Could a new passenger train be chugging your way? Potential new Oklahoma routes identified
Oklahoma could be on track for more passenger trains after a federal study on how to expand America’s passenger rail system identified several potential routes in the state.
Congress created Amtrak in 1971 to provide passenger rail service between the nation’s biggest cities. Its rail network has shrunk over the ensuing fifty years, leaving Oklahoma with only one passenger rail route: the Heartland Flyer from OKC to Fort Worth.
Now, the federal government is considering restoring and enhancing the country’s passenger rail availability. Using money from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) conducted a study on where to put future passenger rail routes and released its findings last month.
Lines connecting Oklahoma City with Tulsa and Wichita made the study’s short list of potential future routes. So did connections from Tulsa to Kansas City, St. Louis and Fort Worth.
Earlier this year, the Oklahoma and Kansas Departments of Transportation jointly requested the FRA consider the route from Oklahoma City to just north of Wichita. Amtrak projected that extension of the existing Heartland Flyer line would generate almost $65 million in revenue each year.
The public can submit comments on that list before the FRA finalizes its route recommendations early next year and begins exploring funding and implementation.