CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The above story aired on March 8, 2021
Amtrak is set to resume daily service through Cleveland as the company continues to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting on May 31, the Capitol Limited, which runs from Washington, DC to Chicago and the Lake Shore Limited, which goes from New York to Chicago, will move back to daily service. Both routes have been limited to three days a week since June of 2020.
The move by Amtrak comes following passage of COVID-19 relief funding by Congress. The company says it plans to restore daily service for 12 of its long distance routes and recall more than 1,200 furloughed employees through the remainder of this fiscal year and into next year.
“Offering daily long distance service represents a vital step in our road to recovery,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn. “Recognizing the immense value of our employees, we’d like to thank Congress for enabling service restoration and helping us recall furloughed employees.”
As Amtrak recovers from the pandemic, it is also looking into the future with an ambitious expansion plan that involves Cleveland and the state of Ohio.
Last month, details of Amtrak's proposed expansion were revealed by All Aboard Ohio, a public transportation advocacy group.
The new routes would include:
- Cleveland-Columbus-Dayton-Cincinnati (3C) Corridor: three daily round trips with intermediate station stops
- Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit-Pontiac: three daily round trips with intermediate station stops, including a possible extension of Wolverine Corridor train service from Chicago
- Cleveland-Pittsburgh-New York: one daily round trip with intermediate station stops via an extension of Keystone Corridor train service
- Cleveland-Buffalo-Albany-New York: two daily round trips with intermediate station stops
- Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Chicago: four daily round trips with intermediate station stops;
Amtrak's ambitious expansion would be financed completely by federal money through a proposed new rail program, but it must be approved by Congress and President Biden.
"We have developed a visionary plan to expand rail service across the nation, providing service to large metropolitan areas that have little or no Amtrak service," Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told 3News in an email. "Frequent and reliable corridor routes of typically less than 500 miles represent the fastest growing segment of Amtrak service. Population growth, changing demographics, travel preferences and environmental concerns all point to new opportunities for intercity passenger rail."
Earlier this month, Cleveland City Council passed a resolution supporting Amtrak’s proposed expansion of passenger rail services in Ohio. All Aboard of Ohio says similar resolutions have been passed in Cincinnati, Elyria, Hamilton, Oxford, and are pending in Columbus, Dayton, and Toledo.
In addition, Cleveland City Council is urging Ohio's members of Congress to support a renewal of the federal Surface Transportation Reauthorization and also sign off on the appropriate funds for the proposed expansion.
Editor's Note: The below video aired on February 2, 2021