Posts Tagged ‘Passenger trains to Columbus Ohio’

CSX May Balk on PTC for the Columbus Line Sub

April 12, 2016

CSX is considering downgrading its Columbus Line Subdivision between Galion and Columbus and rerouting the through freights on the route elsewhere rather than pay the estimated $6 million cost of installing positive train control.

All Aboard Ohio, a rail passenger advocacy group, said that if CSX downgrades the Columbus Line it could have adverse consequences for development of the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati passenger corridor.

CSX logo 1The freight railroad currently routes five to 10 trains per day over the Columbus Line and the route meets the federal threshold for requiring PTC.

A rail route must have a PTC system if it handles more than 5 million gross tons of traffic a year, hosts passenger service, or sees shipments of materials defined as toxic by inhalation.

If CSX downgrades the route rather than install PTC, it would maintain the track to Class 2 standards with a top speed of 30 mph for passenger trains and 25 mph for freight. CSX might also remove or turn off the block signals used on the route.

PTC costs an average of about $100,000 per mile, depending on the physical characteristics of the terrain being traversed.

The 60-mile Columbus Line between Galion and Columbus is currently maintained to Class 4 standards of 80 mph for passenger and 60 mph for freight.

CSX has the option of rerouting through freights now operating over the Columbus Line in a dog leg fashion via the Scottslawn Subdivision between Columbus and Ridgeway and thence over the Mt. Victory Subdivision between Ridgeway and Galion.

A remote-control connecting track between the Scottslawn and Mt. Victory subdivisions already exists in the southeast quadrant of the diamond.

AAO reported that CSX might lease the Columbus Line to short line operate Genesee & Wyoming, which already has a base of operations in Columbus.

The largest freight customer on the Columbus Line is an Anheuser-Busch brewery in Worthington on the north side of the Columbus metropolitan region.

The Columbus Line represents about a quarter of the proposed 3C Corridor. AAO noted that the line between Columbus and Delaware has been discussed as a possible commuter rail operation because it lies in the busiest commuting corridor in central Ohio.

The Columbus Line has not hosted passenger trains since a pair of Penn Central trains between Cleveland and Columbus were discontinued on May 1, 1971, with the coming of Amtrak.

AAO has described the 3C corridor as one of the most promising intercity rail routes in the nation.

Ohio received a $400 million federal grant to use toward establishing Cleveland-Cincinnati Amtrak service, but Gov. John Kasich canceled the 3C Quick Start plan shortly after being elected in 2010.

Fort Wayne Wants High Speed Rail Study

February 14, 2014

Indiana officials are moving ahead with an environmental study of a proposed high-speed rail passenger route linking Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, via Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Fort Wayne city council voted unanimously to contribute $200,000 to the study, about 10 percent of its cost.

The proposed $1.2 billion project envisions trains operating at 110 mph. The Chicago–Fort Wayne travel time would be less than than two hours and business class ticket would cost $39-49. The study is expected to take 18 months to complete.

“I believe this is critically important. If we do not move forward diligently, this project could be in jeopardy,” said city council member Geoff Paddock. He is also a board member of the Indiana Passenger Rail Association.

The passenger advocacy group says the line would be self-supporting and could turn a profit.

Allen County, in which Fort Wayne is located, may contribute $50,000 to the study, but needs to identify a source of funding.

At one time, Fort Wayne was served by Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Broadway Limited and the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited. Both trains were rerouted away from Fort Wayne in November 1990 after Conrail downgraded the former Pennsylvania Railroad mainline in Indiana and western Ohio. Amtrak established a stop at Waterloo, Ind., to serve Fort Wayne.

Chicago-Columbus High Speed Rail Line Eyed

July 10, 2013

A consultant’s report estimates that a high-speed rail link between Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, via Fort Wayne, Ind., would cost $1.6 billion but create more than 26,000 fulltime jobs.

The report was prepared for the State of Indiana at a cost of $80,000.

The report estimated that for each dollar invested, the region would receive $1.70 in direct benefits, resulting in $700 million in additional household income across the 11-city corridor.

The feasibility study estimates service starting with 12 daily trains traveling a maximum speed of 110 mph could make the 300-mile Chicago-Columbus trip in four hours. At speeds of up to 130 mph, the trip time would drop to 3 hours, 20 minutes for express trains.

The federal government would pay for 80 percent of the development cost of the corridor with the remaining cost split between Ohio and Indiana.

If current Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration accept the report, economic and environmental impact reviews would come next, followed by preliminary engineering. The earliest construction would begin is 2016.

Columbus is among the largest cities in the nation without Amtrak rail service. Ohio’s capital city lost intercity rail service in 1979 when Amtrak’s National Limited was discontinued between New York and Kansas City. Service between Columbus and Chicago ended in the 1960s.