New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Transportation topics in KC
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by advocrat » Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:13 pm

The Alliance has scheduled a public meeting with City officials and community leaders at Topeka's renovated Great Overland Station a week from today (March 11th 1:00-3:00 pm).

Northern Flyer Alliance appears to be making great strides towards getting daytime passenger service heading west. Kansas City and the Union Station stand to become more of a transportation hub, and this will help the bottom line for Union Station.

One of the Alliance members reports that the City of Peabody (entire downtown an Historic District) Kansas will shortly issue a resolution, and Wichita is expected to follow suit.  A growing number of Kansas Senators are responding to the public interest and joining together in a non-partisan effort to develop an intercity passenger rail bill for the next legislative term.

Governor Sebelius has also indicated that she would like to see an additional route from KC to Denver. And, there are several community leaders from St. Joseph who plan to attend a regional passenger rail meeting in Omaha this month, in order to make a case for a long overdue connection between KC and Omaha.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Tue Mar 04, 2008 4:33 pm

advocrat wrote:Governor Sebelius has also indicated that she would like to see an additional route from KC to Denver. And, there are several community leaders from St. Joseph who plan to attend a regional passenger rail meeting in Omaha this month, in order to make a case for a long overdue connection between KC and Omaha.


that would be great considering colorado is gaining ground with a high-speed rail proposal along I-25 and I-70 within that state!

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_5251204,00.html
http://www.craigdailypress.com/news/2008/feb/28/rail_service_possible/

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by TheBigChuckbowski » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:16 pm

DaveKCMO wrote:that would be great considering colorado is gaining ground with a high-speed rail proposal along I-25 and I-70 within that state!

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_5251204,00.html
http://www.craigdailypress.com/news/2008/feb/28/rail_service_possible/


How many of these high-speed rail proposals have died? I've read about the California proposal going to vote the private Texas rail line. Are these all just pipedreams or do they actually have traction? It's hard for me to get excited about any of this stuff until a high-speed rail line is actually being built on American soil.
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by LenexatoKCMO » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:28 pm

TheBigChuckbowski wrote:How many of these high-speed rail proposals have died? I've read about the California proposal going to vote the private Texas rail line. Are these all just pipedreams or do they actually have traction? It's hard for me to get excited about any of this stuff until a high-speed rail line is actually being built on American soil.


Whether practical or not - with $4+ gas, these legislators are all going to have to try and look like they are busy working on solutions.  Seems like the time is ripe to really play up the environmental/energy angle. 

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by advocrat » Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:36 pm

TheBigChuckbowski wrote:How many of these high-speed rail proposals have died? I've read about the California proposal going to vote the private Texas rail line. Are these all just pipedreams or do they actually have traction? It's hard for me to get excited about any of this stuff until a high-speed rail line is actually being built on American soil.


There's two types of high speed rail; one is the pipe dream of a bullet train which will cost a trillion dollars and is impractical. And then there is "high speed rail" which is anything up to 110 miles an hour and which does not require separation of grades; this can be developed without spending a trillion dollars. Much more practical in the economic, environmental and political climate, 110 mph is very fast and you get where you're going point- to-point at a very satisfactory high speed.

If you need to travel from let's say Salt Lake City to Detroit, then flying is of course the way to travel if you must get there within a day. No bullet train would ever be practical for linking two metros in that fashion, and there would be a train consist passenger capacity limit on top of that.

Where such intercity passenger routes work best is like linking Jefferson City and Topeka, or, Kansas City and  Oklahoma City and Fort Worth.

People always talk about speed. Well for the average KC metro person a trip to Dallas from your doorstep to destination point in Fort Worth will take at least 365 minutes.  If you were to go by train it will take longer about 708 minutes (a difference of 343 minutes.) Those extra minutes can be put to good use while on the train. Many people conduct their work from a laptop, and you do have to take time out for eating. It's possible to both of these things on a train.

The above scenario outlines the difference between rail and air between KC and Fort Worth. But, if you're traveling to this point from Topeka, or Lawrence or Ottawa and other places 75-100 miles out from Kansas City then the air travel mode time increases and the rail travel time decreases. 
Last edited by advocrat on Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by KCMax » Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:51 am

Kansas asks Amtrak to study passenger service from Kansas City to Oklahoma City

“Linking the Southwest Chief route to the Heartland Flyer route at Newton and Kansas City seems to be a logical connection within Amtrak’s national system and is worth of further study and analysis,” Kansas Transportation Secretary Deb Miller said in a news release.

“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,” she said.

The study is expected to cost between $150,000 and $200,000 and begin this summer. It is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2009.
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:51 am

check out wichita's KAKE version that includes actual footage of the last amtrak train to serve wichita's union station!

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by advocrat » Wed Apr 02, 2008 8:53 am

Something like a dozen city councils and county legislatures have passed resolutions, and are making their interest known to state officials in Kansas that they want new, daytime passenger rail service running from Kansas City through Lawrence, Topeka, Emporia, Newton, Wichita, Arkansas City and south to Okalhoma City and on to Fort Worth. Over the last month or two there have also been numerous news articles and television broadcasts and radio interviews.

I wonder how this might interconnect or impact the Funk's idea of metro area light rail transit. A benefit or a complication. But KCLight rail may be 7-9 years away, and this intercity passenger rail expansion could be already running in 3.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by dangerboy » Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:46 am

Folks also need to be contacting their state reps and state senators to let them know that passenger rail is priority for funding.  The state will ultimately have allocate a few million dollars to pay for the service, so the legislators need to start getting used to the idea.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by anniewarbucks » Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:20 pm

They were talking about that here on WIBW 13 the other day. I wanted to comment on it yesterday but KRANG got in the way. If I remember right they are talking about at least 2 more runs through this area.
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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:32 pm

anniewarbucks wrote:They were talking about that here on WIBW 13 the other day. I wanted to comment on it yesterday but KRANG got in the way. If I remember right they are talking about at least 2 more runs through this area.


email your councilperson, annie!

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by advocrat » Wed Apr 02, 2008 7:15 pm

anniewarbucks wrote:They were talking about that here on WIBW 13 the other day. I wanted to comment on it yesterday but KRANG got in the way. If I remember right they are talking about at least 2 more runs through this area.


I hear the Governor's office has received something like a thousand letters (no exaggeration) from citizens across the state over the past three months.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by advocrat » Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:10 am

This report just in ......

Topeka City Council Approves Amtrak Expansion

The state-wide push in Kansas for an expansion of Amtrak service has reached something of a milestone according to reports from the Northern Flyer Alliance a group collaborating with the Kansas Corridor Communities Coalition to bring the initiative to the Kansas Legislature.

On April 15th the Topeka City Council voted 9-0 to request that Kansas request additional intercity passenger rail service between Kansas City and Fort Worth. Topeka has now joined over a dozen other city councils and county legislatures that have passed similar resolutions since January 2008. A number of Oklahoma communities have mounted a similar drive in that state.

The Kansas Department of Transportation requested a development study from Amtrak, the timing of which suggests that Kansas is preparing to seek the Federal funding legislation that passed the U.S. Senate last year, and currently moving forward in the U.S. House.  Amtrak has disclosed that about 14 other states have similar initiatives underway, but the momentum in Kansas is much more active, and moving forward. The Federal bill provides funding of up to 80% of the development costs, and, the Kansas route proposal is a modest request both operationally and fiscally. The proposed route bridges a short 75 mile rail connection in Kansas south of Newton which will link to the existing Heartland Flyer route currently operating between Fort Worth and Oklahoma City.

Proponents of this initiative have organized bi-partisan support in the Kansas Senate and House with proposed legislation in the 2009 Kansas Legislative session
 
Last edited by advocrat on Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by GuyInLenexa » Thu Jun 05, 2008 11:59 am

This article from the Oklahoman (OKC) shows that ridership heartland flyer between OKC and Fort Worth has increased 10% in the last six months.
This a.m. I saw on TV that Continental Airlines is cutting back flights, employees, number of planes, etc. due to the increase in fuel costs.  Fares are going to go up industry wide also.  American Airlines and several others are in the process of making serous cutbacks in service.
I hope the Heartland Flyer will extend this route to KC soon.  Hopefully the new administration will look at rail, perhaps (just a pipedream) electric powered trains like Europe and Japan.  We are totally without alternatives to airlines besides personal auto.

http://newsok.com/heartland-flyer-picks ... 1212634293

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by jimb » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:25 pm

GuyInLenexa wrote:We are totally without alternatives to airlines besides personal auto.


That's what I don't get.  I haven't been on a flight in some time (albeit I don't fly a lot) that wasn't packed to the gills.  Last week I round-tripped to Toronto via Detroit and there wasn't an open seat on any of the 4 flights.  When they start dropping flights, I assume it will only get worse.  Coupled with the hassle at the airport with security and all that, what to me was already a disagreeable experience has become even more so.  But how else do I get anywhere in a reasonable time frame besides Chicago and St Louis?

Even if we were to get a renewed push on rail transit, I'm afraid it will be a very long time before options start to open up, especially for us out here in the heartland.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by dangerboy » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:54 pm

GuyInLenexa wrote:I hope the Heartland Flyer will extend this route to KC soon. 


It's all up to the State of Kansas and whether or not the Legislature is willing to pay for it.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by advocrat » Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:40 pm

I suspect that the State legislature may already be taking action on this proposal, in that the joint transportation committee probably directed the Kansas State Department of Transportation to request a study that will cost $175,000 dollars to analyze the route and provide cost figures. KDOT would never have done this on their own if there wasn't measurable public interest and legislative direction.

And then there is also the pressure coming from the Governor's office, which has received over 2000 letters since the first of the year on this issue. KDOT has been directed to answer them all.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Wed May 13, 2009 9:51 am

a lot of news to report on this effort:

- KDOT will be asking for $10 million in ARRA funds to improve the tracks between the OK state line and newton, KS
- the state legislature passed a resolution asking KDOT to include passenger rail in the STP (which they failed to do in the last update, even though it was frequently requested all along the study corridor)
- amtrak study will be complete by the end of 2009
- the oklahoma legislature is attempting to pass a resolution of support for the KDOT study
- the existing lawrence, topeka, and newton stations are receiving ADA and signage upgrades paid for by amtrak's ARRA funding
- the lawrence station is in negotiations for ownership to be transferred to the city

separately, KDOT has also received $2 million in rural transit funding for intercity bus services to connect wichita with salina and the colorado border. hopefully wichita's union station will be secured as a transit hub so all of these services can connect seamlessly under one roof.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Mon Jul 13, 2009 8:28 pm

KDOT explores grant for Kansas City-Oklahoma City Amtrak service
The state has submitted a grant pre-application to the Federal Railroad Administration for a $500,000 project to prepare a plan for implementing state-supported Amtrak service between the destinations. KDOT offered to contribute half the cost of the project.

The work would build on an Amtrak expansion feasibility study, expected to be completed by the end of the year. The state will need information from both studies if it is to apply for grants through the Federal Railroad Administration?s High-Speed/Intercity Passenger Rail program.
this effort is getting a big push from wichita interests. so far, there seems to be good collaboration between ODOT and KDOT. expect action from the kansas legislature next session on operational funding.

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Re: New AMTRAK route between Kansas City and Oklahoma City

Post by DaveKCMO » Fri Aug 28, 2009 10:53 am

update from KDOT:
From: Ronald Kaufman RKaufman@ksdot.org
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 2009 10:22:03 -0500
Subject: KDOT Submits Passenger Rail Grant Applications

Happy Friday, Everyone!

KDOT submitted two final grant applications on August 24, 2009 to the
Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for funding under the High
Speed/Intercity Passenger Rail program. The completed Tracks 1a and 3
final applications and letters of support are available on the KDOT
Passenger Rail website at www.ksdot.org/passrail.

The first application (Track 1a) is for $7.6 million for track improvements
on the Southwest Chief route between Emporia and Barclay. This is an
increase over the $6.95 million submitted in the pre-application due to
better cost estimates. The improvements will permit the Southwest Chief to
increase its average operating speed in that section. Track 1a grants are
funded with economic stimulus funds from the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The second application (Track 3) is for $500,000 to prepare a Service
Development Plan for intercity passenger rail service between Kansas City,
Oklahoma City and Fort Worth. Track 3 grants do not use ARRA funds and
require a 50 percent state match. Of the $500,000 total project cost, KDOT
has committed $250,000 for the state match, of which the Oklahoma
Department of Transportation (ODOT) has committed up to $125,000. We
deeply appreciate this commitment from ODOT. This is a key application. A
Service Development Plan, including environmental documentation, will be
required to receive funding for Track 2 grants to implement passenger rail
services.

We will submit a third application (Track 2) by the deadline of October 2,
2009. It will be for $10 million for signal and crossing upgrades between
Newton and the Kansas/Oklahoma state line. PLEASE NOTE: We do not expect
to receive this funding because we will not have the required Service
Development Plan or environmental documentation (mentioned above) to be
eligible for a Track 2 award. It is impossible for KDOT to prepare a
Service Development Plan before October 2 due to the detailed,
comprehensive nature of such a plan. The Amtrak Expansion Feasibility
Study (due later this year) will not be detailed enough to be a Service
Development Plan, and it will not include environmental documentation.

We are confident there will be more federal funding opportunities in the
future. In an August 25, 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal, Joe
Szabo, FRA Administrator, said this grant program should be viewed as the
beginning of a long undertaking similar to the effort to build the
interstate highway system. He said people need to understand this isn't
about winners and losers, that it is the beginning.

Also, KDOT's federal earmark request for $10 million for signal and
crossing improvements between Newton and the Kansas/Oklahoma state line is
still pending.

The FRA has not given us a firm date for announcing the awards although in
the same article mentioned above, FRA Administrator Joe Szabo said "late
September or early October." Also, according to federal Office of
Management and Budget guidance, applicants are not allowed to contact the
FRA to discuss their submitted applications.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Ron

Ron Kaufman
Chief of the Bureau of Public Involvement
Kansas Department of Transportation
Eisenhower State Office Bldg.,
700 SW Harrison, 2nd Fl. West
Topeka, KS 66603-3754
785-296-3769 or toll-free in Kansas 1-877-550-5368

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