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FRA seeks input on study of Amtrak long-distance service

Required by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, the study is examining Amtrak long-distance routes.
Photo – FRA study website/Amtrak


The Federal Railroad Administration is seeking input on 15 proposed new long-distance Amtrak routes as part of its long-range study of the passenger-rail service.

Last week, the FRA identified its preferred routes after wrapping up the third in a series of regional workshops involving state transportation officials, passenger-rail advocates and other stakeholders as part of the administration’s study to create a vision for future long-distance rail and identify capital projects needed to implement the vision.

Required by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, the study is examining Amtrak long-distance routes that were discontinued over the years; Amtrak long-distance routes that occur on a nondaily basis; and potential new routes.

The project has the potential for doubling the long-distance network with 15 new routes, Rail Passengers Association (RPA) President and CEO Jim Mathews said last week in his blog.

"For the first time since Amtrak was created, there's now a comprehensive arms-length federally led study process underway to add service rather than to terminate it," wrote Mathews. The RPA is participating in the study process.

Following each workshop, the FRA has solicited comments on its study so far. The current comment period is open through March 8.

According to RPA, the FRA identified the following of its preferred long-distance route selections that will be considered as part of the study:
• Chicago to Miami, via Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa;
• Dallas/Fort Worth to Miami, via Marshall, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Pensacola, Tallahassee and Jacksonville;
• Denver to Houston, via Trinidad, Amarillo and Dallas/Fort Worth;
• Los Angeles to Denver, via Barstow, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Cheyenne;
• Phoenix to Minneapolis/St. Paul, via Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Amarillo, Newton, Kansas City, Omaha and Sioux Falls;
• Dallas/Fort Worth to New York, via Oklahoma City, Tulsa, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus and Pittsburgh;
• Houston to New York, via New Orleans, Mobile, Montgomery, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Roanoke, Lynchburg, Lorton, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia;
• Seattle to Denver, via Portland, Boise, Pocatello, Salt Lake City and Grand Junction;
• San Antonio to Minneapolis/St. Paul, via Dallas/Fort Worth, Tulsa, Kansas City and Des Moines;
• San Francisco to Dallas/Fort Worth, via Merced, Bakersfield, Barstow, Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso and Midland;
• Detroit to New Orleans, via Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nashville, Montgomery and Mobile;
• Denver to Minneapolis/St. Paul, via Cheyenne, Pierre and Sioux Falls;
• Seattle to Chicago, via Yakima, Kennewick, Spokane, Sandpoint, Helena, Billings, Bismarck and Fargo;
• Dallas/Fort Worth to Atlanta, via Marshall, Jackson, Meridian and Birmingham; and
• El Paso to Billings, via Albuquerque, Trinidad, Denver, Cheyenne and Casper.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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