Posts Tagged ‘Cincinnati Union Terminal’

Cincinnati Union Terminal Reopens

November 15, 2018

A restoration of Cincinnati Union Terminal will wrap up this week when the 85-year-old art deco station reopens.

The $228 million restoration project took 30 months to complete after getting underway in July 2016.

The project was funded by a sales tax approved by Cincinnati and Hamilton County voters in 2014.

Amtrak’s Cardinal stops at the station and it is home to several museums.

The restoration effort involved rebuilding the structure down to its substructure and restoring the class murals in the rotunda to look the way that they did when the depot opened in 1933.

The neon-lined clock on the front of the building also was rehabilitated.

“This is a monumental achievement for our staff and volunteers and for the entire community” said Cody Hefner, a representative of the Cincinnati Museum Center.

“Everyone who works here, and really everyone in the community, has a story about Union Terminal, either as a train station or as a museum. So to be able to restore a place with such a personal connection, and to do so in such a grand, visible, breathtaking way, is really incredible.”

Amtrak moved its waiting room to an adjacent building during the restoration. It returned to CUT during the first week of November.

During the public reopening on Nov. 17, Hefner said projectors will be used to light the terminal’s exterior with different exhibits each evening.

A large Christmas train display, a tradition at CUT since 1946, will open to the public on Nov. 16.

Senators Protest Cincinnati Ticket Office Closing

June 2, 2018

Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have written to Amtrak seeking to get it to reconsider its decision to close its ticket office in Cincinnati on June 5.

“We believe that destaffing Union Terminal now would be pennywise and pound-foolish, as the decision to cut services now would likely need to be reversed once the terminal is fully renovated and ridership increases,” the senators wrote in their joint letter.

The letter expressed concern that removing ticket agents would leave passengers, especially the elderly and those with disabilities, without appropriate levels of service for baggage check, ticket purchasing, and general passenger assistance.

Amtrak serves Cincinnati with its tri-weekly Chicago-Washington Cardinal.

Cincinnati Still Pushing to Save Ticket Office

May 30, 2018

Cincinnati officials continue to push to prod Amtrak into delaying closing its ticket office at Union Terminal.

Board of Hamilton County Commissioners President Todd Portune was to introduce a resolution opposing the move.

The resolution asks Amtrak to delay staffing cuts until after renovations are complete and a better assessment of passenger traffic can be made.

“We can’t let Amtrak eliminate servicing passenger rail at Union Terminal without objecting to it, “ Portune said.

The resolution follows a letter sent to Amtrak by City of Cincinnati transit manager John Brazina urging the carrier to at least keep the staff at a temporary ticket office until the Cincinnati Museum Center renovations are complete.

“It is our understanding many people thought Amtrak discontinued service during the CMC renovation,” Brazina wrote.

Amtrak plans to close the ticket office on June 5 as part of a cost-cutting move that will shutter ticket offices at 15 stations nationwide.

The ticket offices targeted for closing reportedly serve 40 or fewer passengers per day.

Cincinnati with 2 million people in its metropolitan area is the largest city among the 15 losing a ticket office.

The next largest city to lose a ticket office is Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the number of passengers who board in Cincinnati has been steady over the past 10 years.

In 2007, 13,032 people boarded the Cardinal at Union Terminal, a number that fell slightly after the Union Terminal renovations began in 2016.

Amtrak trains served 12,481 passengers in Cincinnati in 2016 and 11,382 in 2017. Because Union Terminal is under construction, the Amtrak ticket office and waiting room has been housed in a temporary facility adjacent to the station.

Cincinnati lies on the route of the Chicago-Washington Cardinal, which stops in the Queen City in the dead of night in both directions three times a week.

Local officials and rail passenger advocates fear the closing of the ticket office will depress ridership and that could hurt Cincinnati’s chances at better passenger rail service in the future.

“In so far as the national discussion of train service, we’re starting to fall off the map,” Portune said. “I want to preserve passenger rail service as a transit option, especially for Hamilton County.”

Hamilton County wants Amtrak to share the costs with Cincinnati and other local governments to promote train service at Union Terminal and help push for daily train service here.

Magliari said that fewer than one in 10 passengers buy tickets in person at a ticket window, instead choosing to use an app, the Internet or the phone.

“Maintaining a full-time staff and a hardly used ticket counter was not a good use of taxpayer dollars,” he said.

Magliari declined to comment on whether Amtrak would reconsider keeping the ticket window open due to pressure from local leaders.

Cincinnati Fighting to Keep Ticket Agents

May 7, 2018

Cincinnati officials are eyeing providing assistance in an effort to keep open the Amtrak ticket office at Union Terminal.

The action came after Amtrak said it would remove its two ticket agents from Cincinnati on June 5.

“The city administration is glad to assist in these efforts should that be the desire of the mayor and City Council,” acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney wrote in a memo to the Cincinnati City Council, which must approve any expenditures.

Duhaney responded after being contacted by passenger rail advocacy groups Friends of the Cardinal and All Aboard Ohio, which asked elected officials and city administrators to help keep the ticket office open.

Cincinnati is served by the tri-weekly Chicago-Washington Cardinal. No. 50 arrives in the Queen City on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday while No. 51 stops on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. Both trains arrive in the middle of the night.

“While there are other stations on the Cardinal route that are unstaffed, Cincinnati is a popular, multi-level station which makes assistance by Amtrak staff for handicapped and elderly passengers very important,” Duhaney said in his memo.

He said that any loss of station services will degrade ridership and jeopardize continued service.

Aside from selling tickets, Amtrak’s two agents in Cincinnati assist with boarding and checked baggage.

Amtrak plans to hire a caretaker to open and close the waiting room before and after trains arrive.

The situation in Cincinnati is complicated by the fact that renovations at Union Terminal have forced Amtrak to temporarily locate to an adjacent, station facility on Kenner Street behind the Terminal.

The renovations at CUT are slated to be finished this fall.

Amtrak has cited an overwhelming preference by passengers to buy tickets online rather than at ticket offices as well as a desire to cut costs as motivating the closings of 15 ticket offices between mid May and late June.

“This is in no way a reflection on them,” Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said in reference to the performance of the agents in Cincinnati.

He said that the agents might be able to transfer to a different position within Amtrak.

After the Cincinnati ticket office closes the nearest Amtrak station with a ticket window will be Indianapolis. Amtrak also has ticket offices in Ohio in Cleveland and Toledo.

Magliari said the caretaker the passenger carrier plans to hire in Cincinnati will do more than open and close the waiting room.

He said that person will also assist passengers and receive training in how to operate the station.

The 15 stations set to close reportedly handle 40 or fewer passengers per day, yet rail passenger advocates content that Cincinnati should not be measured by that criteria due to the limited service and ongoing renovations of Union Terminal.

“Cincinnati is an outlier,” said Derek Bauman, the southwest Ohio vice chair for All Aboard Ohio.

“If you look at the other places where this has happened, [these are] basically smaller burgs,” he said. “I think that if it had not been for Union Terminal being under construction for the past year, that we would probably not have been in a position to lose our two people.”

Bauman expressed optimism that once the construction if completed at Union Terminal that Amtrak ridership in Cincinnati will increase.

“If anything, especially during this time of Union Terminal being rehabbed and the location and security and difficulty for (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, we need the assistance of the full-time Amtrak employees,” he said.

Arcadia Valley Amtrak Station to Open Nov. 17; Cincinnati Temporary Facility Opens in December

November 5, 2016

A grand opening and ribbon cutting has been set for Nov. 17 at the new Arcadia Valley, Missouri, Amtrak station.

Amtrak 4The event will be held at 2 p.m., but the first train won’t arrive until 10:30 p.m. that night.

The station, located in Arcadia, Missouri, will be served by the Chicago-San Antonio Texas Eagle.

The new station features a new platform and station facilities, although it uses a former Missouri Pacific passenger depot.

In other Amtrak station news, the temporary Amtrak Station at Cincinnati Union Terminal is expected to begin operations in December.

Parking for passengers will be available on Kenner Street with access to the boarding platform being provided via a temporary structure that will lead to the current Amtrak platform. Arrangements are being made to assist handicapped passengers up the ramp.

CUT is being remodeled over the next couple of years but Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal will continue to stop there.

Cincy Boarding, Detraining Procedures Detailed

September 6, 2016

Access to the boarding platform at Cincinnati Union Terminal has changed due to a construction project that began in July and will extend through late 2018.

Amtrak CardinalAmtrak passengers will be escorted in groups through the construction area for the next two years. Passengers will not be permitted to enter the walkway to the waiting room unescorted.

Served by the tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal, passengers boarding in Cincinnati are asked to wait in the lobby area to be escorted to the waiting room.

Amtrak recommends that passengers should arrive at CUT 45 minutes before their train departure time.

Detraining passengers will take an elevator, stairway or ramp to the waiting room where security personnel will escort them to the lobby to exit the station.