‘Rocketrail’ is possible name for Detroit’s M-1 rail

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

Dan Gilbert’s Quicken Loans, which has naming rights to the M-1 light rail system along Woodward Avenue, has trademarked “Rocketrail” — leading to speculation Friday that it could become the name of the 3.3-mile line.

Federal records show that Quicken Loans trademarked the name Dec. 3. It also recently trademarked Qlink, Qline and Quickline.

According to U.S. trademark documents, Rocketrail is described a relating to “transportation of passengers via rail.”

M-1 Rail officials wouldn’t confirm or deny the speculation, and Quicken referred a reporter to M-1 Rail. They were to have announced the name at a highly publicized press conference that was called — and then canceled — last month.

“The naming selection will be part of a larger announcement in early 2016. There are many steps involved in selecting the name.

The M-1 board goes through a process in conjunction with the naming sponsor, and that process is ongoing,” officials said in a statement released late Friday afternoon.

The founder of Quicken Loans, Gilbert has been a large financial contributor to the $137 million rail project, which is scheduled to begin service in 2017. Quicken acquired naming rights for $5 million.

“Rock” is a common theme in Gilbert’s empire. In February, he announced the formation of Rocket Fiber LLXC, a Detroit-based high-speed Internet provider that boasted it would boost Internet speeds up to 100 times faster than the current residential average.

Gilbert’s Rock Ventures has been instrumental in the acquisition and redevelopment of downtown Detroit buildings.

If Rocketrail is chosen as the project’s name, it does not reflect the speed at which the light rail cars will travel: 35 mph.

The startup of the line was delayed last summer because of new federal safety requirements and a delay in the delivery of the streetcars. Ground was finally broken on the project last summer.

M-1 Rail officials hired Brookville Equipment Corp. to design and build six streetcars for $32 million. The Pennsylvania company has worked on streetcar projects in other cities.

The line will run from downtown Detroit to New Center.