close
close

Latest Post

Stockbridge, West Stockbridge and Richmond explore joint emergency and fire services Springfield’s 11th Annual Jazz and Roots Festival Begins

An Amtrak route through Springfield is one of the options presented in a final report by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) outlining its vision for future rail coverage across the country.

As part of a study of Amtrak’s daily long-distance service that resulted from the bipartisan infrastructure bill of 2021, the FRA examined several daily long-distance routes, including some that were previously discontinued, those that do not operate daily, and entirely new routes—Springfield is mentioned here. The study is conceptual, not a service proposal.

Springfield is one of the stops on a proposed route that would connect Dallas/Fort Worth to New York via Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh. According to a presentation at the study’s final meeting in June, the proposed route would be 1,900 miles (3,077 kilometers) long and the entire trip would take about 44 hours. The conceptual service outline for the route shows the train arriving in Springfield at night between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The study shows that this route would reach 5.8 million people, including 630,000 people in rural areas with transport disadvantages.

How quickly could Springfield begin mass transit?

Implementing this vision would be both costly and time-consuming. The entire line is estimated to cost $4.5 billion to $5.9 billion to build, and annual operating costs will be an additional $98 million to $138 million.

“If they were to be developed further, it would take many years and would require significant involvement from numerous stakeholders and significant public investment,” FRA spokesman William Wong said by email. “The study is intended to provide a range of potential options for what could happen in the future, not necessarily what will happen.”

The Dallas/Fort Worth to New York route received one of the highest priorities for implementation out of the 14 preferred routes evaluated on complexity, benefits and costs. It is one of the longest routes proposed, but also the second most expensive. According to the study, further analysis and identification of funding opportunities would be needed to move the route forward.

More: Here you can find out everything you need to know about MoDOT’s planned Amtrak extension to Springfield and Branson

Local politicians also find the proposal valuable. At Monday night’s Springfield City Council meeting, Councilman Craig Hosmer suggested that the city express its support for bringing Amtrak to Springfield. By consensus, the City Council directed staff to draft a letter formally expressing support for future Amtrak plans to those who could influence the process.

FRA will complete the study and submit a final report to Congress later this year. After that, the study will serve as a resource for future passenger rail planning. Additional proposed routes and information from previous FRA meetings can be found on the Long Distance Rail Study website at www.fralongdistancerailstudy.org.

This is not the first attempt to connect Springfield to the national rail network. In the fall, the Missouri Department of Transportation applied to create a new corridor from Kansas City to Springfield and Branson as part of the Corridor Identification and Development Program, but the project was not selected for a grant that could have provided up to $500,000 to develop the plans.

Springfield has not had passenger rail service since 1967, when the Frisco Meteor train ceased service.

Marta Mieze covers local politics for the News-Leader. Do you have feedback, tips or story ideas? Contact her at [email protected].