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Rail News: High-Speed Rail

Amtrak completes ridership, revenue study for Ohio's 3C Corridor


The same day that the Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) announced that it planned to submit a Track 2 stimulus application to the Federal Railroad Administration for the state's proposed 3C Corridor, the commission stated the high-speed rail route will have riders to support it.

Amtrak now has completed a draft ridership and revenue study of the 3C "Quick Start" Passenger Rail Plan, which shows that nearly half a million people would ride the Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati train annually. Based on Amtrak's ridership projections, the 3C service would rank as the nation's 12th largest generator of passenger-rail traffic.

In addition, the draft report estimates that the state would need to invest up to $342.6 million in the corridor for infrastructure improvements, track and signal upgrades, and maintenance facilities. Ohio would need to spend up to $17 million annually to keep the service operational. The Ohio Department of Transportation plans to use non-gas tax dollars for operating funds, including revenue from train advertising, franchise fees and existing grant dollars.

Amtrak recommends that Ohio invest in five trainsets (four active, one in reserve), with each comprising a locomotive and control car, five coach cars and a food service car with business-class seating. Due to the limited supply of refurbished passenger cars, Amtrak recommends that Ohio purchase new passenger equipment, at a cost of about $175 million.

Annual revenue, including ticket sales, would total more than $12 million annually, according to the study.

Study results will be used as part of ORDC's application for federal High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail funds. If the agency receives stimulus funds for the project, 79 mph trains could be operating on the corridor by 2011. ORDC has proposed the route eventually be upgraded so trains could operate at speeds up to 110 mph. The corridor would connect to the proposed Chicago Hub network.



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More News from 9/15/2009