FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 4, 2008
PR# 08-075; ATK-08-106
The Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) and Amtrak have agreed on the scope of the Amtrak Expansion Feasibility Study. KDOT has budgeted $200,000 for the study. The study will identify capital requirements and operating costs needed to provide state-sponsored passenger rail service between Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Fort Worth.
The study will consider factors such as potential schedules, railcar and locomotive availability and capital needs for rail improvements to accommodate passenger service. As part of the study, BNSF Railway will analyze the capacity of the route because a passenger rail service would have to share the tracks with BNSF freight trains.
Preliminary work has already begun and Amtrak expects to complete the study sometime in 2009. The Oklahoma and Texas transportation departments are cooperating in the study. If it shows evidence that state-supported Amtrak service should be considered, the states’ legislatures must decide if their states should support an expanded service.
The purpose of new passenger rail service would be to carry travelers along a 606-mile corridor in three states that connects to the national rail system. The goals would be to:
1. Offer an attractive alternative to driving
2. Provide reliable, comfortable and convenient service
3. Improve the mobility of travelers who cannot drive, cannot afford or do not have other public transportation options
4. Encourage good potential ridership
Amtrak officials and interested stakeholders helped develop portions of the scope. State DOT officials selected the cities for the study using, in part, a screening process that included
economic, population and demographic information. Stops are important because ridership forecasts are based on communities served and when the train stops. The intermediate cities identified for the study are listed north to south:
1. Lawrence, Kan.*
2. Topeka, Kan.*
3. Emporia, Kan.
4. Strong City, Kan.
5. Newton, Kan.*
6. Wichita, Kan.
7. Winfield/Arkansas City, Kan.
8. Ponca City, Okla.
9. Perry, Okla.
10. Guthrie, Okla.
11. Edmond, Okla.
12. Oklahoma City, Okla.**
13. Norman, Okla.**
14. Purcell, Okla.**
15. Pauls Valley, Okla.**
16. Davis, Okla.
17. Ardmore, Okla.**
18. Gainesville, Texas**
* Current stops for the Southwest Chief (part of the Amtrak national network)
** Current stops for the Heartland Flyer (state-supported by Oklahoma and Texas)
Being in the study is not a commitment by the city or the states for the city to host a station. In addition to station stops, the study envisions trains made up of coach cars and a café car for food service.
More information about the study and scope is available online at http://www.ksdot.org.