Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Kansas City Union Station draws attention

There is an important interview in the Kansas City Star with one of the region’s leading archetects, Kevin Klinkenberg. It is a lengthy article but here is one of the important sections about inter-city rail service.  Much of it has to do with streetcars, but there is also quite a bit about Amtrak and the station.

To me that would be a real disappointment, and I think it would be to the people of Kansas City. I think they want the station to be a train station. It’s our St. Louis Arch in a way, its the only thing we have that’s on the magnitude of the St. Louis Arch. Perhaps with more liberal transit funding that could contribute to it to…

Yeah, you certainly would hope that the station really does need an injection of life on a day-to-day basis. Science City has not really worked the way people thought it would work but that’s a very big and extensive endeavor to undertake. I think as a planner and designer we should always look to be outside of the box a little bit and try to think big where we need to and look at all ideas.

I think sometimes ideas we think really are crazy really work out. A lot of people thought it crazy to renovate Union Station in the first place and now people love it and love the fact that we renovated the building and how beautiful it is now. So I don’t think we should ever stop dreaming big and finding big solutions but what me may find, if I were inclined to think what might happen, we might have a short term solution that involves something now for the next 10 to 20 years that doesn’t involve the train station, and then transitions later on to actually using the station when the money and time is right, but that’s just a guess.


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

Virginia will add two daily Amtrak trains to D. C.

This is good news from one of the most progressive states that will begin some new service in the fall. You can get all the juicy details. here. The operating plan looks good too.

While firm schedules and fares have yet to be worked out, the Richmond train will tentatively pull out of Staples Mill about 7 a.m. daily and arrive at Washington’s Union Station about 9:30 a.m., then leave Union Station about 4 p.m. and arrive back at Staples Mill at 6-6:30 p.m., according to the Rail and Public Transportation Department. It would be the ninth daily round trip between Richmond and Washington. Northbound trains currently leave Richmond at 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., among other times.

The Lynchburg train will leave the Kemper Street Station about 7:45 a.m. and reach Union Station at 11:20-11:30 a.m., the department said. It will depart Washington about 5 p.m. and return to Lynchburg at about 8:30 p.m.

Each train will consist of up to eight passenger coaches, a business-class coach and a café car, Page said.

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

Amtrak west coast trains get a boost

The story from KMTR TV in Oregon is sparse on details, but you can read the entire two paragraphs in

Two West Coast Amtrak routes, the Starlight and the Cascade, will get $137.2 million in federal funds from the Omnibus Spending Bill

Filed under: Amtrak, Regional USA Passenger Rail

Iowa rail support grows

Iowa City’s Press-Citizen has an item about the newest Facebook group.

A week after a supportive crowd met about proposed passenger rail service from Iowa City to Chicago, more than 1,000 people signed up to become members of a Facebook group supporting the grassroots effort.

The Facebook group, “I Support Iowa City Rail to Chicago,” includes many University of Iowa alumni and Eastern Iowa residents.

The “Chicago Flyer,” operated by Amtrak, would take almost five hours to get from Iowa City to Chicago with a one-way rate of about $45. Eventually, it could extend west to Des Moines and then link with more routes in Omaha, Neb.

And there is more from WQAD in  the Hawkeye State

This morning the Quad City Development Group announced results of their trip to Washington, D.C. where they met with lawmakers and pushed for funding of local projects. According to Rock Island County Board Chairman Jim Bohnsack, the money for rail service between the Quad Cities and Chicago is all but guaranteed.

Bohnsack described a conversation with Congressman Phil Hare saying, “Congressman Hare said that, you know, it’s gonna happen. He said I got this money. I went up to Oberstar (meaning Minnesota Congressman Jim Oberstar who heads the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee) with a note saying, and he said, before I got to Oberstar he said, it’s gonna happen. We’re gonna get you the money. It’s gonna be there. So I would say, 99 percent that rail system is gonna happen from here to Chicago.”

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

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March 2009