• Cincinnati Union Terminal

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by gokeefe
Miraculous ... Even pre-COVID it seemed like everything was such a roller coaster, surging ridership levels, new services coming online, food service changes that were a weird combination of good and bad, and some cuts were still being made in certain areas.

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  by dgvrengineer
Good news is not only Cincinnati, but also 14 other stations.
  by Tadman
I lived outside Cinci for four years of college, there are a number of items at play here:

1. Ohio has never really been supportive of rail service. We say that about Indiana, too, but Indiana spends millions per year on NICTD while Ohio has nothing of the sort.
2. It's not hard to see why. Service was mostly PRR and NYC when they were in bad shape, completely broke Penn Central, and Amtrak in wee hours. Virtually anybody alive in Ohio thinks passenger trains suck.
3. The Cleveland RTA has been poorly managed with no real strategic goals since the 1976 handover. The Cinci subway was not completed in 1925 and doesn't really serve a useful pattern if tracks were laid in tunnels today.

Given those three facts, the optics are bad and support is minimal.

If Cinci had meaningful service, a new small station in a good neighborhood is desirable. Cinci is spread out from the airport way down south, a quiet downtown, some eastern and western suburbs, very vibrant northern suburbs, and a metroplex stretching to Dayton. There is Xavier, Miami, and U of Cinci plus U of Dayton and Wright State up north. GE has a jet plant, Fifth Third is downtown, and Wright Pat AFB is halfway to Dayton.

The automatic answer to a station location is downtown by the ballpark, but that's on a shortline and is hard to get to. Orginally there was also a "suburban" station in Norwood but that's now urban and too close, so the suburban stop might be Fairfield or Hamilton, or even Oxford.

For a new station, though, you need meaningful service. Number one in my book is breaking up the Cardinal. It's an infrequent slow dog at the wrong time. 1x to Washington and 2x to Indy/Chicago daily. Then, if you can finagle a new start, a TRE-like Dayton shuttle. No food, cab cars, high density. If you they could stretch it, CVG airport, downtown Cinci, then up NS or CSX through Hamilton, Middletown, Miamisburg, Kettering, Dayton, and terminate at either Dayton Airport, Wright Pat, or Springfield.

Odds of fixing the Cardinal? Maybe 30%.

Odds of a Dayton-CVG shuttle? Maybe negative 12%.
  by gokeefe
If Ohio wanted service from Amtrak they could pay for it. They don't and as best I can tell they don't want to pay for trains that take people back and forth from points out of state (CHI, IND, PGH).

The 3C corridor has huge capital costs associated with it because the corridor hasn't had passenger service in so long.

That's the conundrum for Ohio. The corridor that makes the most sense is really expensive to put back in passenger service.

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  by Tadman
I'm not sure I buy into the 3C anymore. It's a 30 year old idea that came to life because someone drew a line on a map between the three biggest cities within state lines in an attempt to broaden Amtrak's scope. It didn't make much sense then, and not much now. Cleveland is linked to the metals industry, stretching to Pittsburgh. They have banks linked to New York, and shipping and mining interests in conjunction with places like Duluth and Buffalo. Columbus is a state capitol and has a vibrant univerity and commercial sector, but it's not necessarily tied to Cleveland and Cinci. Cinci and Dayton are heavily automotive towns, linked more to each other and Detroit than in-state.
  by gokeefe
Maybe the solution is two distinct corridors ... Toledo - Cleveland and Columbus - Dayton - Cincinnati. At least if you get to Toledo MIDOT might consider funding from the state line to Detroit.

Interesting problem. I can't think of another example where a state had two possible state supported corridors that did not share a terminal point in common.

Vermont is the only other example that even comes close and both of those trains ultimately serve New York.

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  by BAR
Why was CUT called a terminal? Back in the day of seven railroads using it weren't there through trains? Thanks for any explanation.

  by Tadman
gokeefe wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 9:33 pm Interesting problem. I can't think of another example where a state had two possible state supported corridors that did not share a terminal point in common.
I think we're conditioned to think that way. The Anglo/Euro model sees London, Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, and Moscow as hubs. It's carried over into places like Argentina and Australia where a strong Anglo rail influence is felt.

But look at Michigan, California, Texas, Florida, Tennessee, we can come up with some pretty reasonable pairs that don't match.

Chicago-Grand Rapids, and Toledo-Detroit-Port Huron
San Diego-LA, and Oakland-Sacramento
Houston-New Orleans and DFW-San Antonio

Note that these are projected/possible corridors, not actual operations.