Columbus-Lima-Ft Wayne-Chicago passenger rail study released

Columbus-Chicago map1

How does traveling the 303 miles from Columbus to Chicago in 3 hours, 45 minutes sound? Or from Lima to Chicago in under 2 hours, 30 minutes? That’s what a mix of express and local service trains along existing but upgraded, arrow-straight railroad rights of way between these cities could accomplish at a cost far less than what it would take to build an Interstate highway in this travel corridor. Imagine the economic benefits this could bring to cities and businesses along this route. Actually, you don’t have to imagine….

Our friends at the Northeast Indiana Passenger Rail Association have released a very important Feasibility Study and Business Plan that will help all stakeholders, including All Aboard Ohio, educate our elected officials on the need for fast passenger trains in this busy travel corridor. Despite the travel demand in this corridor, there is no Interstate highway serving it, which also means bus service is slow and therefore not attractive. There is airline service, but flights can be expensive, especially to/from Fort Wayne. And for travelers bound for downtown Chicago — the Midwest’s economic capital — the train will actually be faster and less expensive than any other travel mode. For some, the train can act as the connecting flight to reach the global economy via airports in Chicago and Columbus.

Columbus — the Midwest’s third-largest city — deserves better transportation. It is the largest city in America without any passenger train or light-rail transit services. Also note the Fort Wayne is the second-largest city in Indiana. Its economic orientation is to Chicago. With a fast rail link to reach Chicago in less than two hours, Fort Wayne would be a more attractive, low-cost and high quality-of-life setting for businesses including corporate offices, the study found.

Specifically, the study noted these benefits:

  • 12,000 temporary jobs and 26,800 permanent jobs resulting from  this project;
  • Generate $7.1 billion in increased output for the region’s businesses;
  • Generate $6 billion worth of direct user benefits over the 30-year life of the project;
  • Start-up costs estimated at $4 million per mile vs. 10 times that for Interstate highway construction;
  • For every $1 invested in this project, an economic return of $1.70 is forecast.
  • 2.1 million riders in 2020, rising to 3.3 million by 2040, with 79% of riders diverted from cars;
  • Reduced emissions, traffic and dependence on expensive fuel;
  • Rail fares set at 2/3 that of air fares will generate annual farebox revenue of $116 million in 2020 rising to $190 million by 2040.

The next step is to secure funding for a Tier I environmental assessment for corridor development planning. Please share this study with community leaders, business persons and others when communicating the need for improved transportation to your area. Only through education can we win — and we need your help to spread the word! Let’s start today!

6 Comments to "Columbus-Lima-Ft Wayne-Chicago passenger rail study released"

  1. July 22, 2013 - 10:56 AM | Permalink

    Excuse me but doesnt route 23 follow this same route? So there is a highway along this same route.

    • Gary N's Gravatar Gary N
      August 29, 2013 - 10:02 AM | Permalink

      Actually Mike it is 33 west to Bellfountain 68 north to Dunkirk 81 t0 Lima 309 to Delphos 30 to Chicago, This would be the nearest state routs to the rail line.


  2. September 26, 2013 - 8:15 PM | Permalink

    I hope that we can get some sort of high speed rail from/to Columbus in the very near future. I think that it is a shame that a city the size of Columbus does not have any passenger rail service.

  3. David Aldinger's Gravatar David Aldinger
    May 20, 2014 - 3:32 PM | Permalink

    the route from Chicago to Lima would be a good place to consider for extending the Pennsylvanian, in the process restoring service along the ex-Pennsy route between Lima and Pittsburgh.

  4. Jason's Gravatar Jason
    May 21, 2014 - 12:57 PM | Permalink

    I wonder what this could be mean for people wanting to travel to Columbus from other points. For instance, perhaps some sort of inter-bus service with a west-bound Lake Shore Limited?

  5. Vernon Ray's Gravatar Vernon Ray
    February 28, 2015 - 11:50 AM | Permalink

    I think this would be great in every way but why stop there. Airports would lose business and to compete would have to lower the price . Myself I would love to have a private car and cross the U.S.and see the sights. Maybe make a few stops and spend some money. So if that could happen I’m all in.

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