QLINE is a streetcar route in Detroit, Michigan owned by M-1 Rail. The route between the Adelaide Street/Sproat Street and Ferry Street stations is powered from overhead wires, while the rest of the route, including the Penske Tech Center car barn, is powered from underground battery systems, making this the world's first streetcar route to use such technology. It began service on May 12, 2017.
M-1 Rail's automated announcements are provided by veteran Detroit newscaster Carmen Harlan, who spent 38 years with WDIV-TV (Channel 4), Detroit's NBC television affiliate, before retiring in November 2016.
- 2007 - M-1 Rail is formed by private sector and philanthropic leaders as a result of a lack of reliable public transportation during Super Bowl XL. Originally, it was planned as a streetcar route to run from Downtown Detroit north 3 miles to Grand Boulevard via Woodward Avenue (designated as M-1, hence the route name). This proposal is planned concurrently with one by the Detroit Department of Transportation for a 9-mile-long light rail transit route along the same corridor, extending through the city of Highland Park, as far north as the State Fairgrounds Transit Center near 8 Mile Road and the border with the city of Ferndale. DDOT's proposal would include 19 stations and 10 two-car trains, running in a dedicated right-of-way north of Adams Street. After wrangling between the private leaders and DDOT, the two decide to work in tandem on the 9-mile project.
- March 2009 - The Kresge Foundation awards a $35 million grant to the city for the project.
- February 2010 - $25 million from the US government is awarded for the project.
- July 1, 2011 - The Federal Transit Administration and the city sign an environmental impact study.
- August 31, 2011 - The FTA signs a record of decision, which allows the project to move forward.
- December 2011 - Due to the state of the economy and the lack of a Regional Transit Authority, the 9-mile project is declared unfeasible in favor of a bus rapid transit system which would serve the city and suburbs. The private groups that had initially supported the original 3-mile plan continue developing that plan through the M-1 Rail Consortium.
- January 18, 2013 - M-1 Rail receives $25 million in federal grant support from US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood following the December 2012 formation of the RTA.
- April 22, 2013 - Project receives final environmental clearance from the federal government.
- December 20, 2013 - Underground utility work officially begins.
- July 3, 2014 - M-1 Rail announces that the Woodward Avenue overpasses at Interstate 75 and Interstate 94 will be demolished during construction to be replaced with wider overpasses.
- July 20, 2014 - The Ilitch family announces a new stop at the future Midtown site of what is to become the Little Caesars Arena.
- July 28, 2014 - Construction officially begins with the first tracks laid in a three-block portion in downtown Detroit. This initial segment is completed four months later in late November 2014.
- February 15, 2015 - Construction begins on the Penske Tech Center, which will house the system's operations and vehicles, along with an outdoor storage yard to the east of the building. It is named after major project donor and businessman Roger Penske.
- March 24, 2016 - Quicken Loans receives naming rights for the line, which applies the official QLINE name to it in the process.
- May 3, 2016 - The Penske Tech Center is completed.
- July 1, 2016 - Transdev is named as the operator of the service with a $15.5 million contract.
- Late August 2016 - Test trains begin running, these were small utility trains painted in yellow.
- September 13, 2016 - The first train is delivered.
- November 11, 2016 - All tracks are completed.
- December 13, 2016 - 289, one of two additional trains delivered by this date, becomes the first car to operate the entire route on it's own power.
- May 12, 2017 - Route begins service. Free rides are initially offered for the inaugural weekend, then extended one week, then through July 1, and ultimately through Labor Day 2017.
- January 1, 2018 - Operating hours are extended to later times every night.
- October 1, 2019 - QLINE joins the Dart fare payment system, allowing for easier connections to and from DDOT and Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation buses.
Grand Circus station under construction.
All stations will be sponsored by a partnering company.
M-1 Rail site
||Congress Street, Campus Martius, Grand Circus, Montcalm Street, Sproat Street/Adelaide Street, Martin Luther King Boulevard/Mack Avenue, Canfield Street, Warren Avenue, Ferry Street, Amsterdam Street, Baltimore Street, Grand Boulevard
|Southeast Michigan and Far Southwest Ontario Agencies