Amtrak

Adam Moss / Flickr Creative Commons

Amtrak service is returning to Wichita for the first time since 1979. The company has announced new bus routes to both Newton and Oklahoma City.

According to Amtrak, the last time one of their trains had direct service to Wichita was in 1979, when the Lone Star route traveled from Houston to Chicago. Those hoping for train service to come back will have to settle for a bus.

The company announced two bus routes will connect Wichita to the Southwest Chief train, which rolls through Newton, and the Heartland Flyer, which goes through Oklahoma City.

National Transportation Safety Board

A truck that ran into a section of BNSF Railway track, deflecting the track up to 14 inches, may be a cause of the Amtrak derailment that happened near Dodge City early Monday.

  

From the AP:

A truck used to deliver feed to a business where cattle are fattened hit the train track and shifted it at least a foot before an Amtrak train derailed in southwest Kansas and injured at least 32 people, an investigator said.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board say an agricultural truck collided with railroad tracks near Cimarron, Kan., prior to an Amtrak train derailing in the same area.

Sean Sandefur / KMUW

An Amtrak train carrying more than 140 people derailed near Dodge City early Monday morning. The train was traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago. As KMUW’s Sean Sandefur reports, at least 30 people were injured.

Jack Snell, flickr Creative Commons

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Amtrak routes across Kansas and Missouri could keep running under a tentative agreement reached in a dispute over federally required safety systems, officials said Monday.

The rail passenger service had warned it might stop or reroute its Southwest Chief line through Kansas and to end its River Runner service between Kansas City and St. Louis because of disagreements over who would pay to install safety technology designed to prevent traffic accidents caused by human error. The disagreement centered on lines used to route trains through the Kansas City area.

A group of Emporia residents is trying to raise funds for an impact study in the hopes of bringing Amtrak back to Emporia.

Members of the Emporia Amtrak Task Force have been talking to Amtrak and BNSF railroad staff, as well as Emporia State University and community leaders.

BNSF owns the tracks on which Amtrak's Southwest Chief runs.

New Mexico will study whether to help pay part of the cost of keeping Amtrak's Southwest Chief on its current route.

A state budget allocates $50,000 to the Legislative Council Service to study a proposal by Amtrak for New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas to share the costs of maintaining and improving tracks through their states.

John Yaeger of the Legislative Council Service said legal issues will be considered as well as the costs and economic benefits of the proposal.

New Mexico's legislature closed its session without making any commitment to fund the state's share of costs to keep Amtrak's Southwest Chief on its current route.

The session ended Thursday with none of the five bills seeking ways to maintain the passenger train line passing.

Amtrak has proposed that New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas all chip in to improve and maintain more than 600 miles of track through their states.

The company says the Southwest Chief's route might change otherwise, causing some communities to lose passenger service.

Wikipedia

Officials want to hear from you about the effect that passenger rail service will have in Wichita.

The Wichita Public Library is hosting a Brown Bag Lunch discussion on the issue at its central location on August 27 at noon, in coordination with the League of Women Voters - Wichita Metro.

Vice Mayor Pete Meitzner will speak. Meitzner is leading Wichita's efforts to enhance transportation.

www.Kancoll.org

Wichita passenger rail supporters will get a jump on National Train Day this Friday during a press conference at Union Station building in Wichita.

Though National Train Day is on Saturday, organizers say the 4 p.m. press conference on Friday will provide "significant updates" on passenger rail advocacy in Kansas. Wichita officials say they'll release a major statement regarding rail.

Vice Mayor Pete Meitzner will lead the event; local business representatives who serve on his local Steering Committee will join him.