Governor Granholm of Michigan talking rail car building in auto-plants

The Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm is walking and talking rail these days, definitely not about the roller-coasters at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio---even though they are quite sophisticated and well maintained rail systems in miniature.

"WASHINGTON-Gov. Jennifer Granholm didn't just come to the White House grounds today to plug for money for a high-speed rail line in the Midwest that would eventually connect Detroit to Chicago. She's also making a case that if President Barack Obama's serious about making rail a priority for the U.S., it's going to mean someone needs to make more high-speed rail cars." And when it comes to capacity---what with the plant closures Chrysler and GM are looking at in Michigan with their bankruptcy restructuring---the state's going to have plenty."

"We have lots of capacity in Michigan and workers who know how to make things, she said after meeting with VP Joe Biden, Transport Sec. Ray LaHood and a group of governors pitching to have the Obama administration invest in high-speed rail in their regions. Asked about comments that Biden made that Obama's proposed $13-billion investment in high-speed rail corridors would take millions of cars off the road---potentially hurting Detroit's automakers---Granholm said that it was just a remark about having a balanced transportation system and that it should be looked at as an opportunity for Michigan."

Quoted: Todd Spangler-Detroit Free Press Washington Staff-June 3, 2009

The Baldwin Locomotive Works (RIP 1831-1954) exported thousands of American built steam, diesel and electric locomotives to every country in the world for more than a century...


  • Not quite sure what the Cedar Point amusement park near Sandusky, Ohio, has to do with the governor of Michigan's efforts to get some financial stimulus into her state.  Annexing Ohio, perhaps?  Perhaps it is time to have a rational discussion about the changing nature of our society.  Yep, a national high-speed rail passenger system would cause fewer people to put the family flivver out on the highways.  That just might affect auto sales.  Are we supposed to support pollution and congestion just because it might keep a few more auto workers employed?  The only constant in our society is change, and it is incumbent on all concerned to figure out how to change and survive.  Artificially imposing "solutions" is not the way to do it.

  • great idea for the empty factories & workers sitting at home with no work. one problem we are not building freight cars at this time there are a glut of new cars in storage. trinity & greenbriar (rail car builders) have people layed off as well  

  • Maybe Railwayist means Detroit is gonna' build railcars for the amusement park in Sandusky,Ohio.

    That way we'll all be taken for a ride! weeeeeee!

  • What's a little thing like not building cars during a recession?  Build them anyway!  Workers need and want jobs.  Oh, you can't find anyone to take the cars or any financial institutions to put up the money for their manufacture?  Oh darn.

  • My bad.  I think You've got it figured out, James.

  • Let me see if I have this correct; Detroit can't build Ford, Chevrolets and Plymouths that can compete in the market place with Toyota, Honda and Nissan, so instead they are going to build railroad cars that will be competitive with Bombardier and Mitsubishi. Did I miss something here?

  • DETROIT has ready to occupy facilities for Rail Manufacturing and its OEM suppliers. Re-training/education can be accomplished at the many state-of-the-art technology training centers and community colleges for skilled trades that have existed for the auto and allied industry. With training and continuing education with the support of The Railway Educational Bureau in Omaha, Nebraska-(, the following companies could help America get rolling on the rails more than ever: Alstom, Alcatel Transport, Amsted Rail Group, Ansaldo Breda/STS, Bombardier, Dimetronic, ElectroMotive, Egisrail, Eurotech, General Electric, GHH-Valdunes, Graco, Hitachi, Holdsworth, KLW, Metra, MactonCorp, Okonite, RailComm, RailWorks, Railcet, Pandrol Rail Fastenings Ltd, Plasser & Theurer, Progress Rail Services, Schaeffler Group Industrial, Saae-Malico, Siemens, Skoda-Locomotive, Systra, Trainelec, Train Yard Tech, Transcore, Veolia, Vossloh, Wabtec,  etc...etc...etc...The North American rail market will soon exceed $250,000,000,000 billion dollars!

  • Does it strike anyone as ironic that most of the companies listed by RAILWAYIST as ready to build a new rail infrastructure and industry are foreign owned?  There once was a U.S.-based rail supply industry, but it passed into foreign control.  Traditional metal-benders somehow failed to understand the changes that were happening all around them and their companies came to be worth more to foreign owners than they were to their original U.S. owners.  As for RAILWAYIST's vision of a $250 billion market, he seems to overlook that there is no shortage now of material and parts for railroading.  The U.S. rail supply industry is perfectly capable of satisfying the needs of the rail market.  All it needs is customers with money.  Nothing against Detroit or the state of Michigan, but there doesn't seem to be a crying need for all those empty automotive industry facilities to be producing products for the railroads.

  • The problem with this logic is that an auto plant is not necessarily an efficient place to build a railcar.  (Passenger or freight)  As I recall, every time a new type of auto was proposed to be built in the US, be it a Saturn, a Kia or a Mercedes, a new auto plant or plants was required.  Chrysler tore down the Jefferson Aveue Assembly Plant, and built a new plant next door to pursue their last resurrection.  It is probably less expensive to tear down any existing idle auto plant and build something new on the site than it is to "save the roof" and build an efficient plant inside to manufacture anything - including automobiles.  They closed for a reason.

  • ARailroaderWhoRemembersThings is far more polite than I.  I would simply say that RAILWAYIST lives to the code: Don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up.

  • As much as RAILWAYISTS posts are nostalgic at best and simplistic (meaning not well thought out) at worst I must say he's sure stirred the pot and has got at least some intelligent discussion (from others) going.

  • The BALDWIN LOCOMOTIVE WORKS of the USA(1831-1954) was the largest builder of steam, diesel and electric locomotives and components and exported them to every country in the world.

    The Lima. Ohio US ARMY tank plant was formerly one major facility of the BALDWIN-LIMA LOCOMOTIVE WORKS, The Warren, Michigan US Army Tank plant located on VanDyke & Tank Ave is perfectly suited for heavy locomotive fabrication/assembly with 12ft thick concrete floors and multiple rail-spurs in/outbound junctioned to Norfolk Southern?Conrail service. The Tank Plant was updated into a state-of-the-art facility for USM and Noble.

    Europe was re-mobilized after WWI & WWII with Baldwin locos...

    The 9,000 peak HP GG1 electric-locomotive was a Baldwin-Westinghouse masterpiece...

    The SUPER-POWER BIG BOY steam locomotive was Baldwin engineering unequaled anywhere...there's more-look it up.

    The USA was the rail builder to the world, so there is no reason not to try to re-kindle some of that spirit to prevent a total implosion of US manufacturing, by utilizing the tools we presently have---before they are smelted away in a 'foreign' blast furnase.

  • I agree with Governor Granholm and felt that NY was lacking in

    not pushing to crete a rail passenger car building facility at Tarrytown or another abandoned facility...with all the cars purchased

    between MTA/CDOT  it would be advantageous to have a builder close by with capabilities other than those at Kawasak.i


  • More woulda, coulda, shoulda.  I am unaware that the Kawasaki plant was inconvenient to NY or that the Tarrytown GM plant would just waiting to build rail cars.  Remember, folks, there is no such thing as a free lunch.  Kawasaki established its facility where it did for its own reasons, and as GM was not in the rail car building business, just how was Tarrytown to be converted to a car building facility?