Cleveland Lakefront Station
|Location||200 Memorial Shoreway
Cleveland, OH 44114
|Platforms||1 island platform|
|Connections||RTA Rapid Transit|
|Parking||Yes; free short-term and long-term|
|Passengers (FY2014)||49,327 3.17% (Amtrak)|
Cleveland Lakefront Station is an Amtrak train station at North Coast Harbor in Cleveland, Ohio. The station was built in 1977 to provide service to the Lake Shore Limited route, which was reinstated by Amtrak via Cleveland and Toledo in 1975. It replaced service to Cleveland Union Terminal (now Tower City Center). Lakefront Station is a modern station located just north of downtown Cleveland on the Lake Erie waterfront, near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center, the Steamship William G. Mather Museum, and FirstEnergy Stadium. The station has had little to no renovation since its opening.
As of January 2014[update], the only trains that stop at Lakefront Station are Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited and Capitol Limited trains, both of which arrive/depart between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. The RTA Waterfront Line will stop at Lakefront Station, but only upon request. The Pennsylvanian served Cleveland from 1998 to 2003, when it reverted to its original Pittsburgh–New York route.
Cleveland has four daily trains: the Capitol Limited (trains 29 and 30) between Washington, D.C. and Chicago, and the Lake Shore Limited (trains 48/448 and 49/449) between Chicago and New York City/Boston. As of January 2014[update], these trains were scheduled to arrive/depart from Cleveland at various times between 1:00 a.m. and 5:50 a.m. The timing of the departures and arrivals has drawn criticism, with Amtrak also trying to tinker with train schedules through suggestions, reminding people that the schedules are not set in stone.
The Cleveland RTA Rapid Waterfront Line tracks separate the station building and Amtrak platform. There is no platform for the Waterfront Line trains, but they will stop at the station upon request, with passengers discharging at the at-grade pedestrian connection to the building. As such, the stop is not wheelchair accessible. Disabled passengers must instead board or disembark at the North Coast station, which is within walking distance to the Amtrak station. However, the Waterfront Line currently does not run during most of the time of day that includes Amtrak arrivals or departures.
The Lake Shore Limited has served Lakefront Station from its opening in 1977. The Capitol Limited began stopping at Lakefront on November 12, 1990, after Conrail's abandonment of portions of the ex-Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway in northwestern Indiana forced the re-routing of that train along with the Broadway Limited. Previously it had passed to the south, serving Canton. Between 1998 and 2003, the Pennsylvanian served Cleveland, providing daylight service to Chicago and Philadelphia. Weak ridership prompted Amtrak to return the train to a Pittsburgh–New York schedule.
The two Amtrak tracks share an island platform; the RTA tracks do not have any platforms. The structure has a porte-cochère, which protects passengers from inclement weather. The interior was built with a similar design to that of the exterior, and features a central skylight. Shadows from its exposed trusses create different patterns on the brown brick floor, built in a basket-weaved pattern. Exposed ductwork is visible throughout the trusses, as are the light fixtures. All of the ceiling elements are painted white, which tend to recede and produce a sense of airiness which is further enhanced by the floor-to-ceiling windows. Banks of seats are located close to public telephones and a vending area.
Amtrak used to run its trains through Cleveland Union Terminal (now Tower City Center), which was built in 1928 and served as the main terminal for the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit, and in 1955, the crosstown Red Line. By 1976, because of Cleveland Union Terminal's high rent, the massive size of the facility, and the need to switch to electric locomotives to access its enclosed platforms, Amtrak decided to construct a smaller station. Lakefront Station was built in 1976–1977 and opened for service in 1977 to provide service for the Lake Shore Limited, which had resumed service via Toledo in 1975. The station officially opened on June 29, 1977, with the formal dedication occurring on July 12. According to Amtrak's employee magazine, a crowd of more than 300 gathered for the dedication of the $552,000 depot. Speakers included Mary J. Head, vice chairman of the Amtrak Board of Directors, and Cleveland Mayor Ralph J. Perk. Following the dedication ceremony, attendees were invited to tour the facility and enjoy cake and coffee.
Lakefront Station's lack of modernization since its opening has become more noticeable, especially its appearance and lack of adequate signage. In August 2012, when the Cleveland Convention Center was under construction, a Cuyahoga County official expressed a desire to keep Lakefront Station out of view. One proposed solution was to build a new station underground, but due to a lack of funding, the county settled on hiding the station behind trees and shrubs as a short-term solution.
- "Amtrak Fact Sheet, FY2014, State of Ohio" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
- "Amtrak Lake Shore Limited Train Route Guide" (PDF). Amtrak. Retrieved January 20, 2014.
- "Capitol Limited Timetable" (PDF). Amtrak. January 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "Lake Shore Limited Timetable" (PDF). Amtrak. January 2014. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "Amtrak to review service on routes through Cleveland". The Plain Dealer. March 11, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
But that doesn't mean the schedule is set in stone for the Capital Limited. "Everything is on the table, and there are no bad ideas," he said.
- "Waterfront Line". Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "Amtrak (by request only) Rapid Station". Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "E 9th/North Coast Rapid Station". Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Authority. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- Welsh, Joe (2006). Pennsylvania Railroad's Broadway Limited. Saint Paul, MN: Voyageur Press. ISBN 9780760323021. OCLC 65425926.
- Patch, David (December 11, 2002). "Amtrak trims Toledo service". Toledo Blade. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- "Cleveland, OH - Great American Stations". Great American Stations. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "Cleveland Union Terminal". Encyclopedia of Cleveland. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- Toman, Jim; Blaine S. Hayes (1996). Horse trails to regional rails: the story of public transit in greater Cleveland. Kent State University Press.; 280, 295.
- "Roadless Amtrak Station Dedicated". Toledo Blade. July 12, 1977. Retrieved February 10, 2014.
- "Flag Raising, Speeches, Open House Highlight Dedication of New Cleveland Station". Amtrak News. 15 July 1977. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- "Search for Cleveland's Amtrak station can take travelers off track: Road Rant". The Plain Dealer. July 18, 2010. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
- "Cuyahoga County wants to hide Amtrak station from convention center view". The Plain Dealer. August 28, 2012. Retrieved February 2, 2014.
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