Could there be rail service between Windsor and Detroit?

Via Rail Canada. (File photo by Miranda Chant, Blackburn News)

It may be a few years off, but there could be a direct passenger rail connection between Windsor and Detroit.

Canadian Pacific (CP), and Amtrak, the U.S.-government-operated railway, announced an agreement Monday to support a combination of the two railway systems, which could theoretically make direct rail service a possibility between Chicago, Detroit and Toronto.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told that the existing commercial rail tunnel beneath the Detroit River is the best place to start.

“That tunnel under the Detroit River is probably the best way to connect Detroit, Windsor, Toronto, and Chicago, and now we have an agreement with CP that gives us access to that tunnel,” said Magliari.

The closest Amtrak stations to Windsor are in Detroit’s New Center Area, and Dearborn. Therefore, the most feasible way to create a connection to Canada is to use the rail tunnel, then follow the short line railway through Windsor and meet at the VIA Rail station in Walkerville.

Magliari cautions that many things must fall into place first.

“There’s certainly no date available. We need to talk to all the parties involved, such as the State of Michigan, VIA, maybe the province and the Ministry of Transport, and perhaps the communities on the route because the current VIA trains stop in multiple locations between Windsor and Toronto,” said Magliari.

He added that an agreement between those parties must be reached before service frequency or fares can be discussed.

The planned expansion of Amtrak service is part of a plan to spread coverage throughout the American Midwest and South. Routes include the expansion of the Chicago-to-Milwaukee route to Minneapolis, and the potential of a new line between Dallas, Texas and Meridian, Mississippi.