not all those who wander are lost

This is the original Detroit / Windsor tunnel – the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel, opened in 1910. Many people dont even know its there, but it passes behind Michigan Central Station, and submerges before you get to Fort Street.

For a short time, this was called the “Jobs Tunnel” because they were going to covert it to truck traffic to relieve the current tunnel and existing Ambassador Bridge. Nobody talks about that anymore now that there are few jobs to drive any place for, and the website currently has a single ironic page:

Here is what the tunnel looked like back in its heyday.

Look at that little man door at the top of the staircase between the tunnels – how creepy do you think THAT is to walk through ?

The tracks have most recently been used by Canadian National, but is now owned by something called Borealis Transportation.

The original trains that ran the tunnel were electric. It is a modern misconception that electric transportation is some near distant future technology. It was one of the original technologies for transportation.

Here is a Detroit River Tunnel Company map from 1916, showing the location of the tunnel as it crosses the river and an International border.

10 Responses to The Jobs Tunnel

  • Trains still use it on a regualr basis. On the canadian side, it is very secure. They have high barbed wire fences on both sides for miles, bright light ever 50 feet or so it looks like a landing strip, cameras on all intersections for miles and they are installing an x-ray machine a few miles from the border to scan for anything ro anyone suspicious.

  • David,

    The article posted just a post above yours answers it. Yes, trains still use the tunnel.

  • So is there actually rail traffic through this tunnel these days? If not it seems like a park-and-ride + train + bus system could help reduce current Tunnel backups for casino traffic (in either/both directions).

  • “CN sells share of Detroit River Tunnel…
    Canadian National Railways has agreed to sell its half stake in the Detroit River Tunnel to Borealis Transportation, a trust controlled by Ontario pension fund OMERS. Canadian Pacific Railway, which owns the other half, will become the tunnel’s sole operator. By agreement, CN will still be allowed to run trains through the tunnel between Detroit and Windsor. CSX and Norfolk Southern will also have access to the tunnel.

    CN will concentrate on its cross-border tunnel between Sarnia and Port Huron. CP is allowed to run up to 14 trains each week through CN’s tunnel.”

  • a holding company might be a good guess – I cant find anything else on that borealis company. They are even mentioned in the Wikipedia entry, but it doesnt really go anywhere. I was stopped by a CN Rail Road police officer for taking photos of MCS while I was too close to their shit. But this was during the time this borealis company owned the land, so CN must lease it all.

    The guy who stopped me was a Canadian official, and the tracks them selves are considered Canadian soil in places. It was pretty strange. The people on his radio were just FREAKING OUT, with him cutting in saying “I have him ! I have him !”. Those guys must be bored out of their minds. I deleted some photos for him, he was satisfied.

    It was when I was shooting photos to make the 360 spin thing at the end of this MCS video clip I made a few years ago:

  • No kidding, while the old route of the line beyond the active track is explorable (heard it called the westside cut), the thought of trying the security down the tunnel is just plain scary. I’ve had guards spring out of the bushes even when taking pics up close to the ambassador! Thanks for the info on CN no longer owning the track – weird. Is this just a holding company for CN or some other entity?

  • None who would try such a stupid thing would ever live to talk about it. I would imagine the railroad police would put you down first, and then ask questions later. It is an international border crossing point, and an active railroad line still, for CN. There are so many different authorities that would have the right to shoot you if you entered or exited that tunnel, its not even funny.

  • I wonder if any adventurous kids or Urban Explorers have succesfully travelled thru the tunnel. Is it used by train traffic at all anymore?

  • Yeah – they usually have some sort of sharpshooter watching the tunnel too. It is not recommended that one try to get a closer look.

  • Is that a police car in the first pic?

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