Public Meeting Focused On Heartland Flyer
Join the discussion below, or Read more at News on 6 Tulsa.
#1 Jun 2, 2008
Railroad passenger service has been something Oklahoma has needed for a long time. In spite of the critics of the service out of Oklahoma City in its beginning it has continued to be a plus for Oklahoma. Now some very serious consideration needs to be given to a route from St. Louis to Dallas, via Tulsa and Oklahoma City. So many times we only do things half way and never carry thru all the way. So I ask, Why Newton? Do you realize how far out of Wichita Newton is? Why not thru Wichita to Kansas City if we are really wanting to advoid spending money on fuel then proceed to Kansas City, via Newton? Would be smarter than stopping in Newton which is not all that close to Wichita that Amtrak riders can now attest to that have to travel from Wichita to there. Overall though, I absolutely support the added passenger service to anywhere in Oklahoma because it can only help!
#2 Jun 2, 2008
The fact is that the proposal extends all the way to Kansas City, not just Newton and it would make a stop in Wichita. Amtrak is in fact studying the route all the way to Kansas City under direction from the Kansas Department of Transportation. Remember that this effort took fire in Kansas, not Oklahoma, and the push has therefore been outside of Tulsa. Some in Tulsa have now recognized the importance of passenger rail (at least we hope) and maybe both routes will be operated eventually...
However; there is an infrastructure problem between Oklahoma City and Tulsa that does not exist between Oklahoma City and Kansas City. ODOT estimates that the rails between Oklahoma City and Tulsa will require some $110 million to repair. It is 25 MPH track along the I-44 (Turner Turnpike) corridor....
ODOT estimated in 2001 that the track to Newton would require just $5 million in upgrades with $2.9 coming in Oklahoma and $2.1 in Kansas. The route to be studied is already Amtrak quality between OKC-Fort Worth and Kansas City-Newton...
Further the Missouri Department of Transportation declined to fund operation of a similar stretch of track between St. Louis and Springfield. Amtrak in fact discouraged its operation. Oklahoma will no longer fund passenger rail projects outside of the state so Tulsa would be just a longer stub end route off of Fort Worth...
Tulsa's best short term bet is a connection with the Heartland Flyer in Perry or Oklahoma City using a system similar to the New Mexico Rail Runner that will eventually connect Albuquerque and Santa Fe because this connection will be intrastate. Oklahoma would save money in this way operating their own passenger trains...
Eventually, the state owned track between Sapulpa and Oklahoma City will be fixed but until then Amtrak will have a real problem serving Tulsa.
#3 Jun 2, 2008
now if somebody would just educate Rick Westcott on these problems of infrastucture, etc., he might back off his ludicrous comments of last week. I live in Tulsa and would love to ride the train to OKC, etc, but get the train to Newton and then worry about the Tulsa connection. Westcott is just playing to the public, really...
#4 Jan 26, 2009
While it's true the route between Sapulpa and OKC would need more rebuilding than the route to Newton via Wichita, the Amtrak route from Tulsa doesn't have to go into Missouri and St. Louis as looked at previously. The route could turn north at Afton and go thru Miami, Baxter Springs and Ft. Scott, KS and then into Kansas City. This would provide Oklahoma's two largest cities with Amtrak service in both directions and connections with other Amtrak trains at either end of the route to get to Chicago and points east, or Ft. Worth and points west like Los Angeles. I think if anyone would present this routing to Amtrak and city and state leaders, that this may prove to be an viable alternative.
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