August 4, 2016 -

Heralded by the blast of a train whistle and the screech of brakes, Amtrak’s chief executive made a stop in Newton on Thursday to celebrate the salvation of the town’s passenger rail service and talk about possible extension to Wichita.

The visit was part of Amtrak President and CEO Joe Boardman’s whistle-stop tour to celebrate the saving of the Southwest Chief, the Los Angeles to Chicago route with stops in Garden City, Dodge City, Hutchinson, Newton, Emporia, Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City.

 “The Southwest Chief is a critical link, I think, for passenger rail,” Boardman said. “We’ve made the investment along with BNSF (the railroad that owns the tracks) and the federal government, about $40 million, something that was important to this community and important to all the communities in Kansas.”

Now instead of talking about shutting down the route, Amtrak is hoping to make new connections, including possibly restoring rail service from Newton through Wichita to link up with Oklahoma and Texas trains.
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