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Restarting Passenger Rail In Ohio's 3C Corridor

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China also has more privatized highways than the USA. Just because a country says communism or capitalism on its front door, doesn't mean that what is universally practiced inside.

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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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China also has more privatized highways than the USA. Just because a country says communism or capitalism on its front door, doesn't mean that what is universally practiced inside.

 

China recently built a private tollway across Jamaica.  The Chinese company owns the land near the interchanges in the center of the island and can basically do whatever it wants with that land.  So we'll likely see Chinese-run casinos or something like that go up in the dead-middle of Jamaica. 

 

 

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Bill O'Neill is the man. He was my brother's nurse at Hillcrest Hospital ten years ago for some kind of broken bone, don't remember. Then he decided he'd had enough of nursing for the time being, so he became a supreme court justice. Kind of weird to have a sitting justice get all into political debates though - we need to stop electing them.

I like the guy.  He's a Facebook friend because I was arguing with one of our mutual friends (another Dem) over some issue or another.  The point being is he's not a purist that won't work with the other side.

 

Perfectly sane policies like marijuana legalization and high speed rail, and then this:

 

"Take a fast food worker who is making $9.00 an hour today, raise their wages to $15.00 and I guarantee you next Saturday they will go out and buy a new Jeep Wrangler made in Toledo, Ohio."

 

I thought the dumbest thing I've heard is the idea of a $15.00 minimum wage in Ohio. Until I read the idea that someone making that  $15/hr minimum would immediately purchase a $27,000 car, and that this would be a good idea.

 

He does have strong union ties, and there's a (not so) little Easter Egg in the $15.00 minimum wage.  Quite a few union contracts are written to ensure that the base rate is at least such and such a percentage above the minimum wage, with higher levels getting bumped accordingly. 

 

So that $27,000 car wouldn't be that price for long.

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Not quite sure where this belongs, but I came across an interesting table (see attachment) in the following article about Flixbus entering the U.S. market.

 

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/11/europes-intercity-bus-juggernaut-is-rolling-into-the-us/545558/

 

Of routes with neither express coach nor rail service, Cleveland is the origin or destination in two of the top four most heavily traveled. Meanwhile, Columbus is the origin or destination in four of the top 10. With 1.4 mil trips taken annually between Cleveland and Columbus and 1.9 mil between Cleveland and Detroit, one could only imagine the demand for high speed or even conventional rail along the routes...

Ground_Transportation_Gaps_Table.pdf

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Not quite sure where this belongs, but I came across an interesting table (see attachment) in the following article about Flixbus entering the U.S. market.

 

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2017/11/europes-intercity-bus-juggernaut-is-rolling-into-the-us/545558/

 

Of routes with neither express coach nor rail service, Cleveland is the origin or destination in two of the top four most heavily traveled. Meanwhile, Columbus is the origin or destination in four of the top 10. With 1.4 mil trips taken annually between Cleveland and Columbus and 1.9 mil between Cleveland and Detroit, one could only imagine the demand for high speed or even conventional rail along the routes...

 

For other people wondering, Cincinnati-Columbus was ineligible for this list because they only included routes in the 120-400 mile range. Cincinnati-Columbus is about 100 miles.

 

Edit: More Ohio routes on the top-40 list:

11. Detroit-Cincinnati

14. NYC-Youngstown

15. Columbus-Indianapolis

16. Chicago-Dayton

19. Cincinnati-Cleveland

21. Pittsburgh-Cincinnati

24. Detroit-Dayton

28. Cincinnati-Nashville

30. StL-Cincinnati

31. Columbus-Toledo

34. DC-Youngstown

37. Louisville-Dayton

38. Cleveland-Indianapolis

39. Cleveland-Dayton

 

Source (pdf)

 

Probably not surprising to any of us here that the eastern Midwest, and especially Ohio, would light up a list of most-frequently traveled routes without train or "express coach" service.

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With Richard Branson's Virgin Group investing in Brightline (which will soon be changed to Virgin Trains USA) and a private company looking to follow Brightline's model for a commuter rail project in Milwaukee (see latest post Private Intercity Passenger Rail Projects thread), it's looking more and more like the 3C Corridor (and some others in Ohio) would be good candidates for private investment/development to bring us train service.  In fact, All Aboard Ohio has sent information to Brightline about the 3C, PGH-COL-Lima-FTW-CHI, DET-TOL-CLE-YTO-PGH, and CIN-CHI corridors about why they are worth considering for their investment.  

 

 

Edited by gildone
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I took KJP's incredibly helpful map of the proposed 3-C route buried somewhere back in this thread and created a Google Map of it.  This also shows the existing Amtrak lines (in less detail).

 

Please take a look at the link and let me know if I got it right.  I did include a few stations that were not on the official proposal report - those station inclusions were based on discussions in this thread.

 

https://drive.google.com/open?id=15lcIcdt6ccSaZsZlUVtirtBH_kxw-yGG&usp=sharing

 

358642483_Ohio3-CMap.thumb.png.cf201f0d5dec76ce94a7d1a8440776e1.png

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Yup, looks pretty good. Wish it could've happened. Too bad Ohio acted like an anti-vaxxer parent when it won the $400 million rail vaccination.

Edited by KJP
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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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A couple of thoughts if maybe this wouldn’t be more successful now.  Just like i believe it is MTS loves his one train rides from Shaker Square to the airport, so would people with airline options in Columbus or Mansfield or Dayton for that matter, love taking a train to CLE to depart especially in inclement weather. 

A factor back in 2010 was that Lyft and Uber did not exist so people would’ve thought even if they go to a nearby train station in Columbus to go to Cleveland they will still have to incorporate a parking fee in their travels and the travel time is not much different and the expense of gas vs a ticket on a train is not that different. That would likely be a deal breaker. 

  So maybe with an older, wiser(?), Ohio population, they can see the advantages now of a 3C train system. 

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1 hour ago, audidave said:

  So maybe with an older, wiser(?), Ohio population, they can see the advantages now of a 3C train system. 

 

Stop with your Euro-socialist nonsense!    Older Ohioans want to drive on their FREE roads to strip malls! 

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^^ I completely agree. I often think about how the relatively new ride sharing services, and even self driving cars, are perfect complements to proper public transit.  The former become the “last mile” service, while the latter can handle volume and also are much more efficient for distance. 

 

And the Hopkins airport connection was always a great feature of the proposal. 

Edited by Boomerang_Brian
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There was no high-quality rail corridor available via Akron or Canton. The capital cost of upgrading rail infrastructure would have been much more significant. And the added time going by way of Akron (1 hour more) and via Canton (1.5 hours) caused a significant drop in ridership/revenue to/from Cleveland and a significant increase in operating cost/subsidy that would not have been made up by going via Akron or Akron/Canton.

 

 

route options-akron1s.jpg

route options-akron2s.jpg

 

This map shows all of the rail corridors available as of the early 1980s. I highlighted in gray the routes originally engineered and currently maintained for freight train speeds of 50 mph or higher as of 10 years ago. A rail corridor that can accommodate freight train speeds that high can potentially accommodate a few daily passenger trains operating even faster (ie 79 mph or more) with some modest upgrading (ie less than $3 million per mile). Disregard the highlighted route through Athens, BTW. The yellow lines represent (then as now) the best available alternatives to the 3C Corridor mainline.

3C options rail map-m.jpg

Edited by KJP
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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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^ Plus an Akron route would have caused it to miss Grafton. 😁

 

Seriously though, the Akron routes also mean missing Cleveland Hopkins Airport. 

 

When business has taken me to Germany, the fact that one can fly to Frankfurt and walk to the high speed rail station at the airport terminal is huge. There are many smaller cities within an easy two hour high speed train ride. It is so much easier to do business in these smaller cities in Germany because of this infrastructure. 

Edited by Boomerang_Brian
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BTW, this element may be included in the Hopkins Airport long-range plan, although I don't know how serious it is. This would be a stop for existing Amtrak trains and possibly a modest expansion. But this would mean eliminating downtown Cleveland as a station. I don't see that happening unless the city fumbles the ball on developing the intermodal hub....

 

 

Hopkins Airport masterplan sketch 2019.jpg

Edited by KJP
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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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20 minutes ago, KJP said:

BTW, this element may be included in the Hopkins Airport long-range plan, although I don't know how serious it is. This would be a stop for existing Amtrak trains and possibly a modest expansion. But this would mean eliminating downtown Cleveland as a station. I don't see that happening unless the city fumbles the ball on developing the intermodal hub....

 

 

Hopkins Airport masterplan sketch 2019.jpg

KJP, is this a graphic by you or from a governmental source?  This path for Amtrak would require using a different ROW than the current tracks, correct?

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This sketch is by the consulting firm working on the airport masterplan. I don't know if it will make it into the draft or final masterplan however. Amtrak currently operates past the airport on these tracks, then turns west on Norfolk Southern's Chicago Line at Berea. The 3C trains would have switched over to CSX tracks at Berea and headed southwest.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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It's a worthwhile stop, based on the traffic growth I have observed at the Baltimore-Washington Int'l Airport rail stop; and the BWI stop is off-premises - it takes a 10-minute bus ride to get there from the airport. Of course BWI (with Amtrak and Maryland-sponsored MARC trains) sees much more rail traffic than CLE would and, even at that, the traffic growth took 20 plus YEARS  to develop.

 

Without additional rail service, I'm not sure a CLE rail stop can be justified.

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4 hours ago, KJP said:

BTW, this element may be included in the Hopkins Airport long-range plan, although I don't know how serious it is. This would be a stop for existing Amtrak trains and possibly a modest expansion. But this would mean eliminating downtown Cleveland as a station. I don't see that happening unless the city fumbles the ball on developing the intermodal hub....

 

1

 

The city is doing a fine job of fumbling the intermodal hub so far!  Let's hope that there is someone working behind the scenes to surprise us on that score.

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49 minutes ago, Terdolph said:

New $$ available to re-start intercity rail in Ohio?

 

"Mr. Batory, in his letter Thursday, said his agency planned to open up the $928.6 million it was stripping from the California project to bids for funding other intercity rail projects around the country."

 

This is $$ the feds are not giving to Cal. for their HSR.  Also, the feds are talking about "clawing back" $2.5 billion.  That is a lot of dough.

 

That would be awesome. Maybe our new Republican governor will aggressively pursue a previous Republican governor’s outstanding Ohio Hub rail plan that was indefensibly derailed by the Republican governor in between them.  

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Don't bet on it. The Federal Railroad Administration is bound by its full funding grant agreement with California DOT which is using those funds for their intended purpose. Trump's FRA can say what it wants, but it is going to face a well-earned legal challenge if it keeps up its revisionist history. By the time that legal case is done, Biff is unlikely to be in the White House unless he gets a 3rd term.

 

And while we are hearing more positive rhetoric from ODOT Director Marchbanks, they're a long way from initiating let alone completing a project development process to be eligible for federal rail funds again.

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Edited by KJP
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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Yep, we missed that AND the Columbus-Chicago route. Replaced it with a new tweet. Please vote!!

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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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While there has been a steady increase in ridership, Virgin Trains (Brightline) continues to fall below projections, traffic on I-95 is still nightmarish, there continue to be accidents at urban RR crossings, despite speed reductions and a trip from MIA to WPB only cuts 10-15 minutes off of drive times.

 

They need dedicated ROWs for increased speed and a reduction in fares to increase ridership.

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The fares are higher because they're unsubsidized. When the commuter service starts on FEC all the way to WPB, the ridership will kick in.  Train services usually succeed even when they're slower than driving if they have low fares, frequency, local connections and good land use around stations.

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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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12 hours ago, KJP said:

The fares are higher because they're unsubsidized. When the commuter service starts on FEC all the way to WPB, the ridership will kick in.  Train services usually succeed even when they're slower than driving if they have low fares, frequency, local connections and good land use around stations.

 

Keep beating that drum KJP.  We need train service back in Ohio.

 

I would pay a higher fare than the cost to fly to take a train between Cincinnati and Cleveland rather than drive, even if the travel time were the same.  Why?  Because I could work, read, sleep, and get up and walk around, instead of paying attention to and stressing over traffic for four hours.  (And I was rear-ended on I-71 in an accident caused by a texting teen two cars back -- take your texting to the train and save money!)  And my parents can't drive any more, so a train at any speed would be a huge plus for them to keep traveling.  

 

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It's weird how that ignores existing rail lines...period.

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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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To be fair, reading this dude's responses to folks, it doesn't sound like he expected it to blow up as much as it did. I think it was just a fun idea that ballooned in the twitterverse (but take note, Ohio Legislators, people want rail). 

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1 hour ago, KJP said:

It's weird how that ignores existing rail lines...period.

 

Indeed.  Cincinnati to Columbus via Mason, Lebanon, and Wilmington?  The way to do that would be to use the former B&O Midland via Loveland, Blanchester (no need to stop there 😉), and then Wilmington to Washington Court House, etc.  There has never been any direct connection between Lebanon and Wilmington, which would require bridging the Little Miami River Gorge near the I-71 Jeremiah Morrow Bridge.   The abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad Zanesville Branch did run between *South* Lebanon and Wilmington, crossing Todd Fork and other tributaries some 18 times.  http://www.jjakucyk.com/transit/map/index.html  Best stick to the more established usable routes. 

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8 minutes ago, jjakucyk said:

 

Indeed.  Cincinnati to Columbus via Mason, Lebanon, and Wilmington?  The way to do that would be to use the former B&O Midland via Loveland, Blanchester (no need to stop there 😉), and then Wilmington to Washington Court House, etc.  There has never been any direct connection between Lebanon and Wilmington, which would require bridging the Little Miami River Gorge near the I-71 Jeremiah Morrow Bridge.   The abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad Zanesville Branch did run between *South* Lebanon and Wilmington, crossing Todd Fork and other tributaries some 18 times.  http://www.jjakucyk.com/transit/map/index.html  Best stick to the more established usable routes. 

Great map, thanks for sharing.

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8 minutes ago, GISguy said:

Great map, thanks for sharing.

 

I would hope someone with GIS in their name would appreciate it. 

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This could go in multiple rail threads, but I'll post it here since the map/news was originally posted here....

 

Passenger rail system in Ohio? One ‘data nerd’ has an idea on how to make it possible.

https://ohiocapitaljournal.com/2019/12/05/passenger-rail-system-in-ohio-one-data-nerd-has-an-idea-on-how-to-make-it-possible/

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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Did you know #Ohio *almost* had fast-#rail line between #Cleveland, #Columbus, #Dayton & #Cincinnati? We're talking with Josh Lapp of @TransitColumbus about the 79 mph "#3C Corridor" @Amtrak line we'd be upgrading to 110 mph now, but it never came to be.

 

 

 

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"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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