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Ideas to improve Amtrak and train travel in the Midwest and elsewhere.

Suggestions for improving East-Midwest and North-South routes and connectivity.

      Proposal to restructure Texas Eagle & expand Heartland Flyer

While new route suggestions might seem to come from a distant galaxy at this time in Amtrak's continuing funding crisis, ideas and new ways of doing things should never be put to bed. Imaginative thinking and thinking "outside of the box," as the cliché' goes, breeds innovation. Besides, if people only do things the way they've always been done, nothing will get done.

The following concerns restoring the Texas Chief/ Lone Star route, one of Amtrak's most patronized long-distance trains during the 1970s, which ran from Chicago-Kansas City-Topeka-Wichita-Oklahoma City- Fort Worth/Dallas-Houston.

With little additional equipment, the Heartland Flyer,  a stub end service running only four or so hours from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, could be extended northward to Newton, Kan., north of Wichita, to provide passengers direct connection to Amtrak's popular east-west Southwest Chieftrain, which runs from Chicago to Los Angeles via Kansas City and Albuquerque.

Improving the Texas Eagle
The following proposal shows what type of investment could be made to improve that service and add more passengers from Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and points beyond

 Amtrak should also seriously consider restructuring gthe Texas Eagle and provide a more direct and less circuitous routing from Chicago to the second largest U.S. state. This proposal shows improvements that can be made by extending the Heartland Flyer from Fort Worth to San Antonio, and from Oklahoma City to Chicago, via Kansas City.

In another proposal, from a Texas-based transportation consultant, extends the successful Heartland Flyer,, which runs Oklahoma City to Fort Worth, to northern cities and restores a long-needed north-south line running from the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/ St. Paul)  to Kansas City, Wichita, Oklahoma City, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio.

The popular Oklahoma route was discontinued purely for political reasons during the "Carter bloodbath" of 1979 when Brock Adams, President Carter's transportation secretary, ordered a severe Amtrak budget cut.

The following proposal restores only the Lone Star/ Texas Chief route, Kansas City - Fort Worth. The proposal has a needed overnight train running from Chicago to Kansas City and proceeding through Kansas during daylight hours to Oklahoma City, arriving Fort Worth late evening. Northward, the train leaves Fort Worth in the morning, arriving Oklahoma City mid-day, Kansas City, late evening, Chicago, next morning.

This idea could add needed second frequencies to the Heartland Flyer, which departs Oklahoma City early morning, arriving Fort Worth early afternoon.

Northward, the Heartland Flyer leaves Fort Worth 5 p.m., arriving Oklahoma City late evening. Perhaps this should be a first step to returning the needed north-south connectivity.

Among the many benefits of the proposal is the service provides DAYLIGHT rail service to Kansas, and its biggest city, Wichita. Kansas' only passenger train, the successful Southwest Chief, travels through the Sunflower State mostly in the wee hours of the morning.

 The Carter Bloodbath - the worst cut in Amtrak history - discontinued nearly a half-dozen other prominent trains, including the National Limited, which ran New York/Washington - Philadelphia - Pittsburgh - Columbus, Ohio - Indianapolis - St. Louis -Kansas City with through car connections to the Southwest Limited (now Southwest Chief) in Kansas City, as well as Chicago-Nashville-Florida, also fell to the ever-falling (when it comes to Amtrak funding) budget ax .

This proposal, for service from Washington D.C. to Cincinnati, St. Louis, Little Rock, Dallas and beyond, improves the current Cardinal route and restores a partial National Limited, tying it in with the current Texas Eagle, which runs Chicago-St. Louis - Dallas - Fort Worth - Austin - San Antonio.

The Webmaster's personal preference would be to keep the current Cardinal, which runs Chicago - Washington D.C. via Cincinnati, but add this route as an adjunct, since the proposed schedule would cut the fantastic scenery between Washington D.C. and Cincinnati.

Other improvement ideas- Making Newton, Kan., a rail hub for Kansas City to Oklahoma and Texas service


More great ideas for improving Amtrak - for adjusting equipment utilization to marketing.
Suggestions for restructuring Amtrak's western routes

More proposals - including those from the United Rail Passenger Association, will be posted to the MOKSRail Web site in the future. They are worth your consideration.
Ideas for expanding Amtrak's Auto-Train service


Summary of improvement ideas:      
Equipment needed to extend Heartland Flyer north from Oklahoma City to Wichita and Newton, Kan.      
Ideas on improving the Texas Eagle; extend Heartland Flyer to San Antonio, Eagle to El Paso & westward      
A Minneapolis-St. Paul - Kansas City - Oklahoma City - Fort Worth - San Antonio plan      
Plan to expand Amtrak's Fort Worth (Dallas) hub via a Chicago-Kansas City-Oklahoma City-Fort Worth train.      
Washington D.C. to Cincinnati, St. Louis, Little Rock, Dallas and beyond service      


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