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Next Stop, Hilliard: Possible Sites for New Amtrak Station Proposed

A recent feasibility study conducted by infrastructure consulting firm AECOM has identified two sites in Hilliard as promising candidates for a new Amtrak passenger rail station.

The sites, located adjacent to the existing CSX line near Cemetery Road and just west of I-270, could support between 20,000 to 100,000 arrivals and departures annually.

The study highlights several advantages to these locations, including proximity to major highways, city-owned land, and nearby amenities such as hotels, restaurants, and retail stores. This accessibility could potentially benefit nearly 1.43 million residents within a 30-minute drive, positioning the station as a central hub in the region.

hilliard amtrak station map

City Manager Michelle Crandall emphasized the project’s alignment with local development priorities, particularly in promoting equitable transit-oriented developments and affordable housing.

“We see Hilliard as the ideal location for a first stop outside of the primary downtown Columbus Convention Center station location,” Crandall said. “The numerous benefits outlined in the AECOM study indicate Hilliard would be a prime site for such a development.”

These proposed sites are part of broader efforts by the Federal Railroad Administration to reintroduce and expand passenger rail service through central Ohio. The station would link major urban centers along the Midwest Connect corridor and the 3C+D route, connecting cities like Chicago, Fort Wayne, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Dayton, and Cincinnati.

The study also aligns with the Justice40 initiative by the US Department of Transportation, which aims to improve accessibility and quality of life in disadvantaged communities. Approximately 23.4 percent of residents within a 30-minute radius of the proposed sites fall under this category, underscoring the project’s potential social benefits.

proposed amtrak rail routes

The estimated cost for constructing the station is between $15 million to $16 million, with possible funding from federal and state sources. This investment is anticipated to spur regional economic development and workforce mobility, according to the City of Hilliard’s Comprehensive Community Plan.

“Hilliard represents a strategic stop outside downtown Columbus and could significantly benefit from the reintroduction of passenger rail, offering a cost-effective travel option that enriches the community and the broader region,” Crandall stated.

The study marks a significant step in Hilliard’s efforts to secure a place in the expanding network of passenger rail services across the United States, aiming to enhance transportation options and regional connectivity.