Supporter of the restoration of passenger rail services between Michigan and Ontario were presently surprised lately.
In the Amtrak 2020 General and Legislative Report there is a line item titled, Restoration of the Detroit–Toronto Service" on page 7. The amount of money needed is "to be determined."
The idea of of having trains connecting from Chicago, through Detroit/Windsor can become reality.
There are significant hurdles to go through to make this happen:
- getting permission to use running rights from freight companies,
- improving/adding to track infrastructure
- moving VIA Rail station to former site of Canada Southern station site, or connecting to existing VIA Rail station
- federal government funding from Canada and USA
- funding from the province of Ontario and state of Michigan
- support from VIA Rail Canada and the Cities of Detroit and Windsor for the idea
- resolving customs/border issues
- completing restoration of Detroit's Michigan Central Railway Station to allow for use of tracks again.
The Detroit/Windsor Railway Tunnel (known historically as the Michigan Central tunnel) is majority owned by Borealis Infrastructure, the infrastructure investment advisory and management arm of OMERS, the Canadian-based pension plan for Ontario’s municipal employees. CP Rail uses the tunnel and maintains a 16% ownership in it. Support from Borealis would be also a critical factor in making the restoration of Detroit/Windsor Passenger rail service a reality.
On a positive note, the historic Detroit Michigan Central Station is now owned by the Ford family.
Here is a timetable of the Niagara Rainbow.
Past Cross Border Trains
The Amtrak Niagara Rainbow which ran between Detroit - via Ontario - Buffalo - New York ceased service in 1979.
The VIA Rail/Amtrak International Chicago-Port Huron- Toronto ceased operations in 2004
Let us hope in the future we see the return of passenger trains through Detroit and Windsor!