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  1. #101

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Those times seem odd. The Newton station only gets trains between 2 and 3 am. It is only manned during that time (ridden it twice round trip to Newton)

  2. #102

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    That likely means they will staff it more hours.

    I looked at a lot of these train stations and they will need quite a bit of TLC. Likely in the millions for some of them. Hopefully they get the proper investment and not the cheapo Depot method.

    Is there a time line for this or are they just studying feasilbity? I would love to have an option of going to Newton and then linking to OKC. I'd ride it around once a year or so. I would likely need to grab a hotel however. This could be a good deal for a lot of towns. More transportation options is never bad.

    With that said, they need an option for commuter rail to Stillwater-OKC. I've riden Amtrak from DTOKC to Norman a couple times in the morning.

  3. Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Quote Originally Posted by KayneMo View Post
    Amtrak Train making a stop in Guthrie; possible expansion coming
    By Guthrie News Page on June 5, 2017

    Guthrie officials have been invited to hop along the Amtrak Train, which will be making a stop in Guthrie this week.

    Amtrak is exploring expanding their passenger train service from Oklahoma City to Newton, Kansas, where other rail connections are possible.

    Mayor Steve Gentling, Vice Mayor Ed Wood and City Manager Leroy Alsup have been invited to ride the Amtrak Inspection Train from Oklahoma City to Kansas City.

    The train is expected to arrive in Guthrie on Friday, June 9 at 8:30 a.m.

    The purpose of the trip is to see the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and explore the opportunity to extend Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer.

    The train will operate on the schedule shown below.

    Each of the stops between Guthrie and Wichita will take place at the former Santa Fe stations in each of those respective cities. All remaining stops will be at the local Amtrak stations.

    7:45am CDT DP Oklahoma City Santa Fe Station (downtown)
    8:30am DP Guthrie
    9:15am DP Perry
    10:00am DP Ponca City
    10:45am DP Ark City
    12:05pm DP Wichita
    1:00pm DP Newton
    2:20pm DP Emporia
    3:45pm DP Topeka
    5:30pm AR Kansas City Union Station

    http://guthrienewspage.com/2017/06/a...ansion-coming/
    That's really cool!!

  4. #104

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Quote Originally Posted by whatitis View Post
    Those times seem odd. The Newton station only gets trains between 2 and 3 am. It is only manned during that time (ridden it twice round trip to Newton)
    This is the schedule for the inspection train on Friday. not a permanent schedule. If they did expand service the schedule could be entirely different.

  5. Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    ^Exactly. The northbound train gets in OKC around 930ish. Continue that north and it would get to Newton around ~130am. Which would be pretty good timing to catch the Southwest Chief. Timing would work going southbound too as the OKC train departs around 8am IIRC.

  6. #106
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    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    It would be awesome to have the option to catch the train to Wichita or Topeka or KC for weekend trips.... plus the connections potential...

    if this were definitely happening, what would the timeline be you think?

  7. #107

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Great news. Hopefully Amtrak gets continued federal funding (unless I've missed something) for this to come to fruition! I would definitely do a Thursday night ride to KC, come back on a late Sunday/Monday morning ride if this were extended.

  8. #108

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Would this mean that our station would start hosting two trains? Or can this be done with just the one we have

  9. #109

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    This is good news.

    http://www.edmondsun.com/news/public...f961b774.html#

    Hopefully a stop in Edmond will be a reality as I think Edmond warrants a stop. Norman has one. I really hope this goes through sooner rather than later.

  10. #110

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    A couple of other wishlists:

    Passenger rail to Stillwater and Tulsa. Eventually a line to Little Rock would be nice. I'd also really like it if they got new rail cars for the Heartland Flyer.

  11. #111

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    I know I got some responses in another thread I can't find right now about the Southwest Chief, but I have another question about it. Does anyone know the its fastest operating speed? It would be nice to see speeds of at least 120MPH in most areas.

  12. Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    I hate to temper everyone's excitement, but please keep in mind that an inspection train does not necessarily mean that passenger service will start. There have been a lot of people pushing for this extension for a long time, and running this inspection train is among the very first steps to establishing service or even seeing if it is feasible. The main problem in getting an expansion of service is going to be cost. The last time Amtrak explored extending the Heartland Flyer into Kansas, in 2010, the minimum infrastructure improvement cost was nearly $88 million before the first Amtrak train could even begin rolling - and that was only to Newton to connect with the Southwest Chief - with an additional $4.4 million annual subsidy from the state of Kansas. To get a daily train all the way through to Kansas City, the infrastructure improvement ask was a whopping $245 million, with an additional $10 million annual subsidy from KS. In both cases, the subsidy required from Oklahoma would also increase from the current $3.2 million, as the number of route miles through the state would roughly double. Truthfully, I don't know what all that cost entails, but it's quite steep despite the generally very good condition of the BNSF line between here and Newton. Most or all of that cost would rest on the shoulders of the states the train travels through, as all Amtrak routes under 750 miles in length require the states they serve to fund their operations - and neither Oklahoma nor Kansas have that kind of money to throw at passenger rail, unfortunately.

    The 2010 study identified four potential service options: A) Using the existing single trainset to shuttle back and forth between Newton and Fort Worth to connect the Southwest Chief to the Texas Eagle; B) Keeping the Heartland Flyer as-is and then adding a new trainset that would shuttle back and forth between Kansas City and OKC - but it wouldn't connect with the Southwest Chief; C) Replacing the Heartland Flyer with a new daytime service between Kansas City and Fort Worth via Newton and OKC, with two new trainsets (one in each direction); and D) Starting a new, stand-alone route between Kansas City and OKC, with two new trainsets (one in each direction). Options A and C were ultimately studied in depth, leading to the cost numbers in the first paragraph; however, these numbers are now 7 years old so a new study may be required first.

    I do seriously hope that the Heartland Flyer does get the expansion that many of us want... it just may take a while before it happens.

  13. Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    I know I got some responses in another thread I can't find right now about the Southwest Chief, but I have another question about it. Does anyone know the its fastest operating speed? It would be nice to see speeds of at least 120MPH in most areas.
    According to it's Wikipedia page, the maximum speed of the Southwest Chief is 90MPH, but across it's entire route, the average speed is only around 55MPH. The only routes capable of speeds greater than 120mph are along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor from Washington, DC to Boston, MA - and only a few routes are even capable of 100MPH+ operations. It would take enormous infrastructure investment by the freight railroads hosting Amtrak trains to even reliably attain 80MPH sustained operations.

  14. #114

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    I wonder if they factored in potential ridership from DFW that would use the Southwest chief. I don't know if that would be better for people than taking the line down to San Antonio through El Paso further south which would then need to link up with the PacSurf. People from Dallas might use this line to connect to Newton.

    It just seems like this is a fairly large missing link in the puzzle, but perhaps I could be wrong.

    I see that 425 million as a good investment. That isn't that much. They're asking almost 200 billion for NE Corridor improvements as I'm sure you know. Have you heard anything new on that?

    Edmond will need a complete new station from the ground up though they've already identified a need and they are working to secure funding for it. Guthries station looks like it will need several million dollars worth of investment and to do it right I would guess 5-10 million. Perry's station needs a lot of work. Not familiar with Ark City's or Wichita's.

  15. Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    I wonder if they factored in potential ridership from DFW that would use the Southwest chief. I don't know if that would be better for people than taking the line down to San Antonio through El Paso further south which would then need to link up with the PacSurf. People from Dallas might use this line to connect to Newton.

    It just seems like this is a fairly large missing link in the puzzle, but perhaps I could be wrong.

    I see that 425 million as a good investment. That isn't that much. They're asking almost 200 billion for NE Corridor improvements as I'm sure you know. Have you heard anything new on that?

    Edmond will need a complete new station from the ground up though they've already identified a need and they are working to secure funding for it. Guthries station looks like it will need several million dollars worth of investment and to do it right I would guess 5-10 million. Perry's station needs a lot of work. Not familiar with Ark City's or Wichita's.
    I know Wichita's is pretty large and undergoing a major renovation.

  16. #116

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Quote Originally Posted by PhiAlpha View Post
    I know Wichita's is pretty large and undergoing a major renovation.
    That's great to hear! I don't know if Guthries is in that bad of shape. I think they even have a cafe or a shop open inside. But I assume it would need several million in renovations to accommodate passenger trains.

  17. #117

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Btw for anyone interested here is a Facebook page to follow: https://www.facebook.com/PassRailOK/

  18. Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    That's great to hear! I don't know if Guthries is in that bad of shape. I think they even have a cafe or a shop open inside. But I assume it would need several million in renovations to accommodate passenger trains.
    To the best of my knowledge, the Guthrie Santa Fe Depot is empty right now. There was a restaurant in it as recently as 2013, however - so I don't think a ton of investment would be necessary to get it in proper order again. Looking at it on Google Maps Streetview, it looks to still be in good shape, although the platform definitely needs some help.

  19. #119

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Amtrak 822 North at Britton Oklahoma
    Amtrak Oklahoma City to Kansas City inspection train 822 North splits the South Britton signals.
    Raymond D. Woods, Jr.: Photo 6/09/2017


    Amtrak 822 North at Britton by Raymond D. Woods, Jr., on Flickr

  20. #120

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    That's is very exciting to see!!!

  21. Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Representatives Monroe Nichols and Forrest Bennett to host an interim study on solutions for getting the Eastern Flyer up and running, as well as expansion possibilities for the Heartland Flyer.

    Per https://okhouse.gov/Media/ShowStory....diaNewsID=5273 (via this post by Passenger Rail Oklahoma on Facebook)

    OKC Chamber and other Pro-Business Groups Support Upcoming Nichols-Bennett Interim Study

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    Contact: Jacklyn Brink-Rosen
    Phone: (405) 557-7391

    In an effort to lay out solutions to completion of the proposed Eastern Flyer route and to look at new horizons for the Heartland Flyer, urban Democratic Reps. Monroe Nichols and Forrest Bennett will host interim study 17-107on passenger rail expansion on September 6, 2017, in Room 512A at the state Capitol.

    Upon release to the public of information regarding the upcoming study on rail expansion, messages of support for rail and other mass transportation options came in from all sectors of business and politics to include pro-business groups traditionally associated with customary corporate concerns. Wisely, these groups are making the connection and taking a hard look at the impact upon those concerns when a state and its cities have no connectivity

    “I am encouraged that the Oklahoma City Chamber has joined the thousands of Oklahomans in support of this effort,” said study coauthor Nichols, D-Tulsa. “We all recognize this as a huge economic development opportunity. Passenger rail provides yet another mode of transportation, connecting our major economic hubs to those in cities in our region and across the country.

    Rail has been talked about for too long without enough action. We ought to be investing in all forms of transportation. What we have is a chance to ensure Oklahoma isn’t left behind; rail isn’t a new thing, it’s something we need to fully embrace. The groundwork has been laid; all that is left is for us to take the last few steps to –literally- get the trains rolling.

    “We know based on a Tulsa Chamber study in 2014, that there are upwards of 5,000 business commuters daily between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. For Oklahomans, the savings and increased opportunity for a productive commute makes riding instead of driving a worthwhile endeavor. Those aspects are in addition to having connectivity to Kansas City, St. Louis and other major cities in this part of the country,” Nichols said.

    How the Legislature’s transportation compass came to be headed in only “one direction” is a mystery, as apparently there was a time when other legislatures had a different sense of direction. Bipartisan efforts in 1996 led to passage of Senate Bill 1192, the Oklahoma Tourism and Passenger Rail Act, to provide connectivity to primary points in the national railroad passenger system. The measure reads: “The purpose of the Oklahoma Tourism and Passenger Rail Act shall be to do all things necessary to restore passenger rail service to the state, to enhance the state's position as a tourist destination site and to improve the quality of life for residents of this state by offering an alternative mode of intrastate and interstate travel.”

    A second piece of legislation was passed in 1998. The ‘Buyer’s Passenger Service Rights’ agreement purchased the track between Sapulpa and Del City with access rights into both Oklahoma City and downtown Tulsa. Since this agreement, the state made the decision to sell the line to a private carrier but with the caveat that passenger rail service would be developed by August 4, 2019, by the new owner. If the new owner of the line does not bring about service, he will pay a previously agreed upon penalty of several million dollars to the state and Oklahomans have no rail expansion. Word is, despite this enabling legislation, the tie up is push back against permitting access into the downtown areas.

    "It is heartening to see legislators from across the state taking further interest in passenger rail,” said interim study coauthor Bennett, D-Oklahoma City. “States that invest in transportation see economic benefit, returns that Oklahoma desperately needs. As Oklahoma continues to grow, smart investment in mass transit will prove to reduce congestion on our roadways, increase economic development along the routes and create jobs, both directly and indirectly. For that reason, it's no surprise that the State Chamber is on board with our efforts. When dyed-in-the-wool Democrats and the State Chamber come together on something, it's a good sign that it's a winning issue. I look forward to working with them, and other stakeholders, to bring passenger rail and other mass transit options to fruition."

    Amtrak, through the operation of the Heartland Flyer, brings an approximate 3:1 economic benefit ratio ($15 million in passenger spending in communities each year with $1.2 million of which is collected in local sales taxes). Representatives from AMTRAK will be at the hearing to speak about a recent exhibition run of the Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma City to Newton, Kansas, performed to provide stakeholders information on the economic value of extending service beyond the current OKC-Ft. Worth that serves Ardmore, Purcell and Norman to an extended northern route adding Guthrie, Perry, Ponca City, Arkansas City, Wichita, Newton, Emporia, Topeka and Kansas City, connecting to Chicago and Los Angeles via the Southwest Chief at Newton.

    “We are dedicating an entire section of this study to exploring underutilized transportation funding sources that if pursued could resolve many of the obstacles,” said Bennett, who takes the city bus regularly to his office at the state Capitol.

    On Tuesday, Nichols gathered with the Passenger Rail Oklahoma group and supporters of rail expansion in Tulsa to discuss the upcoming study. There are now more than 7,000 followers of the Eastern Flyer website. The name Eastern Flyer was designated by the legislature to be used for the train that will eventually make its way between the state’s two largest cities. Two weeks ago, Bennett traveled on the Heartland Flyer to Texas to observe the potential for additional stops and light rail options Texas now has in place for commuters.

    Both Nichols and Bennett agree that progress should be made concerning access into the downtown areas and that a resolution should be found to allow the Flyer beyond Sapulpa or Del City, in order to avoid affecting business interests and the traveling public.

    Interim Study 17-107 will be held September 6, 2017 beginning at 9 AM in Room 512A of the state capitol. Due to Capitol Restoration activities, attendees should plan on arriving early. Parking for presenters and the public is on the south side of the State Capitol in the area designated as VISITOR PARKING – enter through the southeast entrance, visit the security checkpoint. The available elevator will be located by crossing the 1st floor rotunda to the left, passing in front of the art museum, to the elevator on the right. Take the elevator to the 5th floor. Exit the elevator, turn left and proceed down the hall to 512A.
    Last edited by baralheia; 07-20-2017 at 02:06 PM. Reason: Link corrected

  22. #122
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    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    broken link, but I'm going to try to be there

  23. Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Quote Originally Posted by shawnw View Post
    broken link, but I'm going to try to be there
    Sorry about that - fixed the link.

  24. #124

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Lawton trying to get in on the passenger rail action in Oklahoma!

    http://www.kswo.com/story/36064489/l...ampaign=buffer

  25. #125

    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    Lawton trying to get in on the passenger rail action in Oklahoma!

    http://www.kswo.com/story/36064489/l...ampaign=buffer
    You realize that all of these 30 lane freeways that you dream of (and exist in your utopian vision of the world) are the exact thing that has basically killed passenger rail service in the US? So which one is it? Do you want a million freeways? Or actual, usable rail service? Because they are two separate things.

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