(Harbert, Michigan) You are surely getting the impression from recent postings on these pages that a certain member of this humble household on the West Coast of Michigan is bullish on Detroit. And he remains more bullish than ever after he and his dear wife Natalie and good friend Jay Samuelsson toured the Motor City and its environs last week. Jay and I are bullish, that is, but we will leave the negative view of Detroit to Natalie and another day. Actually, she just said it was such a sad place, but, she was heartened to see that whole sections of the once great city are now home to such creatures as: beaver, fox, and pheasant. Natalie does agree with Jay and me that Detroit is condensing around the center, and that the center is pulsing with the positive energy of young artistic types and dazzling urbanites. Where all this will lead, is anyone’s guess, but I do know for a fact that Alcoholics Anonymous will have their next international convention in Detroit, in July 2020. That alone is cause to celebrate in a sober fashion, but then there was this on the Trains Magazine Newsletter on 9/19/16. I offer the article in its entirety for your edification and to encourage you to visit Detroit some time soon and see for yourself:
DETROIT—Progress on Detroit’s new streetcar system is moving ahead of schedule. M-1 Rail’s QLine streetcar took delivery of its first streetcar this week—about two months ahead of initial projections, Crain’s Detroit Business reports. The ahead-of-schedule delivery will allow streetcar operators to begin regulatory testing earlier than expected. Project leaders are hoping that revenue passenger service can begin as early as April 2017. “Receiving the first QLine streetcar at this time will provide M-1 Rail a greater opportunity to help Detroiters acclimate to the idea of sharing the road with a streetcar, and give us additional time for driver training,” says M-1 Rail Chief Operating Officer Paul Childs. In the next few weeks, crews will conduct some final assembly work and mechanical inspections to the streetcar before it debuts for testing along Woodward Avenue. The cars will be serviced and maintained at M-1 Rail’s Penske Technical Center in the city’s New Center area. Brookville Equipment Corp. is building six streetcars for the system in Pennsylvania at a contract cost of about $32 million. Detroit’s M-1 project is a 3.3-mile streetcar system operating in the Woodward Avenue area of the city. The last streetcar system to operate in Detroit closed its doors in April 1956.
I am all about second chances, and so I believe that the coming of M-1 Rail’s QLine streetcar is yet another benchmark in the rebirth of a great American city. And, I might add, a city I have visited regularly since 1967 when I was told by the Detroit Police not to leave the hotel. We left the hotel last week and walked and drove all over Detroit, and we all returned, safe and sound, to share Motown’s good news. And don’t we all need some good news these day?