Amtrak has made its recommendation for optimal restoration of passenger rail service linking Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, including a preferred route for such “3C” service—something the Buckeye State has considered, and spurned, for at least 20 years.
Amtrak says its best potential route between Cleveland and Columbus, the state capital, would use existing CSX right-of-way. An alternate route linking Akron with the two cities would add an hour of travel time to the overall trip, Amtrak said. The choice, however, is up to Ohio, an Amtrak spokesman stressed.
Southwest of Columbus, the route to Cincinnati would include Dayton, while the Cincinnati terminus likely would not be the city’s historic Union Terminal; Amtrak cites the high cost of capital improvement and existing freight rail traffic interference as obstacles to the reuse of the station.
Last March Gov. Ted Strickland said the state could restore passenger rail service on the 3C route using $250 million in federal stimulus money, with the long-term goal of making the route a high speed corridor. Strickland requested Amtrak to evaluate the route’s potential in March 2008.
Corridor endpoints Cleveland and Cincinnati currently are served by Amtrak long-distance trains, with Cincinnati served only three times a week in each direction. Dayton and Columbus lost Amtrak service in 1979.