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RememberSchiff

Amtrak ending Southwest Chief through service?

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Posted (edited)

 The Southwest Chief runs daily between Chicago and Los Angeles and connects towns and cities in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and California. Every summer,  the Southwest Chief transports thousands of Boy Scouts from across the country to Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, N.M., generating economic activity for businesses in these rural areas along the way.

During a meeting in June between Amtrak’s CEO and a small congressional delegation that included Kansas’ two senators, it was revealed that the train operator is exploring ending passenger train service between Dodge City and Albuquerque, and implementing a bus connection on the route instead.

The communities that would lose rail service if the bus service began at Dodge City would include Garden City; Lamar, La Junta and Trinidad, Colo.; Raton, Las Vegas and Lamy, N.M.

The proposal did not go over well with any of the lawmakers at the meeting, who had called the meeting to ask Amtrak to stand behind agreements it had previously made to upgrade and maintain its route through the south-central U.S.

http://themercury.com/amtrak-exploring-ending-southwest-chief-through-service/article_b38918f6-bbe3-5428-b3d7-257487adeec3.html

http://www.krwg.org/post/heinrich-calls-amtrak-uphold-commitment-long-distance-rail-service-southwest-chief

Edited by RememberSchiff

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I used to work for Amtrak, and it has always been the under funded barely-making-it-by railroad. Especially the long distance routes outside the Northeast that seem to always be in the red.

That being said, I am confident that something can be worked out. BNSF does not operate freight trains over that portion of track, only operating it for Amtrak out of the "goodness of their heart" and because they were obligated to do so. Some state money will probably come into play to keep it open.

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About 10 years ago, a local  private freight/sight-seeing line passed a state park. We inquired if they could transport the troop and make a stop in the park. An idea became an adventure that we still talk about. A couple years later, the line went bankrupt.  Later, the state came in with a Rails to Trails program. 

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I’m also an admin at www.railroad.net. At this time, Amtrak has not posted any discontinuance notices on its long distance service. 

All the long distance trains are at some degree of risk; Amtrak generally wants to operate trains under 750 miles. 

For now, I’d operate as we are taught in Wood Badge:  Have a plan B to get your trek to the Ranch.  You should anyway.  Earlier this summer, a wreck shut down service from Chicago to Kansas City. The SW Chief turned eastward to westward here as a consequence. 

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This is always a big question mark for me. I always choose the train if I can. It is comfortable, relaxing, "knee room" a-plenty.  Every time I have taken a train somewhere, it has been , to my eye, fully loaded, at capacity.

In my experience in Europe, the trains are THE way to travel between cities.  Are they nationally subsidized? Absolutely.  Asphalt roads are subsidized.  Airports are built with public money,  why not the rails?   

 

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