Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Oklahoma City happening

Looks like Evan Stair will be busy for a while.

    Group to discuss passenger rail expansion

OKLAHOMA CITY – Advocates for expansion of Amtrak passenger rail service to Kansas City plan a visit to the Oklahoma Capitol Thursday to drum up support.

Amtrak operates the Heartland Flyer passenger train that runs daily between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth with stops in Norman, Purcell, Pauls Valley, Ardmore and Gainesville, Texas.

The train costs almost $4 million a year for Oklahoma and Texas to maintain. Evan Stair, director of the Northern Flyer Alliance, hopes to get both states all aboard a new plan, along with the state of Kansas.

The new route would extend from Fort Worth with the same stops to Oklahoma City, but could add stops in Edmond, Guthrie, Perry, Ponca City and into several Kansas communities ending in Kansas City.

Stair said the project would possibly cost about $12 million a year to operate, or about $4 million per state. He wants to see state money to support the trains and avoid tax increases.

“With the environmental concerns, with oil supplies becoming more suspect, the time is right to make this happen,” he said.

Stair believes the trains would serve a niche market of people who want an alternative to driving and would especially help rural America where bus service is limited. He also expects the service to bring economic development to communities along the route.

The meeting is at 1 p.m. on Thursday in room 412-C at the Capitol in Oklahoma City.

Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

One Response

  1. In regards to the resumption of Passenger service through Wichita and Newton, KS to Kansas City and Oklahoma City: I was fortunate to have ridden the old Santa Fe Texas Chief route under both Santa Fe and Amtrak operation, many times in both directions during all months of the year. It was by far the best service to and from Texas and Oklahoma to Kansas and visa versa. Service was good! Equipment was good! On time performance was even fairly good under Amtrak! In short, it should never have been pulled off except for someone with more pull politically down in Arkansas, who wanted the former MP Eagle route to receive all the limited funding. The route through Oklahoma and Kansas was, and should be, a great service, especially when one considers the large college crowd that used to literally fill the train at stops like Denton, Norman, Wichita, Emporia and Lawrence to standing room only almost every trip, especially in the lounge and dining cars. With the raising of tracks through Wichita now complete the largest upgrade needed on the route other than high speed signal relays on the Oklahoma City to Newton leg is now a big plus! The hope is only that there are enough folks in Kansas that have vision and guts enough to stand up for what could be again some of the best passenger rail service in the nation. Considering they can,t even come up with enough money to fund their schools at an acceptable level it will be quite an uphill battle. At least with a new governor perhaps there are enough far sighted politicians up in Topeka that can be persuaded to be people who serve instead of always being a body of “We Can,t Do That and we don,t know how to do that, Were Broke Don,t You Know!” God help us!!!!!!!!!!

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September 2007


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