NewsLocal News


Amtrak’s Southwest Chief among long-distance routes in line for improvements

Southwest Chief.jpg
Posted at 5:35 PM, Jun 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-05 18:35:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, which offers daily service between Chicago and Los Angeles with stops in Kansas City, is in line for improvements based on proposals announced Monday.

The nation’s only passenger rail service applied for more than $715 million in funding from the Federal Railroad Administration for a host of projects across the country, including several that would go toward long-distance services such as the Southwest Chief.

Under the proposal, the Southwest Chief line would undergo signal modernization on parts of the route that pass through Colorado and New Mexico.

Kansas City passengers heading west on the Southwest Chief can hop on board each night around 10 p.m. Eastbound passengers can hop on board each morning around 7:30 a.m.

The modernization could help improve the service’s on-time reliability.

“Whether it’s connecting communities from Raton, Las Vegas or Lamy, or bringing thousands of Scouts every summer to the Philmont Scout Ranch, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief is essential to New Mexico,” Sen. Martin Heinrich (D) said in Monday’s release. “Vital infrastructure investments like train signal modernization will go a long way toward ensuring the long-timer viability of this important long-distance passenger rail line so it will keep running for generations.”

Several other long-distance routes could see improvements in service and frequency. The Cardinal, which offers service between Chicago and Washington D.C. with stops in Indianapolis and Cincinnati, among others, will expand to daily service.

The Sunset Limited, which offers service between New Orleans and Los Angeles, will also increase to a daily service, as well as adding a stop in Phoenix along its route.

The Empire Builder and Crescent trains are other long-district routes set for enhancements. Amtrak is also planning additional projects along its Northeast Corridor.

“Amtrak’s long-distance routes are vital mobility and economic links for communities across the country and we’re continually working to enhance them,” Amtrak Board Chair Tony Coscia said Monday. “These grant applications reiterate our commitment to improving service for all Amtrak customers, from small, rural towns to major metropolitan areas.