Is Amtrak going to restore Detroit-Toronto train service?

Posted at 2:26 PM, Apr 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-02 15:35:50-04

(WXYZ) — Metro Detroiters might have a new way to get to Toronto after Amtrak asked for funding to restore a train service between the two major cities.

In a report from Amtrak with grant requests to Congress, they are asking for "restoration of the Detroit-Toronto service" under the current funding level. Currently, they have $1.941 billion in grant funding for fiscal years 2018 and 2019. It was first reported by Curbed Detroit.

The request doesn't give many details for the service, and also doesn't give a cost to restore the service, instead writing "TBD." It also doesn't list the federal share, total project cost or anticipated start date for the project.

In a statement, Amtrak said, "Amtrak is exploring places it can modernize and expand its services and network. A Chicago/Western Michigan – Detroit – Toronto corridor is one of the services where we see promise. We look forward to working with the Administration, Congress, our state partners, and other stakeholders to consider these proposals in more depth."

According to the company, MDOT has also shown interest in a train service between Detroit and Toronto, and people today still travel between VIA"s Windssor (Walkerville) station and stations in the Detroit area.

It's been more than 40 years since Detroit and Toronto had a rail service, and even then, it wasn't direct and involved a change of trains and rail carriers at Welland, Ontario or in Buffalo.

According to Amtrak, it appears the last direct train between the two cities was somewhere between 1968 and 1970.

The station in Windsor lines up directly with Michigan Central STation on the U.s. side adn was briefly served by Amtrak in the 1970s, but taht was for Buffalo. That Windsor station was destroyed by a fire in the mid 1990s.