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Published: Sunday, 3/30/2003

Amtrak eyes new Toledo times

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Amtrak train times through Toledo, which became concentrated during the wee hours last fall, may become more convenient, starting late next month.

Instead of having all trains stop between midnight and 5 a.m., the revised timetable shows two westbound trains between 5:40 and 7 a.m., and two eastbound trains between 10:45 and 11:50 p.m. The changes are expected to take effect with trains originating on April 28.

Although it is not a comprehensive array of schedule choices, the new timetable will be more favorable for weekend, or even same-day, trips from Toledo to Chicago.

“It's a little more decent, and you can still get into Chicago at a reasonable hour,” said Robert Greenlese, director of surface transportation and logistics for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which owns the local train station. “These [times] are good news.”

And travelers headed east no longer will board trains at either 12:28 or 1:05 a.m. - at least, not when the trains are on time.

Karina Van Veen, an Amtrak spokesman in Washington, said she had no specific information about the schedule changes, which have been posted in Amtrak's on-line reservations system. They are still tentative, she said, because the passenger carrier needs to confirm them with CSX and Norfolk Southern, the freight railroads that own most of the tracks the Toledo trains use.

The “tentative” new schedule times are 5:40 a.m. for the westbound Lake Shore Limited, 7:01 a.m. for the westbound “Capitol Limited, 10:45 p.m. for the eastbound Capitol Limited, and 11:48 a.m. for the eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

The Capitol Limited's eastbound terminus is Washington, while the Lake Shore has sections that go to New York and Boston. Both trains offer sleeping car and dining car services and coaches.

More than 85,000 passengers got on or off Amtrak trains in Toledo last year, port authority records show, though some were travelers transferring to or from connecting Amtrak buses serving points in Michigan.

Early last month, Amtrak dropped the coach-only Pennsylvanian train through Toledo, reducing the city's passenger-train service from six trains a day to four. And since late October, the other two pairs of trains, the Lake Shore Limited and the Capitol Limited, made all their local stops during the wee hours.



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