Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Oklahoma City Union Station and regional rail update

Tom Elmore, Executive Director of the North American Transportation Institute in Moore, Oklahoma, sent an update  to an earlier post that demands to be moved to the front page.

Even as it professes interest in the Obama HSR initiative, ODOT continues to press the destruction of the OKC Union Station rail yard at 300 SW 7th to make way for a four-mile relocation of I-40.

On June 9, BNSF destroyed the Union Station yard segment of the beautiful former Frisco line to Will Rogers Airport.

Meanwhile, the state’s largest newspaper, THE OKLAHOMAN, long a lazy floater on the once boundless river of automobile advertising revenues, regularly runs derisive editorials against rail passenger services of any kind, taking an even nastier tone against the relentless citizen effort to save the Union Station rail yard. Even as its editors furiously rant, the Gaylord family mouthpiece inescapably appears down-at-the-head, visibly shipping water as it has now been forced to “share resources” with longtime state competitor THE TULSA WORLD.

The same ODOT leadership that carefully stunted the HEARTLAND FLYER,s route at OKC, denying the original plan to make it Amtrak’s Mail and Express showpiece between Kansas City and Ft. Worth is plainly still working behind the scenes to make the least possible of any new rail development opportunity if it can’t ignore such prospects altogether.

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

6 Responses

  1. Tim Lynch says:

    What would one expect from a state so right wing that a worthless creep like Ernest Iztook lives in to say less of the other jerks these people elect? I’ve had it with these people. $20 per gallon gas coulkd come to soon to Oklahoma as far as I’m concerned.

  2. Paul says:

    With all due respect to Trains for America, Mr. Elmore does not deserve such a mouthpiece. He has been one of the most derisive members of the local community when voicing his opinions on this matter. Name calling and smearing ODOT officials has not won him any friends, and unfortunately has made a laughing-stock out of this matter.

    Union Station is no longer primed to be the best location in OKC for an rail facility – future traffic is destined to be north-south, while Union Station only has direct links to east-west.

    I agree that the Oklahoman has been running horribly silly editorials about HSR and its cost (never mentioning auto-funding).

  3. shaan says:

    i hope in future auto transport will be very working proper in the Oklahoman…………

  4. Woody says:

    Whoa, Paul. How did a Union Station get built in OKC with direct links only east-west! That place handled all the heavy traffic between Fort Smith and Amarillo?

    Maybe because of the Ozarks to the east, and maybe because it was Indian Territory when the great transcontinental tracks were laid down, I just don’t see any east-west corridor in those parts. North-south, maybe Midwest-Texas is another way to put it, that’s where the traffic is and will be.

  5. Tom Elmore says:

    Here’s betting “Paul,” anonymous poster of the second comment, above, is Paul Matthews, longtime mouthpiece of the Oklahoma Highway Users Federation. In fact, ODOT has now absolutely fulfilled every prediction I’ve ever made about them. The destruction of the elegant OKC Union Station yard is now complete with the inconceivable demolition of the spectacular S. Robinson and S. Walker underpasses. If “by their fruits we shall know them,” such work clearly and inescapably brands its doers as shameless, mindless thugs and vandals. This, even as the forever double-talking, special-interest puppets comprising the OKC City Council proclaim their desire for “a new transit hub.”

    The non-argument of the highway lobby bosses — parroted by cowardly, ever-complicit sycophants like Matthews — regarding the fabulous Union Station yard was this: “We’re gonna do this and you can’t stop us.” Turns out they were right. Turns out that the people and their interests now have absolutely no voice at all in the halls of bureaucracies like the STB in Washington. This is apparently the outcome of 30 years of “deregulation” — which some of us have now learned to our sorrow to be nothing but the wholesale coopting of government power by big, monopoly business and its bureaucratic toadies.

    As the Lord, himself, said, “If they do this thing in a green tree, what shall they do in a dry?”

    What, indeed.

  6. Tom Elmore says:

    It may be of interest to any still following the fate of OKC Union Station to know that the US Court of Appeals, DC District, has now scheduled oral arguments (September 20, 2010) in an appeal of the 2009 STB decision that allowed destruction of the OKCUS rail yard at the hands of ODOT.

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