Tour Michigan Central with virtual walk-through

The marble floors of the grand waiting room were restored, and they include worn down marble from passengers feet (Amber Ainsworth/FOX 2)

Crowds are expected to pack Michigan Central this summer to see the result of years of restoration work. 

You don't need to wait to stroll the historical building, though. A digital experience provides a wide open tour of the building's main floor, including the grand waiting room and south concourse. 

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Michigan Central's transformation

Ford Motor Co. purchased Michigan Central in 2018, when it had been empty for 30 years and was a shell of its former self. Its previous owners had made some improvements to the building, but the rest stayed largely untouched. 

The goal was to bring back the splendor MCS had when it was a bustling train station, a massive undertaking.

VIEW: Michigan Central before and after photos

Crews restoring Michigan Central were left with little to work with after scrappers and vandals ransacked the building. 

All the wiring, duct work, and plumbing had to be replaced.

Beyond the human damage, the elements took their toll over the years. After the roofline was gone, the building suffered from a constant stream of water flowing inside. Some areas experienced extensive damage, while other areas were nearly spared. Still, the mess was great, and Ford pumped 3.5 million gallons of water out of the building over about 18 months.

Crews then worked closely with the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office and National Park Service as they renovated the building in a way that resembled its glory days. 

Some original pieces of the train station were saved, while 3D printers were used to create replicas of what couldn't be salvaged. That mix of old and new is present throughout the building.

Read more about the restoration project here.

"I wanted Michigan Central to be beautifully restored but also reimagined for so much more," Bill Ford said. "This will be a place for the community to enjoy and a destination for visitors from all over. We will have restaurants, music, art, and great retail. And the innovation that will happen here, with startups and companies big and small, will help ensure Detroit preserves its title as the Motor City for generations to come." 


Inside Michigan Central: Take a photo and video tour ahead of this week's grand opening

Michigan Central in Detroit is reopening after decades of being abandoned and years of renovations by Ford. Take a look inside at the work done to the historic train depot that once saw upwards of 4,000 travelers a day.

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