Ohio Town Makes Bid to be Cardinal Station Stop

Oxford, Ohio, is making a push to become a station stop for Amtrak’s Cardinal.

Located on a former Baltimore & Ohio line between Cincinnati and Indianapolis, it has been more 60 years since the Butler County college town had passenger rail service.

Oxford and Miami University officials plan to send a joint letter to Amtrak officials asking for the city to be made a scheduled stop for the tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal.

“We have a lot of Miami University students who come from and through Chicago,” Oxford City Manager Douglas Elliott said.

Passenger rail service in Oxford ended in December 1950. Oxford’s long-abandoned B&O station was razed in 1994.

The last passenger trains to stop in Oxford were motor cars operating between Indianapolis and Hamilton, Ohio.

A request to stop the Cardinal in Oxford was rejected by Amtrak in 2009, but city and university officials – along with regional rail advocates – said recent communications show Amtrak now to be more interested in accommodating millennial-aged passengers, of which Miami has about 16,000.

“The conditions have changed with Amtrak and this time we’re more optimistic,” said Elliott.

A rail stop now makes sense argued officials.

Miami students make up the largest portion of Oxford’s 22,000 population, of which 44 percent are between the ages of 20 and 24. University restrictions on vehicles and campus parking make driving scarce and costly.

A growing percentage of Miami’s students are from out-of-state. The school also has attracted many students from the Chicago area, said Miami officials.

“The greater Chicagoland area is home to the largest out-of-state concentration of alumni, and provides us with large numbers of students each year,” said Ray Mock, executive director of the Miami University Alumni Association.

School officials also cite a growing Asian student population, many of whom enter America by flying into Chicago.

“I think an Amtrak route between Oxford and Chicago would be a welcome asset,” said Mock.

Oxford would need a station, which officials said will be similar to a bus shelter, said Derek Bauman, southwest regional director for All Aboard Ohio, a pro-rail group that also backed downtown Cincinnati’s recent streetcar project.

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