2 Sites Eyed for Oxford Amtrak Station

Amtrak is eying two locations in Oxford for a station to serve the Chicago-New York Cardinal.

The sites include former BP Oil property at 719 S. Main St. and the area south of Chestnut Street adjacent to the city garage.

Railroad officials have indicated they favor the Chestnut Street site because the BP property does not have room for a 400-foot station platform.

“We are looking at a Category 4 station, just a platform with a canopy,” said City Manager Doug Elliot. “They gave us information on which site they prefer. We need to get approval, not only from Amtrak, but also CSX. Next, we have to talk about who owns the site.”

The Chestnut Street location not only would allow for a 400-foot platform but also has the advantage of having adjacent land that is publicly owned.

City officials said a category 4 station would be “a minimalist stop” and “basically a bus stop.”

Oxford Amtrak Committee member Alan Kyger said the platform design would need approval of CSX, which owns the tracks used by the Cardinal through Oxford, a southwestern Ohio city that is the home of Miami University.

CSX also owns the property on which the platform would be constructed, but the shelter at the site would be off railroad property.

“CSX owns the track and they are all about freight trains. Amtrak can interfere with freight travel,” Kyger said. “From what we hear, that can take a long time. CSX oversees all work on this project. It adds a layer of cost. It adds a layer of time.”

Kyger said having government entities owning much of the space to be used for the station helps the process.

“We’re at a point where we need to figure out where to put this and how much it will cost and who will pay for this,” Kyger said, adding that estimates may range from $500,000 to more than $1 million.

“Everybody agrees it’s a great thing but who’s going to pay for it?” he said.

Kyger said Amtrak and city officials are open to other possible locations for an Oxford station.

“It’s not moving as fast as I would like,” he said. “No doubt, everyone would like to see it moving faster than it is. The good news is that Amtrak is on board.”

Amtrak rejected making Oxford a stop for the tri-weekly Cardinal in 2009 but has been receptive to recent efforts to revive the idea.

Miami University has been supportive of the campaign to establish an Amtrak station in Oxford, which despite having been on the Cardinal route for several years has not had intercity rail passenger service since the early 1950s.

If the Oxford stop is established, the Cardinal, would serve the city in the dead of night. It would be the second stop on the route between Cincinnati and Indianapolis.

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