New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

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New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby advocrat » Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:15 pm

I saw on the morning news yesterday a report about a proposed route between Oklahoma City and Kansas City, ultimately connecting Kansas City to Dallas.  This route would enhance the route proposal for St. Louis to Oklahoma City.  I am very enthused and supportive of this. However, I am just as confused and pessimistic about both of these developments actually happening, given the frequent tales of woe and rumors of cuts in the AMTRAK budget.  So which information is credible?

If the proposed routes stand no chance of happening, why are these reports broadcast on the news? who is behind the information and what do they know? Is there some powerful advocacy going on in the two State legislatures (Kansas and Missouri) of which we are mostly unaware?

I find it fairly hard to believe that any of this is possible when any mention of expanding  AMTRAK services is countered with statements like:

"The State legistlatures don't have the money to pay for it and the Bush (or whatever Administration) plans/proposes to cut AMTRAK next year."

or, "Bush wants to eliminate the Southwest Chief,"

or, "the railroads don't want anymore passenger trains on their tracks."

or, "there isn't enough ridership that would result,"

or, "this proposal developed when gasoline was high, but now it's cheap again. $2.25 a gallon is actually cheaper than gasoline was in 1921 or 1967 (did you know that?) when you compare to inflation and cost of living indexes."

SO, IF ANYBODY CAN SHED LIGHT ON THIS REPORT OR COMMENT ON THE REALITIES OF NEW AMTRAK ROUTES, I WOULD SURELY APPRECIATE THE INFORMATION AND EDUCATION? ALSO WHO OR WHERE ARE THESE REPORTS/PROPOSALS COMING FROM AND DO THEY HAVE ANY HORSEPOWER BEHIND THEM?
Last edited by kard on Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby DaveKCMO » Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:48 pm

this particular extension will require funding from KDOT; amtrak has been very clear about that. one of the articles i read claimed that kansas law prevents state money being used to support passenger rail service (no doubt created by the airlines or boeing). it would require action from the legislature and leadership from the governor. in other words, don't hold your breath. it might happen in five years, AFTER congress passes the long-term funding legislation (s.294?) that would create an official program for federal matching funds for new state routes.

that being said, it wouldn't cost kansas much ($2m annually?), since the heartland flyer route (the one being discussed here that already goes from OKC to fort worth) is already subsidized by oklahoma and texas. it would also "complete the system" for the midwest: to get to many southern locations from KC you have to go through st. louis and to get north from oklahoma you have to backtrack fort worth.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby KC0KEK » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:22 pm

I know it's going to depend on the route and number of stops, but roughly how long would a Dallas-KC trip take? About the same as KC-Chicago?

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby kard » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:24 pm

I read that folks in Wichita wanted it to go through there?
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby GRID » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:33 pm

Amtrak in Missouri has the potential of being a VERY successfull rail line and they can't even make that work. 

Two big cities only 4 hours apart and a large college town/capital area between them.

Throwing more slow moving, run down trains at a line from KC to OKC will only drain the budget more.

Sad.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby KC0KEK » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:38 pm

Amtrak runs through Jeff City but unfortunately not Columbia.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby KCMax » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:40 pm

Whether a St. Louis-KC high speed train is ever implemented has little to nothing to do with the establishment of a link between KC and OKC. Quit trying to make Kansas the bogeyman once again.
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby GRID » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:43 pm

KC0KEK wrote:Amtrak runs through Jeff City but unfortunately not Columbia.


I know, I'm just saying, if MO and Amtrak and the cities and the feds can't find a way to fund a decent rail system between two large towns that have a ton of traffic going between them along a very congested interstate that are only 4 hours apart....I have little faith in expanding the service.

Two little, run down trains run back and forth across the state taking sometimes twice as long as they should as they stop and wait for freight trains along the way.

Sorry, but the KC-StL Amtrak is a joke and it's sad because that could be an extremely successfull rail line.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby GRID » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:44 pm

KCMax wrote:Whether a St. Louis-KC high speed train is ever implemented has little to nothing to do with the establishment of a link between KC and OKC. Quit trying to make Kansas the bogeyman once again.


What the hell are you talking about, I said nothing about Kansas.  Hell I'm ripping MO.  Good lord.

If they can get a line funded to OKC, I'm 100% for it.  I'm just disgusted with Amtrak in MO, it should be a better service.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby GRID » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:49 pm

I'm taking my kid on the Amtrak from Lee's Summit to Union station this weekend.  We purchased tickets for his birthday party friends to ride the train round trip to Union Station.  We will eat at the train restaraunt (Fritz's) and take in the train sights at Union Station, walk the ped bridge etc.

It's all train themed since my youngest is a train nut because he had ridden so many light rails, subways etc around North America.

I only hope a train shows up and not a bus and I hope the train/bus gets there before the return train leaves for Lee's Summit.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby KC0KEK » Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:55 pm

I'd love to see Amtrak run through Columbia. The airport situation there is abysmal, despite all of the subsidies that the city and feds have been throwing at it for the past few years. It would be great to be able to take the train to Chicago or Dallas, two cities that used to be served by direct flights from Columbia.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby DaveKCMO » Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:00 pm

KC0KEK wrote:Amtrak runs through Jeff City but unfortunately not Columbia.


true, but there is an avis near the jeff city depot where you can rent a car and drive the 30 miles north to COMO. i've checked, and there's no intercity bus service between the two, unfortunately. missouri really should look at improving things like that, especially for the big college towns.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby DaveKCMO » Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:07 pm

KC0KEK wrote:I'd love to see Amtrak run through Columbia. The airport situation there is abysmal, despite all of the subsidies that the city and feds have been throwing at it for the past few years. It would be great to be able to take the train to Chicago or Dallas, two cities that used to be served by direct flights from Columbia.


the frustrating thing about commercial flights in columbia (and other towns of similar size) is that they were probably subsidized by either the feds or the state. it's the dirty little secret the anti-rail crowd doesn't want anyone to know.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby DaveKCMO » Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:29 pm

GRID wrote:I'm just disgusted with Amtrak in MO, it should be a better service.


as with most services, increased demand generally sparks more investment. continue to spread the word about the safety and fuel efficiency of rail (versus private cars) and hopefully things will improve. i hope you took advantage of the buy-one-get-one-for-half-price deal that's currently being offered!

the other problem with the missouri route is slow orders, which require all rail traffic to slow down for either poor track conditions or at-grade crossings. ideally, 79 mph speeds would decrease travel times even if waiting on freight traffic was still a problem. any faster and the whole route would need a serious upgrade.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby advocrat » Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:58 pm

Many of the replies recently posted concern the Mule and the Rutledge, which are interesting discussions that have previously appeared on the "AMTRAK ridership is up" thread.

I'm real interested in who has proposed this AMTRAK route to Oklahoma City, and somebody has hinted that it is Oklahoma folks and perhaps some from Wichita. If this is true, and these are the only agitators, then fine and so-be-it. I don't in that case think this proposal has a whole lot of horsepower or a chance of success.  It is indeed sad.

If there is any group lobbying for this that has more than two ounces of credibility and/or influence I would contact and ask how I can help. But this may be one of those situations where someone managed to get the idea picked up by a local news channel, and this may be the last anybody is going to hear of it.  The American Passenger Rail Coalition website has nothing on it, but there is a little bit of news about the St. Louis-Tulsa proposal.  St. Louis-Tulsa is another proposal that I'm all in support of, but once again is there any organized effort that has an ounce of credibility and influence that can make it all happen?

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby beautyfromashes » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:08 pm

Business sense would have advocated building the line from KC to Dallas before the deregulation that allowed Southwest to enter that market and drive down the ticket price.  Having an alternative to $300 from MCI-DFW would have made sense.  Now, there would be no way to compete with prices.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby DaveKCMO » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:15 pm

advocrat wrote:I'm real interested in who has proposed this AMTRAK route to Oklahoma City, and somebody has hinted that it is Oklahoma folks and perhaps some from Wichita. If this is true, and these are the only agitators, then fine and so-be-it. I don't in that case think this proposal has a whole lot of horsepower or a chance of success.  It is indeed sad.

If there is any group lobbying for this that has more than two ounces of credibility and/or influence I would contact and ask how I can help. But this may be one of those situations where someone managed to get the idea picked up by a local news channel, and this may be the last anybody is going to hear of it.  The American Passenger Rail Coalition website has nothing on it, but there is a little bit of news about the St. Louis-Tulsa proposal.  St. Louis-Tulsa is another proposal that I'm all in support of, but once again is there any organized effort that has an ounce of credibility and influence that can make it all happen?


http://www.hutchnews.com/news/regional/stories/Amtrak021807.shtml

The Northern Flyer Alliance wants to speed up expansion of the Heartland Flyer route north from Oklahoma City to Wichita, Newton and Kansas City, Mo.


they don't have a web site.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby bahua » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:51 pm

It would make far more sense for such a route to follow the right-of-way along I-44, than for it to go out of its way for KC. But it seems to me that the reasoning behind that is that the route can just be tacked onto the already existing shoddy route between KC and St. Louis, to save funds.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby kard » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:54 pm

bahua wrote:It would make far more sense for such a route to follow the right-of-way along I-44, than for it to go out of its way for KC. But it seems to me that the reasoning behind that is that the route can just be tacked onto the already existing shoddy route between KC and St. Louis, to save funds.


Not really.

Folks in Wichita, which doesn't have a passenger rail line running through it, want a connection.  Currently to get ANY trains, they have to drive to Newton at 4 am.

Extending the route from OKC to Newton would bring it through Wichita, giving them the link.  It's really all about Wichita, as far as I can tell.
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Postby bahua » Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:55 pm

That would make for a very inefficient route.


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