Amtrak to expand Heartland Flyer route

Friday, May 30th 2008, 10:23 pm
By: News 9

By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

PAULS VALLEY, Okla. -- It seems that the Heartland Flyer is here to stay, and that has The Northern Flyer Alliance thinking about expanding the state's only passenger train north. This weekend is the beginning of a grass roots campaign to build support.

Waiting at the station Friday morning was the Ramirez family from Ada, off to Ft. Worth.

"This is my first time riding the train," Ada resident Mary Ramirez said. "I'm excited, getting ready to see all the scenery and everything."

Currently the Flyer runs between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth. The Northern Flyer Alliance wants to expand the train's route to Newton, Kan., to allow passengers to reach trains going to Kansas City.

"By expanding the train to Kansas City, you will open up the entire Amtrak network that spans 46 states, 500 stops, over 22,000 miles of Amtrak route structures," Evan Stair with the Northern Flyer Alliance said.

The Alliance will hold its public meeting to drum up support for northern expansion at the Pauls Valley Library Saturday morning.

"Transportation officials from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas will be meeting in Pauls Valley simply because Pauls Valley is the most centrally located city for this meeting to be held," Della Wilson with the Pauls Valley Chamber of Commerce said.

The expansion to Kansas has the approval of at least one Amtrak passenger.

"It would be ideal and convenient for us to travel to Kansas instead of driving," Ada resident Felix Ramirez said.

The OKC council is in favor of the northern expansion, but a Tulsa city council member is opposed.