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City makes progress on new Amtrak station

<p>A mock-up of what the potential Amtrak station could look like.</p>

A mock-up of what the potential Amtrak station could look like.

Students may soon have a new way to get to Oxford. The City of Oxford, in partnership with Miami University, has moved forward in creating an Amtrak station in the city. 

Oxford will be added as a stop to the Cardinal Line, which runs from Washington D.C. to Chicago. 

Jessica Greene, assistant city manager, explained the Amtrak station has been a project in Oxford since at least 2017. After reviewing a few potential locations around town for the station, the city settled on an area off South Main Street. 

“Amtrak reviewed our request, and they agreed that we had enough population for what's called a category four platform,” Greene said.

The platform will have a kiosk that travelers can buy tickets from before boarding the train. 

“[Amtrak] told us to proceed with securing funding and planning, but they didn't formally agree to the stop,” Greene said. 

Greene said the city has allocated $300,000 to the project, and Miami has collected another $300,000. She said she believes the line will have fewer than 10,000 riders annually. 

“The idea was … that the ridership would be residents but also Miami students who might live in those metropolitan areas or alumni,” Greene said. 

Currently, Greene said the city is beginning to get formal design and cost estimates for the station.

In late January, Amtrak announced it would be expanding the lines it offers to include stops in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland. Greene said the city is supportive of the new lines. 

“We would be part of that expansion plan,” Greene said. “All these things require funding and infrastructure investment and those kinds of things, but our plans are aligned.”

Greene said during the project's creation, the city became aware that the Butler County Regional Transit Authority (BCRTA) had secured funding for a new bus terminal

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“With that knowledge, we had a meeting with them [and] said ‘should we work together as you develop your plans and we develop our plans for Amtrak, and make it one cohesive project?’” Greene asked. 

The two parties worked together, but Greene said they decided to go with different vendors — although they are asking their vendors to work together. The collaboration will allow travelers to take advantage of additional space in the station. 

“[The station will] also then have pedestrian access to the new Butler County Regional Transit bus terminal, which could include a waiting room for people if the train does come at night,” Greene said.  “And so it’ll have a safe waiting room to sit in until the train arrives where you can walk out to the platform.”

Oxford resident Hueston Kyger said he thinks there would be an increase in the number of people using the train if there was a station in Oxford. 

“I would be tempted to use it to go up to Chicago for a weekend or something like that,” Kyger said. “Once you get to Chicago, it also gets you to an area where there's a lot of other train opportunities to take you to points further west.”