Crews unearth old streetcar rails during construction of M-1 in Detroit

Unearthed streetcar rails on Woodward near downtown Detroit. All photos by Steve Neavling
Unearthed streetcar rails on Woodward near downtown Detroit. All photos by Steve Neavling

Crews preparing Woodward Avenue for the M-1 Rail unearthed the city’s old streetcar rails.

The twin rails have been buried beneath the road for decades after the streetcar system ended service in 1956 to make way for buses. Electric-powered streetcars had operated since the 1890s, when they replaced horse-drawn railcars.

Now the city is getting ready to bring back streetcars with the M-1 Rail, which will travel 3.3 miles from Larned Street to West Grand Boulevard. The new system is expected to be complete by late 2016.

Photo via
Photo via

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • maggiemay

    Detroit used to have an extensive streetcar system, it went all over. Don’t know why they ended it, but it’s ironic they’re now building the same thing.

  • Bruce Channell

    Why not use the old tracks then?From the looks of it,all they need to do is run the power lines over them and put the trolley cars on them!It would save them a lot of money if they did!When the city was redoing Charlevoix about 5 years ago it looked like they could have ran the street cars on them.The bricks and tracks looked like they had just been put in.!I imagine that it is like that all around the City.They just paved over the tracks instead of pulling them up!

  • Remoat

    It’s amazing how they just paved right over the old tracks. Is that why Woodward is one the worst road surfaces downtown all the way out passed the blvd..

  • Orvalale

    Hope the scrappers don’t take to the streets with pick-axes…

  • Aanna1123

    This is absolutely awesome. Thank you for sharing this with us.