M-1 Rail Almost Complete, Expected To Open By Spring 2017

DETROIT (WWJ) — After two years, construction of the M-1 QLINE rail project is about 80 percent complete, officials say.

Developers say the orange barrels lining Woodward Avenue should be gone by Thanksgiving. M-1 Chief Operating Officer Paul Childs told WWJ Newsradio 950 that a public information period will have to happen before the rail system becomes operational.

“[It will be] to educate the drivers, the delivery people, the post office, FedEx, the beer truck delivery,” Childs said. “All of those people dropping people off in front of buildings — valets — all of those things have to be educated and worked through. They’re related to starting the system up and assuring a safe and reliable ride for our customers.”

The QLINE rail system — priced at $142 million — will include six custom-made rail cars and is expected to be rolling by Spring 2017.

The northbound side of the rail line is actually already completed, Childs says.

“If I had a car today and had a fully charged battery I could come all the way up to the Tech Center on rail,” Childs said.

The cost of a walk up ticket to ride the 3.3-mile rail system — going from W. Grand Boulevard in the New Center area to Grand Circus Park — will be $1.50.

Billionaire Dan Gilbert and his company Quicken Loans were allowed the naming rights after Gilbert donated nearly $10 million to the $140 million project.

“The launch of QLINE marks a significant moment in the development of Detroit. Quicken Loans is proud to play our part in the beginning stages of modernizing the transit system in our burgeoning urban core,” said Jay Farner, president and chief marketing officer of Quicken Loans.

The company says it expects QLINE to “become a catalyst for economic growth,” as has been in other communities that have implemented similar streetcar systems, including Portland, Dallas, Denver and Seattle.

The federal government also committed more than $37 million.

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