Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

June 13, 2013

Why can’t we use the Western Maryland Station for Amtrak?

Many cities today are exploring the idea of having commuter centers as a part of smart growth planning. Such centers also have access to rail and bus transportation, parking facilities, and storage for bicycles.

I was thinking tonight how could such a facility fit in Cumberland, one that could serve as an Amtrak station and bus depot for Allegany Transit?

After doing some research and discovering that in Tampa, Fla., the Tampa Union Station, which is also a historic structure built in 1912, serves as an Amtrak station and the Amtrak train backs up on the spur to reach the train station at the end of that track.

Knowing this is possible, why couldn’t we use the Western Maryland Railway station for this purpose?

The station would function as an Amtrak Station and taxis, buses, and commuter vans could stop at the plaza in the rear of the historic railroad station.

Bicycle lockers could be placed at the station and parking along Mechanic Street behind the station could be used and if need be, expanded for commuters using the Amtrak or those that wish to carpool, as in a park and ride.

Improving the rail spur from the CSX railyard behind the former macaroni factory would make Amtrak access to the station possible, would provide the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad with access to the CSX railroad and could also be helpful to the development of Canal Place.

This could be made possible by federal and state funding and cooperation between all entities involved in such a project.

Nothing would seem to make more sense than using our historic train station for the reason it was built for in the first place!

Albert Keener

Cumberland

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