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  1. #1

    Default Oklahoma Passenger Rail Updates(non-HSR)

    Daily rail service to Tulsa could be just six months away.

    The Oklahoma Transportation Commission sold the Sooner Sub line, a railroad between Sapulpa and Midwest City, for $75 million to the Stillwater Central Railroad, LLC. The deal is expected to finalize in July and the railway could begin running as early as November 2014.

    The planned line will have stops in Bristow, and Stroud, with the ends of the line at Midwest City and Sapulpa.

    This train ride takes longer than driving the same distance at approximately 2 hours 50 minutes, however plans have been laid to eventually reduce the running time to less than two hours. The final implementation will have eight weekday roundtrips and five weekend roundtrips, but will begin with two daily and increase to six weekday and five weekend incrementally before reaching the final run.

    Ticket prices are far from being set in stone, but Easter Flyer’s website lists expected average coach fare at $15 and first class at $39 with a $6 charge for the shuttle services. The Excursion prices in February ranged from $64 to $259. The prices will be affordable to their key demographic: students without licenses or vehicles, and seniors who, for whatever reason, prefer not to drive. However, first class tickets will always be available for upscale transportation.

    The train stations will have dedicated shuttles on-site for taking commuters from the dropoff point to Bricktown, Downtown Tulsa, the airports and several additional locations surrounding each dropoff point.

    “For passenger service we’re going to work very closely with the Iowa Pacific,” Said Richard Webb, Chief Executive officer of Stillwater Central. “The Iowa Pacific and our company put together the trial program in December of last year, which those sold out without any advertisement so we,re coordinating over the next 60 days and when we want to start. We are anticipating getting that started sometime this fall.”

    This trial program route was tested back in February with 3 demonstration runs that sold out in 3 weeks, as people wanted to be a part of this historic event. Passenger trains have not run between Tulsa and OKC for more than 70 years.

    “The demand for rail travel continues to grow and ticket sales crushed our revenue goal of 300 tickets,” said Angela Arias, vice president of marketing for Iowa Pacific Premier Rail Collection.
    Daily passenger rail from MWC to Tulsa coming soon - Eastword News - Midwest City, OK

  2. #2

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


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

    Uber drivers in OKC are going to cash in. Is Uber in Tulsa yet?

  4. #4

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    Uber drivers in OKC are going to cash in. Is Uber in Tulsa yet?
    It is, Lyft too. What has to happen though to get each line extended to downtown OKC and Tulsa? How long will this ride take?

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

    According to the article the ride will take nearly 3 hours (but be stress free). I guess one good thing about the oil shipments is that it will provide the funding to improve the rail which the article says will decrease travel time to under 2 hours, which is how fast a person driving the speed limit can do it. OKC and Tulsa will join a very short list of major cities in the US connected by rail that isn't part of Amtrak. West Palm-Ft Lauderdale-Miami (Tri-Rail), Oakland-San Jose-San Francisco-Stockton (Caltrain/BART/ACE), Tacoma-Seattle (Sounder), and Ft. Worth-Dallas (TRE) are the only ones that come to mind.

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

    It will be a good alternative, but drive time from MWC to Sapulpa is 1 hr & 25 minutes. Downtown OKC to Tulsa is 1 hr 36 driving. Train will be longer and require multiple forms of transport. That said, if they can get direct downtown to downtown OKC/Tulsa then it will really be a good alternative. Then they can do one or two express trains a day and the rest as locals. Then it will be more than a novelty.

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

    ...that is if you own a car and have a drivers license, otherwise the trip is 5 days - give or take 12 hours.

    From the article:

    The prices will be affordable to their key demographic: students without licenses or vehicles, and seniors who, for whatever reason, prefer not to drive

  8. #8

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover View Post
    It will be a good alternative, but drive time from MWC to Sapulpa is 1 hr & 25 minutes. Downtown OKC to Tulsa is 1 hr 36 driving. Train will be longer and require multiple forms of transport. That said, if they can get direct downtown to downtown OKC/Tulsa then it will really be a good alternative. Then they can do one or two express trains a day and the rest as locals. Then it will be more than a novelty.
    I completely agree. The excursion trains were a great success and demonstrate there is a strong interest in passenger rail between OKC and Tulsa. But once the novelty wears off, I'm afraid ridership would seriously decline unless the rail service goes into downtown Tulsa and OKC. With Stillwater Central now owning the line and BNSF still needing to work with them to get their oil cars to Stroud, and in the future directly into Cushing, the opportunity exists for them to work together in order to get passenger trains from Sapulpa into Tulsa Union Station on that portion of the old Frisco line owned by BNSF. Especially given the fact that ODOT has the right under its sales contract to BNSF for that portion of the line to operate up to four passenger trains a day into Tulsa. On the other end, the same should hold true for working out an agreement with BNSF or Union Pacific to get the passenger trains into Santa Fe Station in OKC. Since the last thing we can afford is to have passenger rail service fail due to low ridership, it would be preferable to wait to initiate that service until the necessary agreements have been reached to provide direct service between downtown Tulsa and downtown OKC.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Just the facts View Post
    ...that is if you own a car and have a drivers license, otherwise the trip is 5 days - give or take 12 hours.

    From the article:
    Heck, I used to hitchhike from Norman to Tulsa in about 2 hrs. Didn't have to have a car then.

  10. #10

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

    Uphill both ways in the snow?

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

    No, that was only walking to school....or so it seemed.

  12. #12

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

    Just saw a story via Twitter:

    Sen. Inhofe backs Heartland Flyer Extension (the Kansas option, not the Tulsa option).

  13. #13

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover View Post
    It will be a good alternative, but drive time from MWC to Sapulpa is 1 hr & 25 minutes. Downtown OKC to Tulsa is 1 hr 36 driving. Train will be longer and require multiple forms of transport. That said, if they can get direct downtown to downtown OKC/Tulsa then it will really be a good alternative. Then they can do one or two express trains a day and the rest as locals. Then it will be more than a novelty.
    Long term they have to work out the track issues to be able to bring the train to a constant speed of 60 mph and eventually 79 mph. Currently the average speed is 45 mph. The Heartland Flyer averages 75 mph in Oklahoma and 59 mph in Texas.

    Three things that need to be worked out in the short term:
    1. Extend the trains to OKC Santa Fe Depot and Tulsa Union Station
    2. Offer Express Service between those two stations 4x a day (morning/evening both eastbound/westbound)
    3. Offer Local Service twice a day (eastbound/westbound) serving Midwest City, Stroud, Bristow and Sapulpa


  14. #14

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

    I know this is an old gripe, but here it is anyway. The line from Tulsa to Oklahoma City used to go directly to Union Station. Of couse that's when Union Station had a yard. Better stop now. The bile is churning.

    It would be nice to connect OKC with Wichita and Newton. Then I could take the train to Wrigley and watch the Cubs without needing to go via Dallas. Remember the 70s when if you you wanted to fly anywhere you practically had to go through Dallas? Well, that's the train situation for OKC now. Until about 1963, you could take the Frisco from OKC to Tulsa and on to St. Louis. That would connect us to the rest of the world. I know that would take a lot of work. I can only imagine the scenery. Sure, you can drive it in less time but some of us aren't always in a huge hurry. We make an occasional run to San Antonio on the train. Yes, it takes all day but it's nice to arrive relaxed. Well, I've rambled enough. If you've never ridden the train, try it out.

  15. #15

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

    Is that the rail line that crosses the river just south of the Boathouse District? So any train from Tulsa would have to backtrack up to Santa Fe Depot, while Ft-Worth-Kansas trains would run straight through.

  16. #16

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

    It is indeed. From St Louis it would need to back track to get to the Santa Fe station; to get to Union Station, (as in 1950s and 1960s when it went on to Lawton passing about 2-3 miles from the airport) no it would not. Sadly, it will never happen again.

  17. #17

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

    There is another route through the north Bricktown area - the Stillwater Central interchanges with the Union Pacific RR east of Bricktown and there was a connection to the Santa Fe Station years ago. The north leg of the wye track is the trestle that runs behind the Clark Building. Preservation of the southern leg right of way is the reason for opposing the garage proposal by Mr Karchmer. You can see path of this leg between the angled buildings in the upper left of the map. A new trestle will be required of course and I think structured parking in the large lot will be built before this becomes reality. But in the interim, it should be possible to build a temporary station in the north Bricktown area once trackage rights are negotiated with UP from MWC to Bricktown.


  18. #18

  19. #19

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


  20. #20

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

    The tickets cost far more than a car trip, the train goes only 45 mph so it takes more than twice as long and only goes from Sapulpa to El Reno.

    This is designed to fail so the state doesn't have to spend anything on rail service to Tulsa. It's been another bad ODOT joke from the start.

  21. #21

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Swake View Post
    The tickets cost far more than a car trip, the train goes only 45 mph so it takes more than twice as long and only goes from Sapulpa to El Reno.

    This is designed to fail so the state doesn't have to spend anything on rail service to Tulsa. It's been another bad ODOT joke from the start.
    Have prices been released?

  22. #22

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Swake View Post
    The tickets cost far more than a car trip, the train goes only 45 mph so it takes more than twice as long and only goes from Sapulpa to El Reno.
    El Reno?

  23. #23

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

    It would be a lot better if they can eventually get access to OKC Santa Fe and Tulsa Union stations, even with the 45 mph speeds. The next step should be track improvements to have higher speeds and more frequent train service but would a private company make those investments?

    Ideally there would be at least 3 trains a day each way between downtown OKC and Tulsa: morning, afternoon and evening. Also the morning and evening trains should be express trains that go direct from OKC to Tulsa and back, while the afternoon train would be local stopping in Midwest City, Stroud, Bristow and Sapulpa.


  24. #24

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

    Quote Originally Posted by rezman View Post
    El Reno?
    Sorry, Midwest City. My sister in law works in El Reno and I guess I got confused.

  25. #25

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

    Not sure if it was posted, but there was a building permit for a structure to be built in the location below, for the Midwest City rail station for the OKC-Tulsa train. Technically in OKC city limits.


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