May 23, 2021 - TRA Newswire -

Amtrak officials this past week explained their vision to extend the daily Heartland Flyer, which now runs from Fort Worth to Oklahoma City, northward to Kansas connections.

Amtrak Government Affairs spokesmen Derrick James of Chicago and Todd Stennis of New Orleans were on a virtual town meeting as the guest speakers along with over 20 elected officials from Oklahoma and Kansas.

The virtual town hall, hosted by the Northern Flyer Alliance (NFA) talked about the future of the Heartland Flyer passenger train and the plan to extend the route north into Kansas to connect with the national Southwest Chief route.

You can watch a replay of the meeting on YouTube.

The NFA has also created a landing page with contact information for each of the elected officials in the three states as well as a sample email message.  You can find that page here. The NFA is urging interested parties to contact your representatives in DC and tell them that you support increased service on the Flyer and the extension north to Newton, Kansas. At present there is only a single service that leaves Fort Worth in the late afternoon and an Oklahoma City return that leaves the capital city in the morning. Derrick James from Amtrak indicated that the railroad would like to see three daily round-trips which would mean more connectivity to towns along the route and the ability to have a same day return.

Besides Fort Worth, the Flyer serves Gainesville in Texas and four other Oklahoma stops including the University of Oklahoma at Norman.

The Heartland Flyer, now in its third decade of operation, is underwritten by the Oklahoma and Texas Departments of Transportation. The Kansas Senate passed a resolution of support for the Heartland Flyer extension last year and the Kansas Department of Transportation has included the train service in its FORWARD Kansas transportation plan.

The NFA is a coalition of 49 cities, six counties, and 19 Chambers of Commerce along the I-35 corridor that have joined together to promote passenger rail service in their communities.