Trains For America

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Heartland Flyer milestone

This is great news.

What they story does not say is that the Flyer shares congested BNSF mainline with freight trains and suffers continuing and seriousj delays. When it runs on time, it is only moderately convenient and does have a connection with the Eagle in Fort Worth. There are no trains from Oklahoma City.

Here is the report from Pauls Valley Daily Democrat.

Heartland Flyer set to mark major milestone

CHICAGO – Little more than seven years after its inaugural run, the Amtrak Heartland Flyer has racked up some impressive numbers in its daily round-trips between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth – including high ridership growth and strong customer satisfaction – but the biggest number is expected later this month when the cumulative passenger count will pass a half-million.

The 500,000th passenger will receive surprise recognition, with a prize package and an opportunity to appear in local news coverage, at both the Paul Adams Memorial Platform at the station in Oklahoma City and the Intermodal Transportation Center in Fort Worth. Details of the event are being kept hush-hush for now, but it’s no secret the Heartland Flyer has set the stage for more passenger rail service in both states.

Amtrak is carrying out a study for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT), looking into extending the Heartland Flyer to Tulsa and other options, while Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) leaders and Amtrak officials have also been discussing additional passenger rail service.

“The success of the Heartland Flyer has been impressive,” said Joe Kyle, ODOT’s Rail Programs Division Manager. “We hope to grow that success so more Oklahomans can benefit from it. Rail travel can be economical for Oklahomans concerned about fuel prices, or just a relaxing way to move around the state, taking in the scenery, while someone else does the work.”

“In a growing state like Texas, it is important that people have transportation options to avoid traffic congestion,” said Steve Simmons, interim executive director for TxDOT. “The Heartland Flyer’s success demonstrates how rail can help us reduce congestion, enhance safety, expand economic opportunity, improve air quality and increase the value of our transportation assets.”

After a strong start on June 15, 1999, the Amtrak Heartland Flyer has done well, with ridership up by 5.8 percent for the current Amtrak fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30th. From last October through August, 63,535 passengers have ridden the train.

“We strive to treat every passenger as if it’s their first trip, with the hospitality they deserve and a smile they might not expect when traveling nowadays,” said Joy Smith, the Texas-based Amtrak Assistant Superintendent in charge of passenger service on the Heartland Flyer.

Amtrak operates the Heartland Flyer under contracts with ODOT and TxDOT, with the support of the Heartland Flyer Coalition, a grass-roots group representing communities and leaders along the 206-mile route. Much of the reason the train has done well is the hard work of the volunteers of the Coalition.

Filed under: Amtrak, Regional USA Passenger Rail

One Response

  1. Scott Mercer says:

    Amtrak’s partnerships with individual states, specifically in California, Illinois, Texas and Oklahoma, have been notably successful, with ridership gains, reliable service and dedicated users.

    Perhaps this model can be promoted in other areas which currently have no Amtrak service, such as Phoenix and Las Vegas. This seems to have been a relatively painless and successful way to increase Amtrak service across the USA.

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