Amtrak test train draws crowds in the heartland

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The test train stops at Wichita to allow dignitaries off and on. About 200 people gathered to greet the train, including local newspaper and TV media.
Mike Martin
WICHITA, Kan. – Amtrak's Heartland Flyer extension test train brought crowds trackside along the Oklahoma City to Kansas City route on Friday. The train ran from the former Santa Fe station in Oklahoma City, departing at 7:45 a.m., and terminated at Kansas City Union Station at 5:30 p.m. Stops included Guthrie, Perry, and Ponca City in Oklahoma, and Arkansas City, Wichita, Newton, Emporia, and Topeka in Kansas.

The train included, in order:
  • GE P40 locomotive No. 822,
  • Heritage sleeper Pacific Bend, No. 10020, originally a 10-6 sleeper built by Budd for Union Pacific in 1950,
  • Viewliner sleeper New River, No. 62043, built by Morrison Knudsen/Amerail in the mid 1990s,
  • Dome-lounge Ocean View, No. 10031, built for Great Northern by Budd in 1955, and
  • Inspection car American View, No. 10004, built by Budd as one of the Viewliner prototypes in 1994.
Host BNSF Railway assigned the train a A-952-09 symbol.

Local passenger rail advocates desire to extend the state-supported Fort Worth-Oklahoma City Heartland Flyer north, either to a Southwest Chief connection at Newton or direction to Kansas City. Amtrak and BNSF officials were on board to explain the route and improvement items to local and state officials and members of the media. The last Amtrak train service north of Oklahoma City on this route, known as the Lone Star, ended in 1979. In 2016, Amtrak began bus shuttle service between Newton and Oklahoma City.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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