Birmingham, MI is a stop on the Pontiac, MI extension of the Wolverine north from Detroit which feels like a Commuter Rail Line from all the frequent stops. The station and tracks strattle the boarder of Troy and Birmingham, but is fully located in Birmingham. The stop is a classic AmShak with just a small metal enclosure with plastic walls and a plastic roof that I found myself stuck in a brief hail and frozen rain storm when I visited. It also unfortunately has two overflowing garbage cans that don't give off the best of smells. Ironically someone has posted a cafe car menu, baggage policy brochure, and an unprofessionally printed sign to upgrade to Business Class on the inside of the glass. This is on a recently rebuilt concrete platform with a tactile warning strip, wheelchair lift enclosure, two Birmingham, MI platform signs and an older information panel with peeling signage and just a faded Wolverine time table inside. The platform is located up on an embankment, on a two-track railroad line and three wooden platforms lead out to small concrete boarding areas along the second track. A concrete ramp that switchbacks once is the station entrance to where Villa Road curves south a bit. The stop is in the midst of the rail district, a newly emerging neighborhood with amenities like luxury rental apartments and is slightly less than a mile east of Woodward Avenue, the center of downtown. There railroad station signs all the way to the station from this far away. A few blocks north of the station the old Grand Truck Railroad has been turned into the Chop House restaurant.
December 2011: The station was all set to be renovated and reencorporated into a transit center for Troy, MI. The new transit center that was to be the cornerstone of a transit oriented development project for the community would have been located a short ways south of the existing platform and would have been built on the opposite side of the tracks, with a pedestrian bridge used to reach the trains on new platform still stopping technically in Birmingham, MI with $8.5 million in federal grant money. This grant was rejected by a new Tea Party mayor Janice Daniels on ideological grounds, "There is nothing free about government money. It's never free and it's crippling our way of life." The rejected money will not be returned to Wsahington to settle the national debt as this mayor wants but redirected to build a transit center probably in a different Michigan City. (John Schwartz, "Michigan City Turns Down Millions of Dollars, Saying Federal Money Is Not Free," The New York Times: December 23, 2011, A16. Link)
All photos unless otherwise noted were taken on 29 October, 2011
Last Updated: 10 November, 2011