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Amtrak To Conduct Study On Expanding Passenger Rail Service To Wichita, Newton

Jack Snell, flickr Creative Commons

Amtrak is moving ahead on a feasibility study regarding the possible extension of the Heartland Flyer route.

The Kansas Department of Transportation made the announcement late Friday in a statement released by the city of Wichita.

If the route is expanded, it would connect train service in Texas and Oklahoma City to Wichita and Newton, which is already a stop on the Southwest Chief route from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Wichita City Council member Pete Meitzner testified before the Kansas Senate Ways & Means Committee last week and then joined state and Amtrak officials to announce the feasibility study, the release said.

Meitzner is a long-time advocate of expanding passenger rail service through Wichita. The city has not had passenger rail service since 1979.?

The study by Amtrak will include revenue and ridership estimates. The Oklahoma and Texas transportation departments have pushed for the study for years while awaiting approval from KDOT, the release said.

A timeline for the study is not yet known.

Advocates of expansion say it will lead to economic development opportunities and growth along the Heartland Flyer corridor.


Tom Shine is KMUW's director of news and public affairs. Follow him on Twitter @thomaspshine

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Tom joined KMUW in 2017 after spending 37 years with The Wichita Eagle where he held a variety of reporting and editing roles. He also is host of The Range, KMUW’s weekly show about where we live and the people who live here. Tom is a board member of the Public Media Journalists Association, serving as small station representative, a volunteer coach for League 42 and an adjunct instructor in the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University.