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Rail News: Amtrak

CP agrees to back Amtrak expansion plans

The Amtrak Connects US plan calls for expanding the Hiawatha route between Chicago and Milwaukee, which operates on a CP-owned rail line.
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Canadian Pacific has agreed to back Amtrak's efforts to work with other states and stakeholders on its plan to expand and enhance intercity passenger-rail service in several locations, according to Amtrak's final brief on the proposed merger between CP and Kansas City Southern.

Amtrak was one of numerous parties that submitted briefs last week to the Surface Transportation Board, which is considering whether to approve the proposed CP-KCS merger. Amtrak is asking the STB to approve the merger on the condition that CP follows through with a number of commitments made to Amtrak.

In its brief, Amtrak describes CP as a "reliable partner in working with Amtrak to provide safe, efficient and effective passenger-rail services." CP has committed to Amtrak that the merger would not cause Amtrak trains to operate below on-time performance standards on CP-KCS lines, Amtrak's brief states. 

CP also agreed to allow Amtrak to add additional or new service:

• on the CP-owned portion of the Hiawatha route between Chicago and Milwaukee;

• between Chicago and Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, on lines owned by CP; 

• between New Orleans (IC Junction) and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on a KCS line; and 

• via CP's Detroit River Tunnel between Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, to connect with VIA Rail Canada.

In addition, CP has agreed to participate in a joint study including Amtrak, Norfolk Southern Railway, Union Pacific Railroad and certain government agencies with the goal of introducing Amtrak service between Dallas, Texas, and Meridian, Mississippi, according to the Amtrak brief.

Last year, Amtrak rolled out a national plan to expand or enhance passenger-rail service on existing lines or add service in new rail corridors. To implement Amtrak's "Connects US" plan, the passenger railroad must secure the  cooperation of Class Is like CP that host Amtrak trains outside of the Northeast Corridor.

Also in its brief on the CP-KCS merger, Amtrak said it opposes CN's request that the STB condition approval of the CP-KCS merger on the divestiture of a KCS rail line between East St. Louis, Illinois, and Kansas City, Missouri. That condition would not be in the public's interest, "given the adverse effect on passenger-rail service in the region."

Click here to read Amtrak's entire final brief to the STB.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/25/2022