People wait in cold to catch glimpse of QLine streetcar

Kyla Smith
The Detroit News

Detroit — The QLine streetcar hit Woodward for the first time Tuesday in its debut for testing.

The first M-1 Rail QLine railcar pulls out of the M-1 Rail Penske Tech Center onto southbound Woodward Avenue on its own power before being hooked to a heavy-equipment tow truck Tuesday in Detroit.

It was the first of 1,000 planned tests on the street car system before its commercial open next spring, said Matt Cullen, CEO of M-1 Rail, which oversees the project.

The streetcar was towed without passengers by a vehicle for “the full 6.6-mile loop as part of the regular testing protocol.”

“The QLine transit system gives the city of Detroit added value and will bring the city together,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “It looks really good, and I can’t wait to get on it.”

Officials said tests will run the remainder of the week with plans to run tests with riders after the holiday.

“This has been 10 years in the making,” said Paul Childs, COO of M-1 RAIL. “We didn’t start construction until 2014, but with the help and cooperation of everyone, we were able to pull things together.”

Despite freezing temperatures, some waited down by Campus Martius on Tuesday to catch a glimpse of the QLine streetcar.

“I think this is awesome for the city,” said Dustin Seaton, 31, of Roseville. “This is definitely a better means of transportation. I’m really excited.”

Adorned with QLine lettering, the bright red and white sleek streetcar is 66 feet long, 15 feet high and 87,000 pounds. Officials said the streetcar will seat from 125 to 200 people.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans added Tuesday the QLine represents how far the city has come.

“We hope this system is a catalyst for economic development and transit,” Evans said. “People will soon understand how important this is in this region.”

The $140 million project will travel on Woodward along 3.3 miles of one-way track from downtown Detroit to New Center. It will travel at speeds of up to 35 mph, officials said.

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