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St. Louis-to-Springfield service not financially viable, Amtrak says

The obstacles to operating intercity passenger-rail service between St. Louis and Springfield, Mo., outweigh the benefits, according to a report Amtrak recently completed at the request of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).

Amtrak estimated travel times along the 235-mile corridor at about six hours — nearly double driving time primarily because of slow track speeds on the BNSF Railway Co.-owned line. As a result, the route would attract only 34,000 passengers and generate $700,000 in ticket revenue annually, Amtrak estimates.

In addition, Amtrak and the state of Missouri would have to invest millions of dollars to build a track connection and construct stations. It would cost $4.1 million annually to provide the service; the initial annual state contract would total about $3.4 million.

But Amtrak had some good news for MoDOT. Last week, the railroad resumed regular service on its Kansas City-to-St. Louis route. Amtrak experienced delays and cancellations since May 8, when Union Pacific Railroad began operating heavy traffic volumes over the line because its normal Missouri route had been damaged by floods.

Amtrak provides two daily round trips between Kansas City and St. Louis.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/29/2007