Regional Leaders Call for Expanded Amtrak Service

City leaders and transportation officials met to discuss their wish lists for intercity rail service.

1 minute read

April 12, 2023, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

An Amtrak passenger train is shown on a spring day, rolling through a rural area in Missouri.

Focused Adventures / Shutterstock

A report summarizing the results of regional meetings led by the Federal Railroad Administration bringing together city and state transportation officials and other stakeholders calls for more expansive and frequent train service around the country.

According to an article by Dan Zukowski in Smart Cities Dive, “The meetings, held in Chicago; Denver; Jackson, Mississippi; and Washington, D.C., focused on the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Central, Northwest and Southwest.” Each region outlined its most pressing needs, from expanding service to communities lacking it to building connectivity with other transit and increasing frequency on existing lines.

At present, “Amtrak operates 15 long-distance trains, which it defines as those on routes over 750 miles. These trains serve nearly half the railroad’s more than 500 train stations — many in communities without intercity air or bus service — and carried 3.5 million passengers in 2022.”

Different regions had varying priorities, but service to rural and remote communities, improved station facilities and connectivity, and more frequent service were at the top of the list in most regions. Some areas also expressed interest in creating more rail access and connections to national parks and other tourism hubs.

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