The M-1 RAIL organization has officially opened and dedicated the Penske Tech Center, which will act as the M-1 RAIL administrative headquarters and function as the maintenance and operations center for the QLINE streetcar vehicles that will run along Woodward corridor.

The Penske Tech Center is located in the North End neighborhood and is sponsored by Penske Corporation. The center is named for Roger S. Penske, chairman of the board for M-1 RAIL.

Penske highlighted the impact of the QLINE at the ceremony, saying, “A decade ago as we prepared for Super Bowl, we were boarding up buildings in this area. Today Woodward Avenue is becoming one of the most successful and vibrant corridors in our state and much of that has to do with this project.”

The opening ceremony saw prominent Detroiters like Mayor Mike Duggan, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, and Wayne County CEO Warren Evans in attendance, as well as project supporters and community members.

“The QLINE was made possible by the unprecedented private-public partnership fueling this project,” said M-1 RAIL CEO Matt Cullen. “QLINE is a catalyst for economic development and business growth, but it’s also the first step toward creating a great regional transit system in Detroit.”

The Penske Tech Center is a milestone in the QLINE construction. Designed and built by Detroit-based Turner Construction, the center went through a rigorous community feedback process to ensure it fit the character of the neighborhood.

“Just as the QLINE itself will unite Detroit communities like never before, so too was it important for our team to unite Detroiters with the design and construction process,” said David Kelly Ph.D., P.E., Business Manager, Turner Construction Company. Embracing the community was the cornerstone of our plan from Day One – not only in terms of design input but as actual builders of the Penske Tech Center itself. The community answered this call with gracious support.”

The Penske Center is unique in that it’s the nation’s first vehicle storage and maintenance facility to operate completely off-wire. However, it won’t have streetcars until the fourth quarter of 2016, when testing and safety certification will begin with service expected to begin in the first half of 2017.

One question though – with M-1 Rail emblazoned in big letters on the administrative offices, is the name “QLINE” going to actually stick with people?

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