Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

EDITORIAL: Implementation of proposed daily Sunset is a top priority, end Maricopa passenger stop

This is not intended to be an attack or in any way disrespectful. This is a serious thought and serious reactions are invited.

The city of Maricopa, Arizona has objected to the new proposed suggested schedule for Amtrak’s Sunset service between Los Angeles and New Orleans. The stated difficulty is that the improved arrival and departure times conflict with local driving patterns. The Maricopa station substitutes for Phoenix and the Amtrak train blocks the crossing for 20 minutes in each direction. This is clearly unacceptable from the standpoint of convenience and public safety.

I am not clear on what exact changes would be made for the train to clear the road crossing. UP would have to alter the operation of signals and it is unclear what platform alterations would be necessary, even if these are feasible. There is a lot of cost involved here. Additionally, it seems unlikely that direct service into downtown Phoenix will be available any time soon.

The solution is a thruway bus from Tuscon to Phoenix and the elimination of the Maricopa passenger stop. The crew change would take place in the same location but that would involve less than a minute or two, and might be possible without a complete stop. These are operational questions for Amtrak and Union Pacific.

Daily service on the Sunset route is an immediate necessity that involves adding a projected 100,000 revenue passengers every year. This is the big picture.

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

2 Responses

  1. J. H. Sullivan says:

    If the proposed service also extended east of NewOrleans, it would add considerably more than 100K passengers a year if there was enoiugh capacity on the train.

    What is wrong with the folks in Maricopa, we disenfranchised Floridians would take a daily Sunset anytime of the day or night. Lots of spoiled folks out there it seems to me.

  2. J.D. Hammond says:

    Are you surprised that Arizona hates trains? It seems like the only thing John McCain has ever been consistent about is his opposition to anything that might reduce US Airways’ market share.

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