Amtrak to run test on passenger service to K.C.

By Diana Baldwin

The Oklahoman


Amtrak and BNSF Railway will conduct on Friday an inspection trip from Oklahoma City to Kansas City as the next step toward restoring passenger rail service between Texas and Kansas City.


Texas Rail Advocates invite people to turn out in support of restoring the rail service. Edmond officials plan to rally at 7:45 a.m. Friday at Festival Market Place near the railroad tracks on First Street to show support for the train service. The train is expected to pass through Edmond between 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m.


"Edmond officials are supportive of expanding public transportation opportunities for our residents now and in the future," said Casey Moore, Edmond city spokesman.


"This inspection train is a preliminary step in potentially restoring a significant gap for passenger rail service that has existed since Amtrak eliminated the line between Oklahoma City and Kansas City in 1979 due to budget cuts," Moore said.


Edmond Councilwoman Elizabeth Waner plans to ride the train on Friday.


From Oklahoma City south to Fort Worth, Texas, daily passenger rail service is provided by Amtrak thanks to a joint operating agreement with the Oklahoma and Texas departments of transportation.


The one-way inspection trip will leave Oklahoma City at 7:45 a.m. Friday and end at Kansas City Union Station at 5:30 p.m., making short stops at Oklahoma towns and cities to meet with local dignitaries.


Oklahoma cities visited will be Guthrie at 8:30 a.m., Perry at 9:15 a.m., Ponca City at 10 a.m. and Arkansas City at 10:45 a.m.


Guthrie Chamber of Commerce officials also are encouraging people to turn out for the train when it stops there.


The inspection train will make a brief stop in Wichita, Kansas, at 12:05 p.m. and then at Newton, Kansas, at 1 p.m. The train will then head toward Kansas City with short stops at Emporia at 2:20 p.m. and Topeka at 3:45 p.m.


The cost of restoring service has not been formalized, but according to sources, the initial trip will give state and local officials, Amtrak and BNSF Railway a basis for continuing the discussion.