The comparison of the vast 1913 Michigan Central Station on West Vernor with this modest, albeit attractive, Amtrak Station dramatically illustrates the technological changes in transportation that changed this nation in the 20th century. At one point, almost all intercity travel was accomplished by rail. For the first five decades of the last century, upwards of 100 passenger trains departed from Detroit each day for cities in Canada, the East and the Midwest. By the late 1960s, passenger trains were losing money for the railroads, so they were discontinued. During President Nixon's administration, Amtrak—The National Railroad Passenger Corporation—was established to run a skeleton system of trains beginning May 1, 1971.
Service to Detroit was reduced to three trains daily to Chicago and one to New York, a train that was subsequently discontinued. From 1971 to the mid-1990s, Amtrak used the Michigan Central Station, originally the station itself, and then a small trailer parked behind the station. That location was not convenient so Amtrak built this small station in the New Center Area in the mid-1990s. By 2002, passenger service consisted of three trains to Chicago and two to Pontiac.