$2.2 billion in capital improvements, 1.6 million annual ridership — and growing!
There are more than 1.6 million reasons why passenger rail is very much alive between the Midwest and East Coast rail hubs. That’s how many people rode trains in the 960-mile Chicago-South Bend-Fort Wayne-Toledo-Cleveland-Buffalo-Rochester-Syracuse-Albany-New York City travel corridor – one of the world’s most populous.
Or, we could have bragged there were 2.2 billion reasons, pointing to the dollar value of rail infrastructure safety and performance improvements built since 2010, underway or in detailed engineering – today.
Either way, All Aboard Ohio is committed to encouraging Amtrak, the Federal Railroad Administration, Congress, en route communities and host railroads Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation to keep partnering, working, improving, building and expanding.
The need is there. A decade of growth in rail travel is due to the rising cost and growing inconvenience of car and air travel, more young people preferring public transportation over driving, aging baby boomers lacking the stamina for long-distance driving and improved rail service quality.
There are nearly 4,500 people per day riding on trains that traveled on at least 100 miles of the Chicago-Cleveland-Buffalo-New York City route. That ridership includes 613,640 passengers in 2011 on long-distance trains (Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited), a 5.2 percent rise over 2010.
And it includes 1,023,698 riders on short- and medium-distance trains (Empire Service and the Maple Leaf), a 4 percent increase over 2010. This does not include Amtrak’s Chicago-Michigan trains which use the westernmost 40 miles of the Chicago-New York City route and carried 797,017 riders in 2011. SOURCE
Unlike government-owned and financed airports and highways, the Chicago-New York City rail corridor is owned mostly by private interests, namely Norfolk Southern Corp. west of Cleveland and CSX Transportation Inc. east of Cleveland. NS and CSX operate about 150 freight trains per day on substantial portions of this route.
If this rail facility did not exist, at least 40,000 trucks per day would be added to a highway system whose physical condition consistently receives poor grades by the American Society of Civil Engineers in its annual report cards. Thus All Aboard Ohio is committed to creating win-win situations for passengers and freight when advocating infrastructure improvements that accommodate growth for both modes.
Thus, the following significant rail infrastructure improvements (planned or underway) are important for accommodating the growth of passenger and freight rail services in the busy Chicago-New York City corridor.