Amtrak plan for Cincy, Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton gets first early funding

This is preliminary planning money for the long talked-about 3C-and-D passenger rail route.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The Federal Railroad Administration has identified four routes in Ohio as priorities for Amtrak expansion, including a proposed line connecting Cincinnati to Dayton, Cleveland and Columbus.

Amtrak, the state of Ohio and other planning organizations will start corridor development work, including the creation of a service development plan, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, announced on Tuesday.

The Federal Railroad Administration will provide $500,000 to pay for planning for each of the four routes, including the proposed service between Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati (3-C+D corridor).

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The four Ohio corridors will receive priority in future funding competitions, Brown’s office said.

At present, Amtrak’s routes dip into Ohio largely along the northern and southern borders of the state. In southwest Ohio, riders currently only have nearby access to the Cardinal line, which stops in Cincinnati once a day. Passengers board anywhere from 1 to 4 a.m. and either head east toward New York or go westbound toward Chicago.

Heading west, the Cardinal line runs through both Hamilton and Oxford — two Butler County cities with different strategic value to Amtrak, both with officials who are interested in reaping the economic benefits of becoming a stop along an inter-city railway.

Oxford, home to Miami University, has plans to begin building an Amtrak station off Main Street as early as 2026.

The city of Hamilton has been discussing an Amtrak stop possibility for a while.

“The two corridors we are located on, Cincinnati-Dayton-Columbus-Cleveland (3C+D) and the Cardinal route, have both received funding,” said Hamilton City Council Member Michael Ryan in a social media post. “This will provide $500,000 in funding for planning in each of the corridors.”

“This is a significant achievement for us and a major step forward to get Amtrak in Hamilton. We have a lot more work to do but we are making significant progress,” he said.

Part of the planning work will include identifying capital construction projects needed to initiate or expand passenger rail service to those areas, his office said.

“Today’s announcement is a great first step toward expanding Amtrak in Ohio,” Sen. Brown said in a statement Tuesday. “Good Amtrak service shouldn’t be a privilege only for people on the coasts. These new routes would expand opportunity, help grow businesses and create jobs, and connect communities in Ohio and across the Midwest.”

Amtrak officials and some local leaders have come out in strong support of creating a new intercity rail service connecting Cincinnati to Ohio’s largest cities.

Other corridors that will receive money for planning-stage work are the following:

  • Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit;
  • Chicago-Fort Wayne-Columbus-Pittsburgh, the Midwest Connect corridor via Lima, Kenton, Marysville, Columbus, Newark, Coshocton, Newcomerstown, Uhrichsville, and Steubenville in Ohio;
  • Daily Cardinal Service, increasing service frequency from three days per week to daily on Amtrak’s current service to Cincinnati between New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, IL via the States of Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.

Staff Writer Avery Kreemer contributed to this report.

About the Author