The agency that operates the Greater Columbus Convention Center has released a detailed study into the possibility of a $23 million, two-level train station integrated into the south building of the center. Amtrak, which received significant new funding in the infrastructure bill passed by Congress last year, would pay the majority of the costs if plans for the station move forward. 

The convention center sits atop of the former site of the city’s Union Station, which was demolished in 1979. The station would connect to existing tracks that run under the center.

“The demolition of the old station building followed the construction of the iconic North Building of the convention center, which resulted in a significant activity anchor for the city,” the study notes. “A new passenger station presents an opportunity to make this area a city gateway again.”

Greater Columbus, with a population of more than 2 million people, is the second-largest U.S. city without Amtrak train service (behind Las Vegas). Amtrak’s 2035 vision calls for a new route that connects Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. Dayton would also get a new train station. Service between Cincinnati and Chicago, via Indianapolis, would be expanded to several daily round-trips. There would also be a new line from Cleveland to Detroit, via Toledo. Cincinnati and Cleveland would both become Amtrak service hubs. 

An Ohio-based rail advocacy group called the plan “the boldest thing that Amtrak’s ever done in its history.” Nationwide, the plan calls for 39 new routes and upgrades to 25 existing routes, bringing service to 160 new communities and 20 million more passengers each year. 

Image: Station Concept Design from the study by LMN Architects

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