Association begins Cincinnati-Chicago passenger rail campaign

Potential options for extending the existing Chicago-Indianapolis "Hoosier State" train service to Cincinnati -- a first step to faster, more frequent rail service between Cincinnati-Chicago. [CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE]

Potential options for extending the existing Chicago-Indianapolis “Hoosier State” train service to Cincinnati — a first step to faster, more frequent rail service between Cincinnati-Chicago. [CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE]

Following the election of Derek Bauman (E-mail or 513-262-0345) to the All Aboard Ohio board as Southwest Regional Director, the nonprofit educational association commenced a campaign to educate stakeholders on the benefits of improving rail infrastructure and passenger rail services between Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Lafayette and Chicago with proposed Ohio stops at Cincinnati Union Terminal, I-275 park-n-ride, Hamilton and Oxford. Mr. Bauman is co-chair of Cincinnatians for Progress which has been a strong backer of local public transit, including the streetcar in Cincinnati.

“All Aboard Ohio is happy to have Mr. Bauman on board to help move our Cincinnati-Chicago campaign forward,” said Ken Prendergast, Executive Director of All Aboard Ohio. “His interest and experience in economic development and transportation made him a natural to help lead this campaign in Southwest Ohio to improve train services to Chicago from the current Amtrak service which is slow, nocturnal and runs only thrice weekly. Car, bus and plane travel may never offer faster or less expensive service than what they offer now, while passenger rail service is only getting faster, more convenient, and cost-effective between many Midwestern cities like Chicago, St. Louis, Detroit and Milwaukee. Cincinnati needs to be part of this progress to remain economically competitive.”

Some parts of Ohio aren’t being left out. Development projects are emerging for new passenger rail service between Columbus-Lima-Fort Wayne-Chicago and faster, improved rail services linking Cleveland-Toledo-Chicago.

“I am honored and excited to be elected the Southwest Ohio Director for All Aboard Ohio at this crucial time for rail transit in our state,” Mr. Bauman said. “Across the country we see rail ridership reaching record numbers, vehicle miles-traveled dropping and a desire from everyone from Millennials to Empty-Nesters to be able to connect and travel via transit. I look forward to joining elected officials, business leaders and citizens groups across Ohio in implementing and expanding sensible rail transportation projects which will drive economic development, job creation, and a reduced reliance on an overburdened roadway system and fossil fuels.”

All Aboard Ohio’s long-term goal is to achieve 4-8 daily trains in each direction between Chicago and Cincinnati cruising at 110 mph speeds and offering a travel time of four hours from downtown Cincinnati and downtown Chicago. This is competitive with air travel, especially when a suburban park-n-ride station is offered in the vicinity of I-275. Since a long journey starts with a first step, All Aboard Ohio believes the following should be first step for Cincinnati-Chicago:

  • Extend the existing Chicago-Indianapolis “Hoosier State” train service to Cincinnati to provide daytime service over this route with Ohio station stops at Cincinnati Union Terminal, I-275 park-n-ride, Hamilton and Oxford;
  • Increase from thrice-weekly to daily the Amtrak “Cardinal” (Chicago-Cincinnati-Washington-New York City) to improve its operating performance by 31%;
  • Reduce passenger travel times between Cincinnati and Chicago by up to 2 hours, including enhanced grade crossing safety between Hamilton-Indianapolis.
  • Make rail traffic capacity improvements in Cincinnati’s Mill Creek valley to improve traffic flow for more than 100 freight trains or 30,000 truckload equivalents per day.
  • Projected capital costs for this Phase 1 service improvement are estimated at $40 million.

Over the long term,  the goal is to provide frequent passenger rail service at 110 mph between Cincinnati-Chicago. The Midwest Regional Rail Initiative (MWRRI) is moving forward in many other states, boosted by studies that show fast passenger trains in the Midwest (an economic powerhouse that would rank it as the 7th-most productive nation in the world) are producing significant ridership, revenues and economic benefits for communities and businesses in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and other states. All Aboard Ohio urges communities along the Cincinnati-Chicago route to come together to update MWRRI studies and formulate a business plan for developing this rail corridor.

The Cincinnati-Chicago travel corridor has a population of more than 15 million residents within 20 miles of the existing passenger train tracks. There are also many Fortune 500 corporations and dozens of universities and colleges. Plus, there are several commercial airports within a mile of the tracks where intermodal stations can be built and connected to air terminals via shuttle bus, people mover or even a moving walkway. Studies would identify major ridership sources, potential routing alternatives, passenger schedules, service amenities and capital investments necessary to maximize benefits for existing and future freight customers.

Lastly, All Aboard Ohio’s campaign includes a special promotion of a $5 membership fee for new members. Benefits include receiving a newspaper-format version of our quarterly Ohio Passenger Rail News, e-mails as-needed regarding important news and events, and your support will help the continuance of our informative Twitter and Facebook pages.

$5 per person to join All Aboard Ohio

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2 Comments to "Association begins Cincinnati-Chicago passenger rail campaign"

  1. Andrew Jody's Gravatar Andrew Jody
    May 23, 2014 - 1:54 PM | Permalink

    All aboard! This needs to happen. It’s insane that we let railway transportation slip through the cracks at any rate. I travel frequently for work, mostly east coast(NYC, Boston) but Chicago as well. This would make things a lot easier. We’re all sick of airports, and it would stimulate economies, just by making it easier for people to hop on a train and go somewhere for the weekend. Let’s make it happen!

  2. Robert Rose's Gravatar Robert Rose
    June 18, 2014 - 10:48 AM | Permalink

    I applaud Cincinatti for expressing an interest in rail travel as the alternative to roads. If you’ve driven an Indiana interstate lately, you know the train is much more pleasant. However, Indiana is in love with its cars and was the last state to offer funding for the Hoosier State when other states had already made agreements to help fund their trains. In fact, Indiana was after the deadline and only after a threat to lose the Amtrak Maintenance Facility in Beech Grove, and Indianapolis suburb. This is the route to take, but getting Indiana to participate will be difficult.

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