DETROIT (FOX 2) - Exactly one year to the day since the QLINE was stopped in Detroit, the streetcars will be traveling up and down Woodward again, starting on Monday for testing.
M-1 Rail announced on Monday that it would start testing QLINE on Monday, March 29, without passengers as it works towards a full relaunch in late summer.
The QLINE was shut down on March 29, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was forcing most of the city, state, nation, and the world to shut down.
As public transportation continued throughout the metro Detroit area, the QLINE remained closed. That is expected to change later this year but will start with testing of vehicles and re-training of staff on Monday with a goal of relaunching for public use later in the year.
"We are pleased to begin the first phase of the QLINE’s restart plan and appreciate the cooperation of the City of Detroit and the businesses along the Corridor to make this a smooth transition," said M-1 RAIL President Lisa Nuszkowski. "We are all adapting to changes in our operating environment due to COVID-19, and these exercises are essential to help prepare our team and the public for the relaunch of the QLINE later this year."
The QLINE will slowly increase testing and training over the coming months.
"It's been a year since the QLINE has been operating and we know a lot of motorists have gotten into the habit of stopping their car on top of the rail to pick up or drop off something or someone," said Municipal Parking Director Keith Hutchings. "In order to ensure safe operation of the QLINE, Municipal Parking will begin educating motorists that we encounter during the next week to make them aware of the changes before we begin enforcement."
The QLINE first opened to the public in May 2017 after several years of construction. The 6.6 mile track runs up and down Woodward ave from Downtown Detroit to Midtown Detroit, New Center, and North End.
The project was led by private businesses and philanthropic organizations in partnership with local, state, and federal government.
The QLINE features three-piece streetcars that are each 66 feet long and can carry an average of 125 passengers per car.