Join us to participate in the upcoming 2019 City:One Challenge. 

Rail Line Extension Connecting Greenfield Village to Michigan Central Station

A plan to connect the rail line of Greenfield Village with the adjacent rail line that runs to and past the Michigan Central Station.

Photo of John Mohyi
5 3

Written by

The proposed idea primarily addresses mobility as an experience. The idea is to connect the train track at Greenfield Village with the adjacent train track just outside Greenfield Village that runs directly to the Michigan Central Station. Once connected, the Greenfield Village train can pick up passengers at the Michigan Central Station and provide the "lost in time" experience of an old fashion train picking one up from an old fashion train station. It would be an exciting experience that would draw locals and tourists from all over. 

Aside from the entertainment draw, there is also practical utility from having a rail connection from Corktown to Dearborn. For instance, since parking will likely be an issue in Corktown as the population increases with the new Michigan Central Station Ford Campus development, commuters/Ford Employees can park at the Greenfield Village and hop on the train to work at the Michigan Central Station. I for one think that would be awesome!

How will your solution benefit residents, workers, or visitors in the Michigan Central Station impact area? (1,000 characters)

The resident businesses would benefit from the increased traffic as a result of the train ride attraction, and the residents themselves would benefit from fewer vehicles commuting down the roads to the Michigan Central Station causing congestion.

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Insights from previous testing (500 characters)

Since I initially created the Michigan Central Station Preservation Society non-profit in 2009, I have been sharing my big idea of connecting the Michigan Central Station with Greenfield Village via an old fashion train. Everyone I have shared it with has loved the idea. I believe that reaction can be extrapolated to the general population.

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Mohyi Labs is a product development company and Think Tank with a focus in the mobility space. www.MohyiLabs.com www.Facebook.com/MohyiLabs

Size of your team or organization

  • I am submitting as an individual

Team or Organization URL

Although I set up and have run the Michigan Central Station Preservation Society (www.Facebook.com/MichiganCentral) since 2009, I am developing this mobility experience though Mohyi Labs www.MohyiLabs.com. Mohyi Labs is a startup product development company and think tank with a strong background in the mobility space. I am also an attorney and can apply that skill set to study and overcome any regulatory or otherwise paper based barrier.

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • No

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $250,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Greenfield village already has a train, so the objective would be to 1)determine the engineering obstacles to connect the rail tracks from Greenfield Village to the adjacent existing rail tracks leading to Michigan Central. I can use my product development skills here. The second obstacle would be to overcome any regulatory or other paper barriers. I can use my legal training to overcome these barriers. I estimate that the bulk of the 250,000 will be used toward the short stretch of rail itself.

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

I plan to obtain any blueprints or other specifications regarding both the rail line inside Greenfield Village as well as the rail line adjacent to it. Where no blueprints or specifications exist, I will measure and CAD these elements as well as consult with rail experts in the MCS Preservation Society community (facebook.com/MichiganCentral). The design will be placed into a virtual reality environment (that I have already started building) where the compatibility of components and equipment will be validated. Where there may be incompatibilities, proposed workarounds will be generated. I will do a regulatory analysis using both my general legal knowledge and the specialized legal knowledge I have gained while acting as a legal researcher for the state of Michigan on behalf of the Michigan Council on Future Mobility. I will also reach out to any government or corporate entities that may be incidentally involved or affected by the proposal and determine their level of support.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

A successful phase 1 would mean that all the engineering, legal, and financial barriers have been addressed and can be solved for within the constrains of the project. In contrast, a failed phase 1 would mean that some insurmountable challenge was discovered in the due diligence process that would make a successful implementation reasonably unattainable or undesirable. Assuming the exploratory phase 1 is successful, a successful pilot would entail proper execution of the engineering and paperwork (hopefully the paperwork won't weigh more than the train). I have no doubt that the initial launch will have great fanfare and be in high demand, but a true gauge of success would be 1) continued ridership demand consistently throughout the year or seasonally, 2) low congestion in Corktown from Ford employees commuting to the new Michigan Central Station campus, and 3) the indirect and direct profits are equal to or greater than operation costs.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Beyond sustainability, I believe there can be growth beyond the initial excitement. Proving a train can run from MCS to Greenfield Village opens up the possibility of other locations. Though intended to create an experience that will draw people from all over, lowering barriers to transportation will make it easy for those in Dearborn to visit Corktown/Detroit and vice versa. In the event train rider demand is not high, negligible overhead and maintenance would enable use as needed.

Social Media

Facebook: @MohyiLabs Instagram: @MohyiLabs Twitter: @JohnMohyi and @Mohyi_Labs

5 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Thomas Mitchell
Team

This idea is great. I think this would work with the rail-line riding along the river walk/water

Photo of John Mohyi
Team

Thomas Mitchell , that's an awesome idea! I didn't even think about that! I bet there are so many more ways we can tie the basic idea into the greater Detroit area.

View all comments