All aboard the QLINE

By: Ryan Burklow

More than 60 years after Detroit’s original streetcar system stopped operations, Gov. Rick Snyder joined Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Roger Penske, MDOT Director Kirk Steudle and other local and business leaders aboard the QLINE during its inaugural ride.

On April 27, after a brief presentation from individuals who were instrumental in getting the QLINE built, the group of dignitaries set out on the 6.6-mile loop down Woodward Ave. Once the rail system is open to the public, there will be 20 stops along the Woodward corridor, but during the inaugural ride the train made only two stops — the station named after Mr. Penske and the line’s most southern stop on Congress street.

“I’m confident that the QLINE will prove to be an instrumental part of Detroit’s continued comeback. This rail line will increase access to more Detroit businesses, further strengthening the city’s economic resurgence, leading to an enhanced quality of life for Detroit residents and all Michiganders.” Gov. Snyder said. “Thanks to many great local and federal partners, we now have an efficient, effective transportation system that will be used by millions of Michiganders and Detroit’s visitors from all over the world.”

The QLINE will officially open on May 12, and will offer free rides during the opening weekend. M-1 Rail, the non-profit organization overseeing the operation of the QLINE, expects an average of 5,000–8,000 riders per day. According to M-1 Rail, the six-car system will operate as a pair of two-car trains during regular operations, with the other two cars as backups or for use during especially busy times downtown.

While most streetcars like this are made outside of the United States, the QLINE cars are manufactured by the Brookville, Pennsylvania-based Brookville Equipment Corp. For safety reasons the cars are equipped with six internal cameras whose footage is recorded, and “black boxes” like the ones found on airplanes.

Reliable public transit is key to helping people get to jobs, education and medical care, the QLINE has the potential to dramatically increase the quality of life for all who call Detroit home.