November 24, 2014

Elyria
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Village seeking a stop on proposed 3-C railway

WELLINGTON — Decades ago, this village was the first stop out of Cleveland when there was rail service between Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.

Officials would like to return to those days and land a stop on the state’s proposed  3-C (Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati) Rail Corridor.

“Historically on the express train, we were the first stop following the Terminal Tower,” Village Administrator Steve Pyles said.

“We’ve got the Lorain County Fair, the LaGrange Engine Show and the Scottish games,” he said. “Between them they attract tens of thousands of people.”

On July 6, Village Council voted 6-0 in favor of seeking an established stop in Wellington.

The biggest plus for Wellington is that a stop could be located in Wellington at a minimal cost, Pyles said.

The village owns the former Landmark parking lot, which could hold at least 50 cars near the corner of West Herrick and Prospect streets, he said.

In addition, several former freight stations might be suitable for conversion to a train station, Pyles said.

Those buildings are in private hands, but an owner or owners might be eager to strike a deal with Amtrak, he said.

Other communities such as Grafton and Berea also are vying for stops, so Wellington officials aren’t betting the farm on their chances.

But Pyles said Wellington has a nice, compact downtown area that has the services passengers would want, it is a historical and recreation destination with Findley State Park and the Backwoods to Beaches bikeway nearby, and it would be a source of riders because a number of residents in the area commute to Cleveland daily.

In all likelihood, Pyles said, the first stop out of Cleveland will be Berea because of the ability to interchange with light rail and its proximity to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. He said experts told him another likely stop will be in Galion.

But he said it doesn’t hurt to try, and Wellington has a tourist railroad in town “that leads north into Amherst and Lorain that could also lead to additional possibilities.”

Pyles said the village is waiting anxiously for the railroad underpass that the state wants to build on state Route 58 (Main Street) and a quick go-ahead for that underpass in the next year or two could help Wellington’s chances.

Although in the southern portion of the county, Wellington is connected to Lorain County Transit routes so people could take that bus before hopping on the train, he said.

The proposed 3-C Corridor would cost some $400 million and serve 6 million people as part of a national rail network.

Send your Wellington and Oberlin news to Cindy Leise, 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.