Western Michigan groups explore passenger rail options

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HUDSONVILLE, Mich. — Passenger rail is a hot topic for a small western Michigan town.

City planners in Hudsonville are in talks with local transportation officials to possibly revive short-distance rail travel.

A Nov. 1 meeting hosted by Hudsonville City Manager Patrick Waterman brought together Tim Hoeffner from the Michigan Department of Transportation, Greg Holcombe of Urban Innovations, community members, and representatives of other groups that might have a stake in the proposed rail line.

Officials say trains could run approximately every hour on existing CSX Transportation tracks, with more possibly scheduled at peak hours. The once-daily Amtrak trains now operating along the same routes could then possibly be cancelled.

Waterman cautions that the project is still in the early stages and the "next logical step" is to conduct studies to establish the costs, determine potential ridership numbers, and establish the best form of technology to use on the route. Community leaders referred to an interurban line that operated 100 years ago that would have the same purpose as a modern service: Connecting the relatively small communities concerned.

See the original article online.
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