GALION — Friends of the Big Four Depot is using social media to educate people about the history and future potential of passenger rail service in Ohio.
The organization has been posting vignettes about the history of passenger rail service in Galion on its Facebook page detailing the bustling business that railroads enjoyed for many years in the local area. One of the stories, posted on Feb. 6, quotes statistics from 1932 when 10,116 passenger trains made stops in Galion, amounting to an average of 27 trains per day. Another 7,300 freight trains made stops in Galion in 1932, upping the daily average to about 50.
According to statistics from that year, commerce produced by the railroads in Galion accounted for about $19,000 in annual tax revenue for Crawford County, the equivalent of about $400,000 today.
Mike Hocker, a member of the Friends of the Big Four Depot and a staunch advocate for passenger rail service, said he hopes the series will help spur an interest in and support for a revival of passenger rail service.
“I’ve always been a proponent of bringing passenger rail service back to Ohio,” said Hocker, who is also a member of advocacy group All Aboard Ohio. “There has been a proposed route from Cleveland to Columbus and down to Cincinnati. It’s called the 3-C Corridor. This corridor has been run up the flagpole several times since the late 1980s, but it’s really never come to fruition.”
According to a report on the All Aboard Ohio website, Amtrak has proposed five passenger rail routes for Ohio. The 3-C Corridor would run from Cleveland to Columbus to Dayton to Cincinnati with three daily round trips and “intermediate stops.” Other proposed routes include Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Chicago, Cleveland-Toledo-Detroit-Pontiac, Cleveland-Buffalo-Albany-New York, and Cleveland-Pittsburgh-New York.
Hocker noted that “intermediate stops” along the 3-C Corridor could include Galion and Springfield. A map accompanying the report on the All Aboard Ohio website does show the potential 3-C Corridor route passing through the Galion area.
All Aboard Ohio reports that Amtrak is seeking $300 million annually from Congress to develop “high-potential corridors (corridors are routes under 750 miles). The Ohio routes are among those nationwide that Amtrak identified as having a high potential of success.”
Before any passenger rail service development can happen in the Buckeye State, though, the Ohio Department of Transportation must request the service from Amtrak or other passenger rail providers. Additionally, the Ohio General Assembly, in the biennial budget, would have to “authorize the development of federally compliant corridor plans so it can reach a contract with Amtrak or another passenger rail provider,” according to All Aboard Ohio.
The group is encouraging supporters of passenger rail service in Ohio to contact Gov. Mike DeWine as well as state and federal lawmakers about the issue.
For information about All Aboard Ohio, visit its website allaboardohio.org.
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