The Cleveland Waterfront Station opened in 1977 replacing the former Union Passenger Terminal located in Tower City as the station's Intercity Rail station for Amtrak. Today the station is only open in the middle of the night when the Capital Limited and Lake Shore Limited stop on their overnight traverses across the Buckeye State. The 3C rail corridor to Cincinnati via Columbus was fully funded using Recovery Act money but was then cancelled by incoming Ohio governor John Kasich. The station was partially rebuilt during the construction of the Waterfront Rapid Line (opened on July 10, 1996). Two light rail tracks are now located between the Amtrak platform and the station building with all passengers required to cross them at one of two grade-crossings that have crossing lights and bells. The Rapid Blue and Green Line light rail trains stop at the Amtrak station upon request, by letting passengers off at the grade-crossing (these trains use high-floor LRVs with steps for all low-level platforms). Since train service to Cleveland is only provided in the middle of the night the rapid is not a useful connection.
The Capital Limited and Lake Shore Limited make a mini-service stop in Cleveland although no crew is changed (with Toledo to Pittsburg or Buffalo the respective districts) but due to high passenger boardings, baggage handling and recovery time built into the respective timetables (there are both arrival and departure times listed) the station is generally a fresh air stop. Trains have just a single platform, lined with a line of distractive circular lampposts that are like many others in the Cleveland waterfront area. The single track means that when trains are running slightly off schedule one train may have to wait for another (or possibly two other trains) to complete it's station work since 3 of the 4 trains (except for the eastbound Lake Shore Limited closer to daybreak) are scheduled to stop within a few hours of each other between 1:45 and 3:45 in the wee hours of the morning. This platform is along what acts like a siding for passenger trains, with some space between the passenger track and two mainline freight tracks. There is an additional rusting track on the opposite side of the platform that is not in use today. There are just a few Cleveland signs (with the old Pointless arrow logo) along the fence on the opposite side of the second track, near the station entrances. The west end of the platform is across from the start of the platforms for the North Coast Light Rail Station (at East 9th Street).
After getting off the train passengers cross the light rail tracks and proceed beneath a walkway that becomes covered. This short walkway leads to a depot. This is a small single story building that resembles an AmStation but isn't quite the same. First the canopies that cover a car drop-off area (and only access to the station) on one end and walkway towards the train platform are lower than the roofline of the building. Finally although there is a skylight above the main waiting room, the roof looks different with unique latticework instead of the traditional line of windows directly beneath the roof that most AmStations of this era have. This latticework is also the entire ceiling of the depot. Inside the depot is a waiting room with modern black plastic seats. One wall has the standard white Baggage, Tickets, Information text on a brown background of stations of this era. A wall covers the alcove to Vending (Machines) between the Men's and Woman's Rooms doors. There is finally a small amount of Amtrak office space.
The only exit from the station is through the 75-space (long-term) parking lot. This parking lot is fully enclosed and vehicles and the station can only be accessed when the station is open (between Midnight and 7:30am as of August 2016) with a gate blocking the driveway entrance otherwise. The parking lot entrance is located along Marginal Road near and onramp to the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway Highway, just beyond the East 9th Street Bridge. Cleveland City Hall hovers on a bluff just above the station. The windmill of the Great Lakes Science Center and stadium for the Cleveland Browns is beyond along Lake Erie.
All photos unless otherwise noted taken on 2 July, 2016
Last Updated: 29 August, 2016