOT says this will allow track improvements to begin to bring more areas high-speed train service. The department says improvements may begin as early as this spring.</p><p>Amtrak trains currently reach 110 mph along an 80-mile stretch between Porter, Ind. and Kalamazoo. The expansion of the high-speed service is expected to start between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek and head eastward.</p><p>MDOT and Amtrak say the goal is to get passengers between Chicago and Detroit in about 5 hours. Thu, 14 Feb 2013 20:25:45 +0000 The Associated Press 11243 at Michigan gearing up for high-speed train expansion Report: Midwest firms could benefit from high-speed rail <p>CHICAGO (AP) - An environmental policy group has identified hundreds of Midwest manufacturers that stand to benefit from the web of high-speed rail routes emerging from Chicago.<br><br>A report released Friday by the Environmental Law &amp; Policy Center says 460 supply-chain manufacturers in seven Midwest states are poised to reap new business, along with a dozen highly visible companies that make rail cars and locomotives.<br> Sat, 09 Feb 2013 21:11:14 +0000 The Associated Press 11167 at Report: Midwest firms could benefit from high-speed rail Stateside: Train travel up in Michigan <p><em>The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above. </em></p><p>More and more of us not just here in Michigan, but across the nation, are traveling by train and turning to Amtrak.</p><p>Its trains carried 31.2 million passengers in its fiscal year that ended last September.</p><p>Here in Michigan, a record-setting 793,000 people traveled on Amtrak's three routes, bringing in all-time high revenues of $27.8 million in Michigan.<br><br>What's behind our growing affection for the train?<br><br>Adie Tomar is a researcher with the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank.</p><p>He joined us from Washington.</p><p> Wed, 06 Feb 2013 23:08:47 +0000 Stateside Staff 11122 at Stateside: Train travel up in Michigan Amtrak Wolverine train jumps rails near Niles <p>An Amtrak passenger train bound for Detroit derailed Sunday morning near Niles, MI.</p><p>The train cars, carrying 174 passengers and 4 crew members, stayed upright and remained in line with each other despite jumping the rails.</p><p>From <a href="|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE">the Detroit Free Press</a>:</p> Mon, 22 Oct 2012 16:14:42 +0000 Michigan Radio Newsroom 9555 at Amtrak Wolverine train jumps rails near Niles In this morning's news... <p><strong>State could be forced to pay new Detroit officials&#39; salaries</strong></p><p>Under the consent agreement with the state, the city of Detroit will have to appoint new officials to lead the city out of its financial crisis. Who will pay the salaries for these new officials is a new bone of contention according to Jonathan Oosting at <a href="">MLive</a>:</p><blockquote><p>The [consent] agreement... requires the formation of a nine-member Financial Advisory Board to oversee city budgets and hiring of a Program Management Director to oversee implementation of key initiatives.</p><p>The deal calls for the city and state to split the salaries of advisory board members, who each will make $25,000 a year, while the city is required to cover the full salary of the PMD, expected to earn triple figures.</p><p>As <a href=""> first reported this weekend</a>, some city leaders believe the state may end up assuming full responsibility for those costs.</p></blockquote><p>Some council members feel the Headlee Act prevents the state from mandating new services without compensating the city for those services.</p><p>Oosting reports Detroit City Council is expected to meet in a closed door session with the city&#39;s law department this afternoon.</p><p><strong>U.S. Attorney General says violence in Detroit is &quot;unacceptable&quot;</strong></p><p>U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told thousands of people gathered at an NAACP fundraising dinner that violence in Detroit is &quot;unacceptable.&quot;<br /><br />He told the crowd last night in Detroit that his administration is directing &quot;unprecedented&quot; resources nationally in order to reduce young people&#39;s exposure to crime.<br /><br />Holder said an average of two young black men get killed each week in Detroit. He called the statistic &quot;shocking.&quot;</p><p><strong>Higher train speeds between Detroit and Chicago</strong></p><p>U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says Michigan, Illinois and Indiana are each contributing $200,000 for a study looking into the creation of a high-speed rail corridor between Chicago and Detroit.</p><p>LaHood says the study will seek ways to cut Amtrak passenger train times between the cities and to more efficiently move goods.</p><p>The Department of Transportation says the study will build on the progress that Michigan has made in achieving 110 mile per hour service between Kalamazoo and Porter, Indiana. Mon, 07 May 2012 14:19:24 +0000 Mark Brush & Michigan Radio Newsroom 7363 at In this morning's news... Lansing motorist killed in crash with Amtrak train <p>DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Officials say the driver of a car who was killed in a collision with an Amtrak train near Lansing drove around lowered gates at a road crossing.</p><p>The Eaton County Sheriff&#39;s Office continued to investigate the accident Friday.</p><p>The driver of the car who was killed was identified as Hermes Fernandez-Lopez. The 39-year-old was from Lansing.</p><p>No one on the train was reported injured in the Thursday night accident.</p><p>The train was travelling from Chicago to Port Huron with about 145 passengers when it struck the vehicle shortly after 9:10 p.m., authorities said. Train passengers left the scene on buses.<br /> Fri, 17 Feb 2012 20:28:22 +0000 The Associated Press 6266 at Lansing motorist killed in crash with Amtrak train Amtrak gets green light for higher train speeds in Michigan and Indiana <p>Maximum train speeds on Amtrak&#39;s Wolverine and Blue Water lines can increase to 110 m.p.h. on an 80 mile stretch of track between Kalamazoo and Porter, Indiana.</p><p>Amtrak and MDOT officials say the higher speed is the fastest allowed outside the Northeast Corridor.</p><p>Amtrak&#39;s Acela Express train, which travels between Boston and Washington D.C., can reach speeds up to 150 m.p.h.</p><p>Approval was given after successful testing of a &quot;positive train control safety system&quot; installed on the tracks.</p><p>From an Amtrak and MDOT press release:</p> Tue, 07 Feb 2012 19:17:16 +0000 Mark Brush 6128 at Amtrak gets green light for higher train speeds in Michigan and Indiana Chicago-bound Amtrak train in Michigan derails near Jackson <p><strong>Update&nbsp;3:15&nbsp;p.m. </strong>- <strong>Workers hope to reopen rail line tomorrow</strong></p><p>10 people were injured today&nbsp;when an Amtrak train&nbsp;collided&nbsp;with&nbsp;a&nbsp;semi-truck between Ann Arbor and Jackson.&nbsp;&nbsp; None of the injuries were life-threatening.</p><p>The accident derailed the train&rsquo;s engine and two passenger cars.&nbsp;&nbsp; The collision also heavily damaged the tracks and the crossing.&nbsp;</p><p>But a company spokesman says they hope to reopen the line by tomorrow morning.</p><p>David Pidgeon&nbsp;is a spokesman for Norfolk-Southern,&nbsp;which owns and operates the railroad that runs across southern&nbsp;Michigan.</p><p>&nbsp;&ldquo;Six passenger trains a day use that particular line&hellip;and another four to five trains of freight (a day) also use that line,&quot; says Pidgeon,&nbsp;&quot;So we need to get that line open&hellip;as safely and efficiently as possible.&rdquo;</p><p>While the section of track is being repaired, passengers are making part of their&nbsp;trip by bus.</p><p><strong>2:17 p.m. - 10 injured</strong></p><p><a href=""></a> reports that &quot;a total of 10 people were injured&quot; in this morning&#39;s Amtrak derailment in Leoni Township.</p><blockquote><p><br />Blackman-Leoni Township Public Safety Director Mike Jester said all were taken to Allegiance Health with non-life threatening injuries. <a href="">Authorities had previously reported six injured.</a></p></blockquote><p><strong>11:50 a.m. - Passengers re-routed</strong></p><p>A&nbsp;westbound Amtrak train collided with a truck this morning between Jackson&nbsp;and Ann Arbor.</p><p>There were no life-threatening injuries. The collision left the train&rsquo;s engine on its&nbsp;side and knocked two passenger cars off the tracks.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Marc Magliari&nbsp;is an Amtrak spokesman. He says&nbsp; Amtrak will&nbsp;bus passengers around the crash site while repairs are under way.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Passengers who are ticketed &hellip;let&rsquo;s say eastbound passed Jackson&hellip;would be taken by chartered motorcoach&hellip;to the Ann Arbor station where they&rsquo;ll meet another train and continue on,&quot; says&nbsp;Magliari.</p><p>&nbsp;It&rsquo;s unclear how long it will take to remove the derailed train and repair the&nbsp;damage done to the rails.&nbsp;</p><p>About a half million passengers rode on Amtrak&rsquo;s Wolverine line last year.&nbsp;</p><p>Here&#39;s video from the Jackson Citizen Patriot speaking with Blackman-Leoni Township Public&nbsp;Safety Director Mike Jester:</p><p><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase=",0,47,0" height="365" id="flashObj" width="430"><param name="movie" value="" /><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF" /><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=1427744067001&amp;playerID=651115162001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAPLMHynE~,3KukkscVbrEaULHGrPBD-FoQnY1FuvwU&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" /><param name="base" value="" /><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" base="" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=1427744067001&amp;playerID=651115162001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAPLMHynE~,3KukkscVbrEaULHGrPBD-FoQnY1FuvwU&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" height="365" name="flashObj" pluginspage="" seamlesstabbing="false" src="" swliveconnect="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="430"></embed></object> Wed, 01 Feb 2012 20:15:31 +0000 Steve Carmody, Michigan Radio Newsroom & The Associated Press 6042 at Chicago-bound Amtrak train in Michigan derails near Jackson Riding the Rails <p><font color="#000000" face="Arial" id="role_document" size="2"><font size="4"><font size="4"><font size="4"><font size="4">I have been traveling by air for most of my adult life, and for a few years, flew somewhere at least once a week.</font></font></font></font></font></p> Mon, 30 Jan 2012 16:12:35 +0000 Jack Lessenberry 6002 at Riding the Rails