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  1. #201

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

    ^That seems like a big step forward that could improve service.

    What are the possibilities of a train like this being used for special events that would take people to places like the DFW area and back…

    I wish Amtrak made a stop where a connection with a much quicker bus shuttle than exist now could take you to the DFW airport. The set up now takes way too much time.

  2. #202

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

    The last thing we need is easier access to DFW.

  3. #203

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

    Quote Originally Posted by shawnw View Post
    Doesn't this mean we can now put streetcars on the heavy rail (to, say, go to the airport) or am I mixing things up?
    Most light rail vehicles, including streetcars, currently used in the US would still not meet the revised FRA safety standards for mixed-traffic operations. What the new regulations do allow for are more modern, European-style train sets, like the Stadler Rail FLIRT DMU, that are lighter and faster than the heavy-rail locomotive train sets typically used in the US.

  4. #204

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

    Quote Originally Posted by catch22 View Post
    The last thing we need is easier access to DFW.
    Why do you say that?

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

    Quote Originally Posted by soonerheart View Post
    Why do you say that?
    Because in the long term, that reduces our flight options here in OKC and makes them more expensive (due to fewer butts in seats); it also makes it harder to get new routes, if people can just skip down to the DFW airport instead. It's better to incentivize airlines to provide better and cheaper options from OKC when possible. More important for the future of passenger rail in Oklahoma is extension of the Heartland Flyer's current route to at least Newton, KS (to meet up with the Southwest Chief) - and doubling the frequency too - as well as a train from Tulsa to OKC (and eventually down to Lawton, too).

  6. #206

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

    Quote Originally Posted by soonerheart View Post
    Why do you say that?
    I’m thinking the same thing. Easier access to one of the largest economies in the US is a bad thing how? Because might loose some flights? I think the positives outweigh the negatives.

  7. #207

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    I’m thinking the same thing. Easier access to one of the largest economies in the US is a bad thing how? Because might loose some flights? I think the positives outweigh the negatives.
    I’m like you… The more options we have that speed up and cheapen our travel for the public the better as far as I’m concerned.

    DFW is significantly cheaper to fly out of and the world is virtually only a flight away…. This is one way we move OKC closer to the world IMHO. We will never see the flight options that DFW has in our lifetimes in OKC.

    The Heartland Flyer goes right by the Texas Motor Speedway and the Fort Worth Alliance Airport, with its large industrial complex which would attract train riders...With a train stop nearby I would bet a bus shuttle service with limited stops to the DFW airport would be viable…It would knock a considerable amount of time off of what is now required and build a case to improve speeds for the train.
    I would be more likely to take a faster train to the DFW area and if needed rent a car at the airport.

  8. #208

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

    Even better for Fort Worth and OKC, but IIRC, they are building a commuter rail line specifically for this route. It’s under construction and going to connect Union Station in Fort Worth to DFW rail station.

    OKC is blessed to be so close to such a major cosmopolitan city like DFW. We aren’t getting bigger than they are, so let’s be their friend and not the enemy.

  9. #209
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    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    What you want exists already. Currently you can take the Heartland Flyer to Ft Worth and then hop on TRE train (same station) and there's an airport stop. From that stop there's a shuttle bus that goes to the airport.

    https://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/dfw-airport/

  10. #210

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

    Quote Originally Posted by shawnw View Post
    What you want exists already. Currently you can take the Heartland Flyer to Ft Worth and then hop on TRE train (same station) and there's an airport stop. From that stop there's a shuttle bus that goes to the airport.

    https://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/dfw-airport/
    It takes too long. Iíve done it several times. Itís almost worth hitting up the orange line and going all the way to Dallas then hitting up the TRE.

  11. #211
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    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Just saying its been asked for and it exists. And this isn't an HSR thread. :-)

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    It takes too long. I’ve done it several times. It’s almost worth hitting up the orange line and going all the way to Dallas then hitting up the TRE.
    The new TEXRail commuter line that opens January 5th goes directly from where the Heartland Flyer ends at the Fort Worth ITC, straight to the airport. It's Fort Worth's copy of the DART Orange Line, but over heavy rail instead of light rail.

  13. #213
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    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Nice! Even better!

  14. #214

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

    Quote Originally Posted by baralheia View Post
    The new TEXRail commuter line that opens January 5th goes directly from where the Heartland Flyer ends at the Fort Worth ITC, straight to the airport. It's Fort Worth's copy of the DART Orange Line, but over heavy rail instead of light rail.
    Yeah okay I thought that was in the works but wasn’t 100 percent sure.

  15. #215

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

    Quote Originally Posted by baralheia View Post
    The new TEXRail commuter line that opens January 5th goes directly from where the Heartland Flyer ends at the Fort Worth ITC, straight to the airport. It's Fort Worth's copy of the DART Orange Line, but over heavy rail instead of light rail.
    Thank you very much for that Information….However speed is still a major concern IMHO.
    It seems driving would ordinarily be much faster.
    This is why I suggested creating a new train / bus stop near HY 114 which takes you directly to the DFW airport. I would guess this would save well over an hour over taking the new train.

    I believe the new train will eventually be expanded to the SW to near the TCU campus but I’m unclear when that might occur?

  16. #216

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

    Quote Originally Posted by soonerheart View Post
    Thank you very much for that Information….However speed is still a major concern IMHO.
    It seems driving would ordinarily be much faster.
    This is why I suggested creating a new train / bus stop near HY 114 which takes you directly to the DFW airport. I would guess this would save well over an hour over taking the new train.

    I believe the new train will eventually be expanded to the SW to near the TCU campus but I’m unclear when that might occur?
    The long range plan for the Fort Worth to DFW rail line could include electrification.

  17. #217

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

    Still think we are 15-20 years from breaking ground on HSR in OKC.

    Also, let's help grow our own airport which could become a future hub for Tulsa & Wichita.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by soonerheart View Post
    Thank you very much for that Information….However speed is still a major concern IMHO.
    It seems driving would ordinarily be much faster.
    This is why I suggested creating a new train / bus stop near HY 114 which takes you directly to the DFW airport. I would guess this would save well over an hour over taking the new train.

    I believe the new train will eventually be expanded to the SW to near the TCU campus but I’m unclear when that might occur?
    Honestly, a quick airport connection from the Heartland Flyer is an almost nonexistent priority for TxDOT, ODOT, and Amtrak, given that an airport connection is already available (well, will be within a month) from the Fort Worth ITC. It makes little financial sense to funnel travelers down to DFW and away from OKC. It's far more important to grow our own airport, as well as push resources into expanding the Heartland Flyer's route to Newton and/or Tulsa.

  19. #219

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

    Quote Originally Posted by baralheia View Post
    Honestly, a quick airport connection from the Heartland Flyer is an almost nonexistent priority for TxDOT, ODOT, and Amtrak, given that an airport connection is already available (well, will be within a month) from the Fort Worth ITC. It makes little financial sense to funnel travelers down to DFW and away from OKC. It's far more important to grow our own airport, as well as push resources into expanding the Heartland Flyer's route to Newton and/or Tulsa.
    Newton is a must! That will open so many feasible routes for OKC travelers

    The most ideal track to Tulsa would run straight along I-44 on its own dedicated tracks. Would likely be billions. Wouldn’t have to be 200+ MPH but 120MPH or so would be workable. The proposed eastern flyer is a joke as is.

    The Heartland Flyer to Dallas should be 5-6x each way, per day to make it more convenient. 3-4 at the least. They also need newer trains and perhaps include a bar and better eating area inside of the train.

  20. #220

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    Newton is a must! That will open so many feasible routes for OKC travelers

    The most ideal track to Tulsa would run straight along I-44 on its own dedicated tracks. Would likely be billions. Wouldnít have to be 200+ MPH but 120MPH or so would be workable. The proposed eastern flyer is a joke as is.

    The Heartland Flyer to Dallas should be 5-6x each way, per day to make it more convenient. 3-4 at the least. They also need newer trains and perhaps include a bar and better eating area inside of the train.
    I can only agree to that.

    The train to the Metroplex should be around 100mph. It is pretty standard for an express intercity train.
    Now it is still over 4 hours to do the trip. It s very third world like !

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    Newton is a must! That will open so many feasible routes for OKC travelers

    The most ideal track to Tulsa would run straight along I-44 on its own dedicated tracks. Would likely be billions. Wouldn’t have to be 200+ MPH but 120MPH or so would be workable. The proposed eastern flyer is a joke as is.

    The Heartland Flyer to Dallas should be 5-6x each way, per day to make it more convenient. 3-4 at the least. They also need newer trains and perhaps include a bar and better eating area inside of the train.
    An extension to Newton for the Heartland Flyer will be nothing short of transformational for that service. Not only will it give us in OKC more options in our connections to the national passenger rail network, but overhead traffic will increase as well; on it's current schedule, a single train shuttling back and forth between Fort Worth and Newton, via OKC, perfectly interfaces with the schedules for the Texas Eagle and the Southwest Chief. Given that both Newton and Fort Worth offer checked baggage service, sufficient overhead traffic could enable us to have checked baggage service here in OKC as well (and I know that's in the long-range plan for Santa Fe Station, assuming funding is available). Such an extension would serve to strengthen the national passenger rail network as well, giving passengers flexibility and options they wouldn't have before, even if their destination wasn't in Oklahoma.

    As for the Eastern Flyer, you're right - studies have already identified that the ideal option is to build a railway along most of I-44. Even at normal US passenger speeds of 80mph, it's a superior route than the ex-Frisco route to Tulsa (the Sooner Sub). But that's going to cost a LOT of money, as you noted. The Sooner Sub is still a viable route, and would still be adequate to get service going; Frisco ran that route for decades (both the Meteor and the Will Rogers trains), making the trip in as little as 2 hours and 20 minutes. With the right amenities, the right departure times, and sufficient frequency, a new service over this same line would still work, and work well. Trains aren't about getting to your destination as quickly as possible; if you want that, take a flight. Trains are about getting to your destination unburdened by the travel experience.

    As for increased frequency of service... I just don't think there's enough demand now or in the near future to warrant that level of service, even though I'd love to see it. That would be a higher frequency of service than OKC enjoyed even during the peak of the passenger rail era. Personally, I'd be more than happy with 2x-day service in each direction (so each stop sees 4 trains daily); have one train in Newton start south, and one train in Fort Worth start north, at the same time. This would give each community along the line 2 trains a day in each direction, approximately 12 hours apart.

    Quote Originally Posted by amocore View Post
    I can only agree to that.

    The train to the Metroplex should be around 100mph. It is pretty standard for an express intercity train.
    Now it is still over 4 hours to do the trip. It s very third world like !
    Just FYI, the current maximum speed of the Heartland Flyer is 80mph, and it does every bit of that for a majority of the 206-mile route. When you take into account in station stops at the intermediate cities, the train averages about 52mph. Part of the problem with making it go faster is that Amtrak doesn't own the rails that the Heartland Flyer uses - that's owned by BNSF. They maintain their trackage through Oklahoma City at Class 4 standards, which allows freight to travel at up to 60mph and passenger trains to travel at up to 80mph. When you start going beyond Class 4, infrastructure costs get much, much higher as tighter tolerances are required, and additional safety mechanisms are needed - stuff that really isn't necessary for freight. As a result, freight operators like BNSF are extremely reluctant to put significant sums of money into upgrading lines to standards that only passenger trains will really take advantage of. The only real way to get around this would be for the passenger operators to own their own rails - either by Amtrak buying lines, or having the railroad companies take back operation of passenger trains like they used to do back in the day. Unfortunately, I just don't really see either happening.

  22. #222

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

    Not that I think Oklahoma would spring for this, but could states build and maintain their own tracks and lease them back to Amtrak?

    States own and maintain the Interstate Highways, could we end up with Interstate Railways?

  23. #223

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

    Quote Originally Posted by d-usa View Post
    Not that I think Oklahoma would spring for this, but could states build and maintain their own tracks and lease them back to Amtrak?

    States own and maintain the Interstate Highways, could we end up with Interstate Railways?
    New Mexico did it with Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Plutonic Panda View Post
    New Mexico did it with Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
    Yeah, it's not unheard of. I believe California does this in some areas too; to my knowledge, CalTrans owns some ROW and a lot of the equipment for in-state routes, and contracts with Amtrak to operate the service.

  25. #225
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    Default Re: Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Quote Originally Posted by baralheia View Post
    An extension to Newton for the Heartland Flyer will be nothing short of transformational for that service. Not only will it give us in OKC more options in our connections to the national passenger rail network, but overhead traffic will increase as well; on it's current schedule, a single train shuttling back and forth between Fort Worth and Newton, via OKC, perfectly interfaces with the schedules for the Texas Eagle and the Southwest Chief. Given that both Newton and Fort Worth offer checked baggage service, sufficient overhead traffic could enable us to have checked baggage service here in OKC as well (and I know that's in the long-range plan for Santa Fe Station, assuming funding is available). Such an extension would serve to strengthen the national passenger rail network as well, giving passengers flexibility and options they wouldn't have before, even if their destination wasn't in Oklahoma.

    As for the Eastern Flyer, you're right - studies have already identified that the ideal option is to build a railway along most of I-44. Even at normal US passenger speeds of 80mph, it's a superior route than the ex-Frisco route to Tulsa (the Sooner Sub). But that's going to cost a LOT of money, as you noted. The Sooner Sub is still a viable route, and would still be adequate to get service going; Frisco ran that route for decades (both the Meteor and the Will Rogers trains), making the trip in as little as 2 hours and 20 minutes. With the right amenities, the right departure times, and sufficient frequency, a new service over this same line would still work, and work well. Trains aren't about getting to your destination as quickly as possible; if you want that, take a flight. Trains are about getting to your destination unburdened by the travel experience.

    As for increased frequency of service... I just don't think there's enough demand now or in the near future to warrant that level of service, even though I'd love to see it. That would be a higher frequency of service than OKC enjoyed even during the peak of the passenger rail era. Personally, I'd be more than happy with 2x-day service in each direction (so each stop sees 4 trains daily); have one train in Newton start south, and one train in Fort Worth start north, at the same time. This would give each community along the line 2 trains a day in each direction, approximately 12 hours apart.



    Just FYI, the current maximum speed of the Heartland Flyer is 80mph, and it does every bit of that for a majority of the 206-mile route. When you take into account in station stops at the intermediate cities, the train averages about 52mph. Part of the problem with making it go faster is that Amtrak doesn't own the rails that the Heartland Flyer uses - that's owned by BNSF. They maintain their trackage through Oklahoma City at Class 4 standards, which allows freight to travel at up to 60mph and passenger trains to travel at up to 80mph. When you start going beyond Class 4, infrastructure costs get much, much higher as tighter tolerances are required, and additional safety mechanisms are needed - stuff that really isn't necessary for freight. As a result, freight operators like BNSF are extremely reluctant to put significant sums of money into upgrading lines to standards that only passenger trains will really take advantage of. The only real way to get around this would be for the passenger operators to own their own rails - either by Amtrak buying lines, or having the railroad companies take back operation of passenger trains like they used to do back in the day. Unfortunately, I just don't really see either happening.
    The Frisco had a whole passenger dept to support their trains as well as budgeting for the track department to keep the track up. That doesn’t exist on the SLWC. The BNSF has it’s own interests in freight, and Amtrak is paying for the 79 mph. And with all the speed restrictions on curves, switches, cities, plus meeting the freight trains, it’s still 1979 schedules. I remember we had ATS, automatic train stop on the ATSF 40 years ago.

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