What is the status of getting roll-on bicycle service for Michigan’s Amtrak trains?
MDOT told us we’d have it over a year ago. That didn’t happen.
A March article on MLive showed that Amtrak isn’t even close on this and that it’s become a bigger issue beyond Michigan.
“We’re committed — in new equipment purchases there will be space for bicycles,” [Amtrak Chairman Thomas] Carper said. “How we retrofit old equipment that’s going to be phased out over the next two, three, four, five years — some of the equipment is older than I am. So there’s a balance, a cost balance in there. How we retrofit, there’s some engineering things that need to be taken into consideration.”
He added that upgrading Michigan’s rail service for bicycles could likely come as part of an upgrade across the entire Midwest Amtrak fleet.
Last week MDOT released a press released on the U.S. DOT’s plans to buy 130 new rail cars, 25 of which would be used on Amtrak’s Michigan lines.
Rail car manufacturers across the country will have an opportunity to submit bids to produce the first American-made, standardized passenger rail cars, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today.
The $551 million Request for Proposals (RFP) to manufacture approximately 130 new bi-level passenger rail cars in America comes from a groundbreaking multi-state effort to jointly purchase standardized rail equipment to be used on Amtrak’s intercity routes in California, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Missouri, and potentially Iowa.
These new railcars “will also offer greater bicycle storage.”
Bids are due in a little over a month and the new rail cars will be delivered starting in mid-2015.
What we don’t know is how many existing railcars will be retrofitted to provide roll-on service sooner.