M1 rail line’s new name: QLine

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

QLine will be the formal name of the much-talked about rail line up Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

Workers place bricks near the tracks of the M1 Rail on Woodward Ave., Wednesday March 23, 2016, near Palmer St., in Detroit.

Dan Gilbert’s Quicken Loans came up with a new name for the M-1 Rail line after much speculation late last year that Rocketrail would be the chosen name of the 3.3-mile modern streetcar that is slated to debut in 2017.

Two tweets from Quicken Loans teased the announcement early Thursday, which has been planned for a social media push for weeks, saying “Detroit’s modern streetcar is expected to ignite over $3 billion in economic development.”

The name, along with several others, had already been trademarked last year, according to U.S. trademark records. Other trademarked names were Qlink and Quickline, all off the Q in Quicken.

“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, in a statement. “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.”

In addition to naming rights for the rail line, Quicken Loans is also one of 20 station sponsors along the route.

The M-1 rail system with 12 stops is expected to have 1.8 million riders in its first year of operation, rising to 3 million by 2035.

The original news conference to unveil the name back in November was canceled last year. The rail cars will only travel 35 mph and the Rocketrail name did not indicate the slowness of the rail cars.

Gilbert, who is the founder and chairman of Quicken Loans, has been a large financial contributor to the $137 million project and his company acquired the naming rights for $5 million. More than $100 million came from corporations, foundations and other private funders. Another $37 million came from the federal government.

M-1 Rail officials hired Brookville Equipment Corp. to design and build six streetcars for $32 million.


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Twitter: @leonardnfleming