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AMTRAK Daylight service coming?



Published: Wed, September 5, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A rail passengers group isn't happy with the proposal.

YOUNGSTOWN -- Night rail service in Youngstown might be swapped for daytime, but local travelers also would have to trade New York City for Philadelphia as the destination.

That's how the city would fare under proposed changes by Amtrak, according to a rail consumer organization. The changes could come within weeks, the group said.

The Ohio Association of Railroad Passengers isn't happy with the idea. Larger areas, such as Cleveland and Toledo, would lose daytime service.

Now, a westbound train leaves the B & amp;O Station in Youngstown for Chicago at 1 a.m. An eastbound train to New York City leaves the B & amp;O at 6 a.m.

Details: The association says Ohio's only daytime service -- a daily east-west route between Chicago and Philadelphia called the Pennsylvanian -- would be put through Youngstown and Akron and rerouted away from a more populous route through Toledo and Cleveland. No local departure times were given.

The new, more southerly route has one-twelfth the population of the more northerly route, the association said.

In exchange, night service -- a daily east-west route between Chicago and New York City called the Three Rivers -- that used to come through Youngstown and Akron will be rerouted through Toledo and Cleveland.

Cleveland, Toledo, Sandusky, Elyria and Alliance would lose day passenger rail service under the plan.

Quotable: "Ohioans are not bats. We are people and we demand convenient, daytime rail service," Bill Hutchison, president of the association, said today in a written release.

Also, another Ohio train will no longer go to New York City. The daily east-west that serves Cleveland and Toledo, called the Lake Shore Limited, runs from Chicago and stops in Boston and New York City. It wouldn't stop in New York under the new plan.

The Three Rivers would be the only remaining train between Ohio and New York City. The line is two hours slower than the Lake Shore, the association said.

Funding cuts are forcing the changes, which could come as soon as Sept. 30, the association said.

Amtrak response: The rail group is getting ahead of itself, said Kevin Johnson, a spokesmen in Chicago. Amtrak makes schedule changes each fall and has made no decisions yet, he said.

He declined to talk about any potential changes. New routes and times will be announced in a few weeks, he said.

The association is asking Congress, state and local leaders to seek different solutions that would expand rail service and spread travel congestion over different forms of transportation.

The association is a nonprofit, educational organization that advocates for service and safety improvements to passenger rail and urban transit systems.




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