Amtrak has been asked by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to identify what would be needed to provide state-sponsored rail service between Kansas City, Mo., and Oklahoma City, via Newton, Kan.
The study will include a connection between the Southwest Chief and an extended Heartland Flyer at Newton; a further extension of the Heartland Flyer to Kansas City; or another new service.
Additionally, the study will consider potential schedules and existing Amtrak stations, as well as railcar and locomotive availability among other startup costs. It will also consider the capital needs for rail improvements to accommodate passenger service and increase capacity for greater freight movement on tracks owned by BNSF Railway.
KDOT has received a number of letter and petitions expressing support for the expansion, according to Amtrak. The cost of the KDOT-funded study is expected to range between $150,000 and $200,000. Amtrak expects to begin the study in mid to late summer and complete it by the third quarter of 2009.