QLine to test track with ‘speeder’ inspection car

Leonard N. Fleming
The Detroit News

The QLine rail service will conduct its first official test Tuesday when a motorized inspection car will be sent out on the new tracks, officials said Monday.

An inspection “speeder” car will move between Larned and Adams to “make sure the route is free of obstruction taking into account the physical dimensions of the vehicle and ensures proper maintenance of traffic,” according to the news released issued by the M-1 Rail, which operates the QLine.

M-1 officials say that although the speeder car moves slowly, is operated by a driver and will be watched from both front and back by safety vehicles, pedestrians, motorists and others are asked to keep a distance from the vehicle.

“Construction progress continues on schedule,” said Paul Childs, chief operating officer of the M-1 Rail. “Speeder tests will be ongoing over the next few weeks, eventually covering the full 6.6 mile track. It’s one of nearly 1,000 tests we’ll be going through over the course of the project.”

Occasional street closings will be implemented during the testing period, officials said.

QLine cars, meanwhile, are are being built at the Brookville Equipment Corp. factory in Brookville, Pennsylvania. The first of the streetcars should be transported to the recently opened Penske Tech Center in Detroit’s New Center neighborhood by fall.

The rail cars will only travel 35 mph and the QLine is expected to start passenger operations in early 2017. It travels from downtown on Woodward to the New Center area.

M-1 officials announced in March the formal name of the rail service would be QLine after businessman Dan Gilbert’s Quicken Loans came up with the moniker.