Friday, March 05, 2010

Cincinnati quest: Use Union Terminal for 3-C service

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City council members in Cincinnati are trying to identify and secure a terminal for Ohio’s proposed Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati (3-C) Corridor passenger rail service. In a 6-3 vote, the council has recommended the city’s 77-year-old Union Terminal be the site for any such service.

Built in 1933, the building was declared a National HistoricLandmark in 1977. In the late 1980s, the building was renovated and then reopenedas Cincinnati Museum Center.

Amtrak is the only rail service that uses the terminal at present, with only its tri-weekly Cardinal stopping at the station en route to Chicago or Washington/New York. Amtrak says it cannot properly maintain the building itself, given its size and relative lack of use.

The state of Ohio has pressed for an alternate train station site in Cincinnati on its riverfront. But the City Council measure requests the state to study ways to incorporate Union Terminal into the plan. It allows for use of a temporary station if the terminal itself can’t be ready to serve passengers before passenger service begins.

The Federal Railroad Administration in late January awarded Ohio’s3-C Corridor $400 million to advance rail passenger service resumption on the route.