What will it take to make Amtrak’s tri-weekly Cardinal a daily train?
That question hung over a public hearing held Sept. 23 in Cincinnati attended by about 100 mostly supportive people.
Amtrak estimates daily service will result in a 96 percent increase in ridership.
Among the attendees were officials from other regions of the country that have worked to preserve Amtrak service.
Conference organizers said their primary objective in holding the conference was to organize support for increasing service on the Cardinal route.
Among the attendees were representatives of chambers of commerce, the Federal Railroad Administration, colleges, the tourism industry, and elected officials.
Also represented were freight railroads CSX, Buckingham Branch, and Indiana & Ohio. The Cardinal is hosted by the first two of those railroads.
Speaking on behalf of Amtrak was Morrell Savoy, deputy general manager of Amtrak’s long-distance business Line. Other speakers shared their experiences with grassroots-based efforts to restore and enhance passenger rail services.
The Cardinal operated daily until it was discontinued on Sept. 30, 1981, during a budget shortfall.
The late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia succeeded in getting some funding restored and the Cardinal resumed service on Jan. 8, 1982, as a tri-weekly train.
Among the cities served by the Cardinal are Chicago; Indianapolis; Cincinnati; Charleston, West Virginia; Washington; Philadelphia and New York.