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A conference in Lansing this week will attempt to put Michigan railroads on the right track


In Lansing this week, a group hopes to lay the course for developing Michigan's railroads.

There is a growing demand for passenger and freight rail transportation. But the question is how to increase capacity on the rail lines that crisscross Michigan.

Tuesday’s conference at Lansing Community College will try to answer that capacity question.

Pasi Lautala is an engineering professor at Michigan Technological University and the director of the MTU Rail Transportation Program.   He’s also one of the co-chairs of the conference.

“We are going to be looking at both trying to improve how do we utilize current lines and how do we enhance the capabilities of the system.” Says Lautala, “If you want to increase the capacity, you’re going to need some funding. And that, as we know, is not easy to come by.”

Lautala says the conference will look at things like the growth of high speed rail and making the best use of aging rail lines in rural Michigan.

Michigan has about 36 hundred miles of track serving two dozen passenger and freight railroads.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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