DETROIT — QLINE. That’s the new name of the M-1 Rail Streetcar project that’s currently under construction along Woodward Avenue in Detroit. The announcement was made today by Quicken Loans on Twitter. The mortgage company purchased the naming rights for $5 million back in May 2015.
The 3.3-mile light rail project will transport passengers from Grand Boulevard in the New Center area south to Congress Street in downtown Detroit. Organizers predict that between 5,000-8,000 riders will use the QLINE each day.
“In the upcoming year, QLINE will begin moving riders up and down Woodward Avenue linking Detroit in a way we have not experienced in nearly 60 years,” said Jay Farner, President and Chief Marketing Officer of Quicken Loans. “The launch of this modern streetcar marks a monumental moment in the development of Detroit in the 21st Century. Quicken Loans is proud to play our part in the beginning stages of modernizing the transit system in our burgeoning urban core.”
Construction of the newly-named QLINE began in 2014 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Testing and certification will begin in the fourth quarter, October or November. Each car will travel up to 35 mph. Service is expected to begin in 2017, possibly by the start of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January.
Businessman Roger Penske serves as Board Chairman of the M-1 Rail Project. I spoke with him during the 2016 NAIAS back in January and asked for an update on the construction of the streetcar project.
“M-1 Rail is on track you might say,” Penske explained. “We hope to have the first cars on the line at the end of 2016 for testing and hope to have full service in 2017. Detroit is on a real renaissance. To see the commitment from our mayor, the private sector, the foundation is just amazing. I think that we’re so fortunate to have people so galvanized. It’s going to make Michigan a better state.”
Each ride on the QLINE is expected to cost $1.50. Discounts will be offered to passengers who purchase tickets in bulk quantities. Hours are tentatively set for Monday-Saturday, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Trains will offer extended hours for special events such as concerts, hockey games, football games or baseball games downtown.
Quicken Loans has invested $10 million and is the single largest corporate donor for the streetcar line. The mortgage company also serves as one of the station sponsors. Other station sponsors include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Chevrolet, Compuware, Detroit Medical Center, FCA Foundation, Ford Foundation, Henry Ford Health System, Illitch Holdings, JP Morgan Chase, Penske Corporation and Wayne State University.
For more information, visit the official website of the newly-named QLINE at www.m1-rail.com.