Could Passenger Rail Finally Expand Within Ohio?

A reported proposal from Amtrak suggests that Cincinnati could finally connect to Dayton, Columbus, Cleveland and beyond – but only if the budget is there.

Feb 16, 2021 at 4:48 pm
Could Passenger Rail Finally Expand Within Ohio?
Photo: Nelson from Pexels

Could passenger rail finally expand within Ohio? Rail-transportation advocacy group All Aboard Ohio thinks so.

All Aboard Ohio recently shared blueprints of proposed Amtrak rail corridors that include Cincinnati in statewide plans. Within the state, the routes would connect Cincinnati to Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland. Amtrak also reportedly is proposing three routes that would connect Ohio with other states.

Cincinnati currently is served by Amtrak's Cardinal train on a route that runs between Chicago and New York City.

Proposed routes include:

  • Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati (3C) Corridor: three daily round trips with intermediate station stops

  • Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Chicago: four daily round trips with intermediate station stops

  • Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit-Pontiac: three daily round trips with intermediate station stops, including a possible extension of Wolverine Corridor train service from Chicago

  • Cleveland-Buffalo-Albany-New York: two daily round trips with intermediate station stops

  • Cleveland-Pittsburgh-New York: one daily round trip with intermediate station stops via an extension of Keystone Corridor train service

CityBeat could not locate specific information about the proposed routes in the media or about sections of Amtrak's website.

Amtrak reportedly has been meeting with city leaders to discuss rail expansion initiated by 100% federal funds. The new rail program depends on support from Congress and the Biden administration, though U.S. President Joe Biden has vowed a "second great railroad revolution."

Along with the proposal, Amtrak reportedly is requesting $300 million per year from Congress to develop these Ohio corridors, which have the transportation corporation identifies as having high potential for success. Additionally, for these services to begin, the Ohio Department of Transport (ODOT) must request it from Amtrak.

This spring, Ohio’s General Assembly will review ODOT’s biennial budget. For construction to begin, All Aboard Ohio says, Ohio must authorize the development of federally compliant railroad plans. If the state does not authorize it, Ohio may have to wait another two years before progress on Amtrak’s reported plans can begin.

Read All Aboard Ohio's full report.