Amtrak considers restoring Detroit to Toronto Service.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, January 4, 2020 1:16 PM

Dr D
I would like to hear from anyone who finds the Pontiac to Detroit train service at all convenient?

I lived in the area prior to that service extension (first Southfield, MI, then Inkster, MI).   Agree with your assessment of Dearborn and I have a real hard time believing that ridership would significantly disappear given those same exact people drive to Detroit Metro Airport to catch a plane (very close to the MC tracks).    All of the sudden they are not going to make that same drive for the train?   Really?   Most of them did before the service extension.    Sure the service extension added a few more riders due to convienece but I don't think it is a make or break the train sort of deal.    And Detroit is a very nice counterweight politically to anyone living in the suburbs.   Pretty sure Detroit will get a through train if the Ford family wants it that way.

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, January 4, 2020 2:07 PM

Just a comment on a few prior posts...I don't think that TSA or ICE would have anything to do with Amtrak crossborder trains.  Any border inspections would be done by US Customs.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, January 4, 2020 2:32 PM

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) since 2003. It would check passports and visas, but security if it would be required is part of TSA. 

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, January 4, 2020 4:07 PM

CBP is the parent agency of US Customs and US Border Patrol.  ICE and TSA are separate agencies.  All are under DHS.  Customs operates recognized border crossing locations.  Border Patrol covers areas between border crossings looking for illegal crossings.  ICE is mainly concerned with organized crime smuggling material or human trafficking.  I associate with members of all 3 on a weekly basis.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Saturday, January 4, 2020 7:25 PM

Thanks for the clarification.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Saturday, January 4, 2020 7:55 PM

In 2018 the three suburban stations north of Detroit had a total of 73,477 passengers.  Detroit had 65,548 and Dearborn had 72,270.  So the suburban group is as significant as either of the other two.

https://www.railpassengers.org/site/assets/files/3465/22.pdf

As far as Michigan Legislature's interest in international traffic, look at the proposed international highway bridge.  Detroit is one of the busiest, in not the busiest, US-Canada border crossing.  It relies on a bridge and a tunnel that are almost a century old, and at capacity.  The auto industry heavily relies on it.  With NAFTA a new bridge was viewed as a no-brainer.  Nevertheless, the Mich. Legislature refused to spend a penny on it.  It's only being built because Canada stepped-up to finance the whole thing.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, January 4, 2020 8:44 PM

It's my understanding that we are also paying for a new US customs building on US soil, under ' foreign aid' !! 

Oh well, you're welcome. 

 

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Posted by Backshop on Sunday, January 5, 2020 7:45 AM

I believe that part of the reason that Michigan didn't want to chip in for a new bridge is because of who didn't want it.  I'm sure there were plenty of campaign contributions.  It's the same person who used to own the MC station and let it go to hell.  The antithesis of the Fords, Illitchs and Gilberts.

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, January 5, 2020 11:41 AM

Backshop-- 100% correct. Fought it tooth and nail. 

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Posted by Backshop on Sunday, January 5, 2020 1:38 PM

The bad thing is that if the old saying "only the good die young" is true, he could live forever...

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Posted by MidlandMike on Sunday, January 5, 2020 9:59 PM

Miningman

It's my understanding that we are also paying for a new US customs building on US soil, under ' foreign aid' !! 

Oh well, you're welcome. 

 

 

But the toll plaza will be built on the Canadian side and they will keep the tolls.  Your welcome.

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Posted by daveklepper on Sunday, January 5, 2020 10:05 PM

Some good people in history did have long lives.  Queen Elizabeth might be a modern example. 

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, January 5, 2020 10:14 PM

Midland Mike--  "But the toll plaza will be built on the Canadian side and they will keep the tolls.  Your welcome."

Heh, heh, ... you bet. Thanks.

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Posted by Dr D on Monday, January 6, 2020 4:21 AM

Midland Mike,

The US Customs for airline flights exists in Toronto and clears overseas travelers before they fly into the USA.  The US Customs building in Canada is thought out along new similar lines.  I am not sure but this may have started during the Obama era but it seems strange in a traditional sense.

Before the 9/11 incident the citizens of Detroit enjoyed a wide open access to each other across the international border.  One could enjoy the water travel freely between both countries.  Eat at restaurants on both sides of the river at will with little care from either nation.  This has all radically changed.  Canadians can come and go still without much care from their govenment.  For the US Citizen this is not so.  You cannot land or anchor in Canada or recieve passengers from Canada without calling and going thru US Customs.

I believe that according to the US Patriot Act the US Govenment my evesdrop on all phone and communications without obtaining legal permission within 9 miles of any US border.  So living in Detroit is a city with heavy US govenmental supervision.  Illegal immigration across the Detroit border is a very serious problem and much of the illegal imigration from the far east comes thru and much is un opposed.  Canada has very little in the way of US type national security in the traditional sense of understanding and relies to some degree on the US.

The Canadiam Border is patrolled by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Maratime Officers and of course the Windsor Police and occasionally the Canadian Navy.  The Queen of England is the monarch of Canada and the Parlament meets with her permission.  This is something most Americans are not too familiar with as they are ignorant of their own written Constitution and Bill of Rights which do not exist in England.  England has a traditional and unwritten constitution. 

I am somewhat familiar with this as a Marine Safety Officer and Vice Flotilla Commander in the US Coast Guard Auxilliary.  I do spend some time with the Air and Marine Patrol of the border.

----------------------

Dr. D

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, January 6, 2020 7:53 AM

Backshop

I believe that part of the reason that Michigan didn't want to chip in for a new bridge is because of who didn't want it.  I'm sure there were plenty of campaign contributions.  It's the same person who used to own the MC station and let it go to hell.  The antithesis of the Fords, Illitchs and Gilberts.

 

Who was that? 

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, January 6, 2020 8:46 AM

Manuel "Matty" Maroun.  I noticed the latest Trains article on the MC station treaded very lightly on him being the prior owner, not even mentioning him by name.  His lawyers probably contacted them.  Not a nice man, IMHO.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manuel_Moroun

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, January 6, 2020 9:16 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NYFq7ZJg4c

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, January 6, 2020 9:26 AM

Revising a previous proposal account of where the tracks go:  Dearborn - Toronto service, not Detroit - Toronto service.  Stopping at Ford-NC, of course.

Day train:  connection to Chicago at Dearborn

Night train:  Through, buses between suburbs and F-MC

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Posted by 54light15 on Monday, January 6, 2020 9:46 AM

I went over the Ambassador bridge a few years ago and asked the US customs guy if it was true that Matty Maroun owned the bridge. I still find it hard to grasp that one man could own that thing. He went into a 5 minute rant about his working conditions, how the building he works out of is falling apart and the US pays Maroun a million dollars a year to use it. He was not too happy about it to say the least. He also said and other people I met in Windsor said that Maroun owned most of the land along both river banks and all the buildings located on that land. I guess the locations for the new bridge were not owned by him. 

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, January 6, 2020 11:17 AM

Correct.  He buys up property and doesn't maintain it.  He just doesn't want anyone else to be able to do anything near his properties.  One of his main trucking companies, PAM Transport, is considered in the Bottom 3 of the worst companies.  The other two are generally considered to be CRST and CR England.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, January 6, 2020 1:09 PM

If he doesn't maintain property,  it can be cleaned up by a local government and charge him.  If he won't pay,  the property could be seized.  Sounds like officials are bribed by him to look the other way. 

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, January 6, 2020 1:17 PM

60 minutes did an expose on him years back. 

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, January 6, 2020 2:19 PM

charlie hebdo

If he doesn't maintain property,  it can be cleaned up by a local government and charge him.  If he won't pay,  the property could be seized.  Sounds like officials are bribed by him to look the other way. 

 

It's not that easy.  Just like big government can do, he kept drawing things out.  Civil fines are pocket change to him and if you seize the building, you're stuck with a dilapidated building that he let go to seed.  One judge did find him in contempt and threw him in jail for the night.  You should have seen the look on his face.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Monday, January 6, 2020 5:20 PM

charlie hebdo
If he doesn't maintain property,  it can be cleaned up by a local government and charge him.  If he won't pay,  the property could be seized.  Sounds like officials are bribed by him to look the other way. 

This was Detroit in the 1990's which was pretty much a failed state by any measure of the phrase.   The Detroit of today, post bankruptcy.....can apply a lot more pressure to an individual then the Detroit of the 1990's.    Pretty sure that is why he sold it finally.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Monday, January 6, 2020 5:32 PM

He sounds somewhat deranged. 

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, January 6, 2020 6:11 PM

charlie hebdo

He sounds somewhat deranged. 

 

He is.  He did an interview, probably the only one he's ever done, with the Detroit News several (many) years ago.  Even though he was one of the biggest union busters in the trucking industry, he claimed that Jimmy Hoffa and him were "buds" from way back...I don't think so.  What I got out of the interview was that he was picked on as a child and was now paying everybody back.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, January 6, 2020 9:58 PM

Dr D
Constitution and Bill of Rights which do not exist in England. 

England has a Bill of Rights.

https://www.history.com/topics/british-history/english-bill-of-rights

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Posted by GeoPRR on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 7:23 AM

blue streak 1 - You have answered a question that has bothered me for many years - When Amtrak was operating to Montreal, I had several personal experiences where the HEP was incapable of heating the consist when it got to about 12 cars, yet VIA seemed ok with larger consists in similar extreme cold.  The VIA system seems like a no-brainer.  Am I correct?

 Even better than the equipment between Canada and the U.S. on this line being 100% compatible, they will also share a pool of spare parts and can be fixed and/or maintained by VIA Rail in Canada or Amtrak in Chicago.   

That probably will not be true.  VIA uses a HEP system that allows for a split system.  Essentially 2 locos can provide separate HEP to alternate cars.  Power enters left fron and exits out right rear. Locos set up same way.  Amtrak HEP is all the same on both side of car and loco with just one loco allowed to provide HEP.

 

[/quote]

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Posted by CNSF on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 10:52 AM

Canada has its own constitution. The only connection to the UK is that we share the Queen as head of state. The UK could decide to ditch the monarchy and become a republic, and it would not affect Canada. The Queen would still be head of state of Canada until Canada decides otherwise.

As to the original topic, through trains are not the answer. The Toronto-New York train no longer has border clearance performed on board. Everyone and their luggage comes off for interrogation and possible search at Niagara Falls, and the train itself is searched for contraband. It takes at least an hour, sometimes more. Let's face it, the world has changed. Would you want to be the one seated next to the potentially armed terrorist or drug dealer when the on-board customs interrogation starts to get testy?

The far better solution is to pick one station and have multiple VIA and Amtrak trains terminate there. Instead of just one cross-border service daily, passengers could potentially make connections between all the Detroit-Chicago and Detroit-Toronto schedules. Ideally, this would be done at MC Station at Detroit/Windsor. Both Canada and US customs agents could be located there. Unfortunately, I believe that current US law precludes this, because it would not allow the Canadian border agents to enforce Canadian, rather than US, law on US soil. (That's why we have both US and Canadian customs clearance at most large Canadian airports, but not at any US airports) So, unless this changes, we'd have to build a new facility in Windsor and have Amtrak's Detroit trains terminate there.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 1:08 PM

CNSF
As to the original topic, through trains are not the answer. The Toronto-New York train no longer has border clearance performed on board. Everyone and their luggage comes off for interrogation and possible search at Niagara Falls, and the train itself is searched for contraband. It takes at least an hour, sometimes more. Let's face it, the world has changed. Would you want to be the one seated next to the potentially armed terrorist or drug dealer when the on-board customs interrogation starts to get testy? The far better solution is to pick one station and have multiple VIA and Amtrak trains terminate there. Instead of just one cross-border service daily, passengers could potentially make connections between all the Detroit-Chicago and Detroit-Toronto schedules. Ideally, this would be done at MC Station at Detroit/Windsor. Both Canada and US customs agents could be located there. Unfortunately, I believe that current US law precludes this, because it would not allow the Canadian border agents to enforce Canadian, rather than US, law on US soil. (That's why we have both US and Canadian customs clearance at most large Canadian airports, but not at any US airports) So, unless this changes, we'd have to build a new facility in Windsor and have Amtrak's Detroit trains terminate there.

Board the customs officials in Chicago and clear the folks as they get on the train.   Folks that are cleared sit in sealed passenger coaches behind the customs station on the train, folks that are not cleared sit in coaches in front of the customs station.    You can easily design a partition for the snack or dining car that serves both sealed and unsealed parts of the train.

Once the train reaches Detroit, then you only have to clear the Detroit passengers possibly the Dearborn passengers as well.   Hold the train until that is done, cross the border to Windsor where Canadian Customs detrains and the sealed cars are unsealed.     If a seal is broken en route then delay the train in Detroit for reclearence of the whole train.

I have a hunch that is how the Europeans did it, though the Europeans used placards on the side of the car next to the vestibule door showing some of the destinations where that car would go.   I only crossed the border into East Germany from West Germany and everyone remained on the train while East German customs made a sweep both on board the train and underneath then the train was sealed for the rest of the journey across East Germany and did not stop until Berlin.   Nobody had to leave the train.   The East German border was a LOT more strict than any U.S. Border crossing and the check there only took 20-30 min for a full train.    So the full hour nonsense is slow moving people.

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