Michigan real estate developer Jimmy Gierczyk has figured out a way to get Amtrak trains to stop: build a station with your own money. He is doing that in New Buffalo, MI, a getaway for well-heeled Chicagoans, with $1.5 million from his deep pockets. The Chicago Sun-Times quotes Amtrak Assistant Vice President Mike Franke as stating this is "the only privately developed Amtrak station in recent memory."
Currently, two Amtrak routes pass through New Buffalo, but only one of them, the Chicago - Grand Rapids Pere Marquette line on the city's outskirts, stops. The busier route to Detroit, Pontiac and Port Huron, which runs through the downtown area, does not.
The new station will be in front of Gierczyk's condominium and townhouse development in New Buffalo. One reason for the station is to help market the properties to Chicagoans. Initially, two trains in each direction will stop there. The service is scheduled to get a boost six months from now when tracks speeds between New Buffalo and Kalamazoo are increased to 110 mph as part of an effort to establish a high-speed corridor between Chicago and Detroit.