September 2022, Virtual
September 29 2022, Virtual
Now in its 27th year, the Business Travel Awards
Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) has asked American rail company Amtrak to consider the possibility of an interstate ” and State-sponsored - service between Kansas City and Oklahoma City.
Amtrak will study three options: connecting the Southwest Chief ” which runs between Kansas City and Newton ” with the Heartland Flyer ” which operates from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth ” by extending the latter to Newton; a second option is to extend the Heartland Flyer all the way to Kansas; or create an entirely new service.
”State-supported routes are the fastest growing part of our business,” said Amtrak president and CEO Alex Kummant.
”We have carried out several studies in the Midwest and elsewhere in the last few years, with Illinois doubling the size of its state rail programme since 2006 and California continuing to rack up growth that has contributed to five straight years of record Amtrak passenger traffic.”
A route between Oklahoma City ” capital of its State - and Newton would likely include Wichita, the largest city in Kansas, which has not been served by Amtrak trains since 1979 when the Lone Star service ceased operations.
KDOT staff met with key legislators and stakeholders last week and are now working with Amtrak to continue evaluations.
”Linking the Southwest Chief route to the Heartland Flyer at Newton and Kansas City seems to be a logical connection within Amtrak”s national system and is worthy of further study and analysis,” said KDOT secretary Deb Miller. ”Before we can make any decisions about expanding passenger rail service, we need to examine a number of issues including cost, schedule and the likelihood of travel delays due to freight traffic on the line.”
The Department says it has received petitions and letters expressing support for the expansion, with official supporting cities including Arkansas, Lawrence, Winfield, Emporia and Strong City, as well as the Newton and Winfield chambers of commerce.