Friday, March 30, 2007

"All Aboard Ohio welcomes daylight Amtrak train to Cleveland

Breaking Amtrak News from All Aboard Ohio:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ken Prendergast, Director
March 30, 2007 Research/Communications
(216) 986-6064 office
(216) 288-4883 cell

All Aboard Ohio welcomes daylight Amtrak train to Cleveland

CLEVELAND – All Aboard Ohio, a nonprofit organization, today announced it welcomed what is hopefully an initial attempt at improving passenger train services in Ohio.

Starting April 3, Amtrak’s daily eastbound Lake Shore Limited (Train #49) will offer daylight service between Cleveland and cities in New York. The same train will also offer overnight service between Chicago and downtown Cleveland. Train #49 is scheduled to arrive Cleveland from Chicago at 6:22 a.m. and depart for New York at 7 a.m. First-class compartments, economy coach seating, lounge and dining services are available.

This will be the first time in 36 years that convenient train schedules have been offered in these busy travel markets. Here are some key points regarding this new schedule:

§ All Aboard Ohio and the Ohio Congressional Delegation wrote letters to Amtrak's president and board chairman asking for more usuable train services to Ohioans.

§ Amtrak is continuing to negotiate with freight railroad CSX Corp. to reschedule the daily westbound Lake Shore Limited (Train #48) over CSX’s tracks to serve Cleveland at a more convenient time than the current 3:30 a.m. arrival.

§ The new eastbound schedule allows business travelers from Chicago to travel by train to attend a 9 or 10 a.m. meeting in Cleveland without waking before 4 a.m. to catch a 6 a.m. flight in Chicago. Even if Train #49 is delayed up to 2 hours by frequent freight train traffic, business travelers can still make their meeting on-time thanks to the train’s 6:22 a.m. scheduled arrival in downtown Cleveland.

§ While Cleveland gains from the rescheduling, Toledo loses. The Lake Shore Limited will serve Toledo at less convenient times. Amtrak’s only other daily train service to Ohio, the Capitol Limited, also serves Toledo. This situation, as well as record Amtrak ridership in 2006 and volatile gasoline prices, underscore a need for more trains and thus more federal funding in partnership with states like Ohio.

§ Two bills (S.294 and H.R. 1300) were introduced to Congress to address America’s woefully under-capitalized rail system by unclogging railroad traffic bottlenecks, allowing Amtrak to acquire new train equipment and availing federal funding for new, short-distance services like those envisioned in the state’s emerging Ohio Hub Plan, including fast trains linking Cleveland - Columbus - Dayton - Cincinnati (3-C Corridor). All Aboard Ohio strongly encourages Gov. Ted Strickland and ODOT Director James Beasley to urge the Ohio Congressional Delegation to support both bills.

NEWS VIDEO/PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Starting April 3rd, 7 a.m. departure of Train #49 from Cleveland Amtrak Station, off South Marginal Road, between W. 3rd and E. 9th streets.


Also, the Plain Dealer is asking it's readers to share their thoughts about this improved service. So Tell him what you think:

Dear Readers,

Reporter Grant Segall is working on a story about AMTRAK's decision to restore daytime service from Cleveland to New York, with a planned 7 a.m. departure.

He is looking for people who might be likely to use the train, which takes 13 to 15 hours to get to New York, in order to avoid the hassles of air travel. If you think you might use this service, or even if you have a strong negative opinion of it, Grant would like to hear from you.

The story will run tomorrow, so if you are going to contact him, you will have to do it right away. Please include your name, city of residence and a daytime phone number, and send your remarks to

Thank you,

Ted Diadiun

Reader Representative