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Restarting Passenger Rail In Ohio's 3C Corridor

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Do we need a 3-C thread, or does this one suffice?? And I sure hope Dublin and Hilliard will be content with a bus link to the train.

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http://www.columbuslocalnews.com/articles/2008/11/10/multiple_papers/news/allcolrail_20081107_0607pm_1.txt

 

Rail travel could get back on track with federal dollars

Amtrak is studying which communities would serve as ideal stops in a Cleveland-to-Cincinnati link; Hilliard and Dublin are interested.

By EILEEN RYAN

Published: Sunday, November 9, 2008 10:05 AM EST

 

The prospect of the new administration in Washington, D.C., has brought renewed funding hopes to Ohio's plan for a passenger rail line along the Cleveland-to-Cincinnati corridor.

 

The densely populated stretch from Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati that also encompasses Springfield and Dayton could see passengers whizzing back and forth daily in as few as two or three years, said Stu Nicholson, spokesman for the Ohio Rail Development Commission.

 

That is Gov. Ted Strickland's hope, Nicholson said.

 

"That's a real pressurized timeline," he said -- but that's good.

 

CLICK ON THE LINK FOR THE REST OF THE ARTICLE...


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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The only problem with the story is that she makes it sound like Ohio will get $1.9-Billion, which is not at all the case.  That's the total amount of initial dollars in the grant program for all states to draw upon.... based on having funding-ready projects.

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This sounds very good, but isn't there still an issue with the freight railroads in terms of capacity and insurance?  If Akron-Canton are included, wouldn't it be a rerouting that would nix the Hopkins airport tie in?

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It would. But the question is going to come up, especially from legislators in the Akron and Canton area, on why can't the trains run via their communities? It makes sense to give them the answer when the overall planning work is done a year from now, rather than spend more time and money later on which delaying the implementation.


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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I think it would be best to try to keep the 3-C as focused on the C's, especially for any sort of express. The second phase would make a local 3-C that hooks up with Akron-Canton, Mansfield?, Springfield, Dayton, and Hamilton/Lebanon.

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^I believe the track they are looking to use travels through Hamilton and Dayton (travels near Tri-County Mall) so it's dumb not to stop there.  The shorter route between Cincinnati and Columbus is the B&O line which travels through Indian Hill and Loveland.  If that were used a station in Loveland or near I-275 would make sense.  Anywhere where the trains are not traveling at top speed, a station stop hurts overall travel time less. 

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An excellent story by Columbus Alive on the state of passenger rail in Ohio.

 

On the right track

Thursday,  November 13, 2008 5:28 AM

By John Ross

Columbus Alive

 

On the morning of Sept. 30, 1979, an Amtrak passenger train left Kansas City and sped east through the heartland: across central Missouri to St. Louis, up through Illinois and Indiana and into western Ohio. En route to New York City, the locomotive entered Columbus and ground slowly to a halt amid the industrial abyss beneath Downtown's Fourth Street overpass.

 

Just two years prior, the National Limited would have raced into Union Station, a High Street depot once heralded as one of the most stunning in the country. But the station was gone - razed to make room for a Downtown convention center - so this train came to a stop at a windowless, metal hut surrounded by overgrown shrubs.

 

 

 

Read more at:

 

http://www.columbusalive.com/live/content/features/stories/2008/11/13/ca_u_train.html

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"Next October will be 30 years - three generations who have never even seen passenger rail in Columbus."

 

So ten year olds are breeding now?  I thought a "generation" was a little more than ten years. /snark

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Ha! :-D

 

But seriously, that is a problem.  Even if you are old enough to remember the last trains through anywhere in Central Ohio, it wasn't a good memory.  The early days of Amtrak had a passenger railroad that used nothing but hand-me-down passenger cars and locomotives from the freight railroads...and little of it was in good repair.

 

For the generations since then, a passenger train (unless they've been overseas or ridden one elsewhere) is as foreign as zebra strolling down High Street at high noon.  That's where this story really serves a purpose. Columbus Alive reaches a very young demographic: one that is looking for transportation options like no generation before it.

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November 25, 2008

 

Leaders discuss whether railroad a good fit in Richland County

By LISA MILLER

News Journal (Mansfield)

 

MANSFIELD -- To get on-board with potential rail systems in Ohio and the Midwest, the community needs to figure out what its assets are.

 

"Mansfield brings something very significant to the table. You all have to figure out what that is," Stuart Nicholson, public information officer for the Ohio Rail Development Commission, said Monday.

 

....

 

BY THE NUMBERS

 

 

The Ohio Hub Economic Impact Study concludes that over 30 years, the project will:

 

Create 17,700 permanent jobs.

 

Raise the region's net income by over $1 billion.

 

Increase the region's average annual household income by at least $90.

 

Generate more than $3 billion in development activity near stations.

 

Create an annual $80-million impact on state tourism by generating 320,000 overnight trips.

 

Generate an annual fuel savings of about 9.4 million gallons.

 

Source: The Ohio & Lake Erie Regional Rail Ohio Hub Study

 

 

http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/article/20081125/NEWS01/811250315/1002

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Cleveland-Cincinnati passenger rail service plan gets boost from Congress

Posted by Karen Farkas/Plain Dealer Reporter December 04, 2008 23:15PM

Categories: Real Time News

 

Associated PressPassenger rail service from Cleveland to Cincinnati could be up and running by 2010 if the state receives a $100 million grant.

 

Passenger rail service from Cleveland to Cincinnati could be a reality by 2010 if the state gets $100 million in proposed infrastructure stimulus money.

 

The Ohio Rail Development Commission also intends to apply next year for federal matching grants from a passenger rail bill passed by Congress this fall.

 

.....

 

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2008/12/clevelandcincinnati_passenger.html

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I'm surprised more people here haven't responded to this news. The responses on Cleveland.com are actually positive, for the most part!!

 

If this funding is approved, it doesn't require a state/local match. Stimulus funding is 100 percent federal. This could be a HUGE step forward.


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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Very exciting news indeed!  One item from the story that was a bit unclear - what is the $200 million being requested for?  The writer indicates that is for planning and design of the Ohio Hub. Is it for the entire Ohio Hub or just the initial routes?

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tt342998 .....  the $200-million would cover both the proposed state-supported Amtrak "start-up" service in the 3-C Corridor (including phasing in expanded service after the start-up gets going) and also to do the federally-required environmental review work for the long-range Ohio Hub Plan.

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tt342998 .....  the $200-million would cover both the proposed state-supported Amtrak "start-up" service in the 3-C Corridor (including phasing in expanded service after the start-up gets going) and also to do the federally-required environmental review work for the long-range Ohio Hub Plan.

 

Is the cost of the environmental work for the full Ohio Hub plan (1200 mile, 46 station) included in that cost?  If so, that would be even better news as right-of-way could start to be reserved, encroachments prevented, etc on all the corridors.

 

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Yes....I believe so.

 

Keep in mind as well that these are "Stimulus II" $$$$.  If approved, we still haven't begun to tap into the new matching funds (80% Fed / 20% state) created by the recently passed Passenger Rail Investment & Improvement Act.... ($1.9-billion a year for 5 years).  Ohio can be doing some serious passenger rail work in the next several years.

 

Anything that gets us even a day closer to riding more and better trains is a good thing.

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I am concerned about redundancy leading to the failure of the Ohio train system.  How do 3-C and Ohio hub differ?  Would they eventually be part of the same network?  Does 2010 seem ridiculously optimistic to anyone else?  The study has not concluded, land would need to be ED and stations/Park-n-rides need to be designed and constructed.  Perhaps a little too ambitious, or are my Cincinnati roots interfering?

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^No interfering roots.  You just need to be brought up to speed:

 

The 3-C is one corridor in the Ohio Hub:  http://www2.dot.state.oh.us/ohiorail/Ohio%20Hub/Website/ordc/index.html

 

The Ohio Hub (including the 3-C) will use existing rights-of-way and maybe restore part of an abandoned right-of-way or two.  Many station sites already exist, though a few need to be determined. 

 

As I understand it, 2010 is for just the Cleveland-Columbus (2-C) portion of the 3-C.  The Ohio Hub is going to have to be built incrementally.  It's too big of a project to go from zero to 8-10 daily 110 mph trains on the proposed corridors.  Each corridor will probably start up with 2-3 daily trains at 79 mph, then be improved from there. 

 

 

 

P.S.  Question for Noozer:, what happened to the www.ohiohub.com domain? The one above that replaced it is overly cumbersome. 

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No redundancy is occurring. The 3-C Corridor is but one route in the proposed Ohio Hub System, and according to state law, must be the first route which the state pursues as part of any statewide/regional system. The latest version of that proposed system is the Ohio Hub. The plan for the regional system is but a template to guide immediate activities like 3-C.

 

The scenario is that Amtrak is pursuing two daily round trips as the initial service for 3-C, sponsored by the state and funded primarily by the federal government. If the service's performance at least meets expectations, then there would likely be an expansion of service sought.

 

Meanwhile, additional passenger services may be sought for other routes included in the Ohio Hub plan (in no particular order):

 

> Detroit - Toledo - Cleveland - Youngstown - Pittsburgh;

> Columbus - Lima - Fort Wayne - Chicago;

> Cleveland - Buffalo - Hamilton - Toronto;

> Columbus - Toledo - Detroit;

> Columbus - Steubenville - Pittsburgh.


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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^gildone....  you can still access the Ohio Hub Plan through www.ohiohub.com .  The link takes you to the ORDC website...hit the link for "Passenger Rail" and you're there.

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Here's Railway Age's take on the 3-C request...

 

 

http://www.rtands.com/breaking_news.shtml#Feature4-12-8

 

December 5, 2008

 

 

Cleveland-Cincinnati passenger rail service eyed

 

Passenger rail service from Cleveland to Cincinnati could be a reality by 2010 if the state gets $100 million in proposed infrastructure stimulus money, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The Ohio Rail Development Commission also intends to apply next year for federal matching grants from a passenger rail bill passed by Congress this fall.

 

"I'm cautiously ecstatic," said Stu Nicholson, spokesman for the commission, who envisions two trains making a round trip each day. "The money is the game changer. It changed the whole dynamic."

 

The commission, an independent agency within the Ohio Department of Transportation, has long advocated the 3-C Corridor between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. It also advocates the more ambitious and expensive Ohio Hub, a high-speed rail system on seven corridors in the state. Some $200 million is being sought to design and plan the high-speed network.

 

The state would pay Amtrak to operate the passenger service between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati on rail owned by Norfolk Southern and CSX. The service would connect to other Amtrak routes through Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus has not had passenger rail service for 30 years, Nicholson said.

 

"The Amtrak planning staff told us that the corridor is probably the best underdeveloped passenger rail corridor in the U.S.," he said.

 

The $100 million would be used to purchase two trains, each of which would have a locomotive and three or four passenger cars. Each train, traveling at a maximum of 79 miles per hour, would run one round trip a day.

 

Ohioans support passenger rail and the freight companies that own the rails are on board, Nicholson said. But nothing could go forward without money - and until now none was available.

 

President-elect Barack Obama has proposed an economic stimulus package that would immediately make $25 billion available for infrastructure projects across the country. He also wants to spend $60 billion over 10 years to create a "National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank" to fund transportation projects. Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have said the stimulus package will be a top priority in 2009. Pelosi said she hopes to have a bill ready when Congress comes into session next year.

 

The service would probably not be self-sustaining and would require state subsidies, Nicholson said. The route will be determined after Amtrak and the commission complete a ridership study to choose train stops between the three cities. That will be under way in a few weeks.

 

The high-speed Ohio Hub plan includes more than 1,200 miles of track and 46 stations. The seven corridors would connect to planned or existing networks in neighboring states and southern Ontario. It would take eight to 10 years to build and cost $5 billion, Nicholson said.

 

Once the $1.9 billion under the passenger rail bill are appropriated by Congress next year, Ohio will apply for grants for high-speed rail and the corridor, he said.

 

The state would have to provide 20 percent.


"Save the planet. Move to the city." -- The Downtowner podcast

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Those look like the "California Cars" used by Amtrak and CalTrans.  They're a very good design and are among the designs being looked at for use across the U.S.

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^that's a tough one.  Queensgate Yard is so jammed up that it's going to be difficult to get more passenger trains into Cincinnati Union Terminal without investing $$$ to open up the bottleneck there.  Still, CUT may be used, or the train may initially have to terminate in Sharonville until the problems at CUT are dealt with.  A few years ago, Cincinnati was looking at a possible site downtown, but I don't know if that's still on the table or not.  That's going to take even more $$$. 

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The Longworth Hall / Crossett (sp ?) site and CUT are both possibilities, as is Sharonville.  CUT would be the ideal (for future access across the Ohio River), but gildone is spot on about the congestion from freight traffic and the intermodal operations at Queensgate Yard.

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I was also wondering where the station would be in Cleveland.  I dread the thought of utilizing the existing Amtrak station north of the Mall.  A combination with the E9th Street RTA station could create an interesting connection with local transport.

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I really love the idea of the Amtrak station being rebuilt in conjunction with the new lakefront Convention Center. Then, this could be used for the Ohio Hub, too, no? Of course, this may or may not be wishful thinking, but who knows .. maybe it would give them additional incentive to build it?

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A combo Amtrak ORDC Station/Rapid Station/Lorain Commuter Rail Station/Convention Center would be a the most logical construction for a multi modal hub.  How cool would that be.

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A combo Amtrak ORDC Station/Rapid Station/Lorain Commuter Rail Station/Convention Center would be a the most logical construction for a multi modal hub. How cool would that be.

 

Very.

 

Also, what are the chances of Ohio Hub being connected to Tower City?

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