Arcadia Valley, Missouri, is eyeing a Nov. 18 date to become a regular stop for the Texas Eagle.
Although the station facilities there need to pass an inspection, city officials are optimistic that the start of service is less than a month away.
Carol Kelsheimer, president of Our Town Tomorrow, said complying with those standards has been costly. She noted that one Amtrak sign alone costs $1,900
“It’s hard to have a budget when every time you turn around, somebody else comes in and says, ‘OK, you’ve got to have three instead of two and that’s another $2,000.’ Another thing we want to do, but we may have to wait on because of the cost is resealing the parking lot, adding some more parking in front of the caboose and striping,” Kelsheimer said.
Kelsheimer said officials hope to have a grand opening on Nov. 18 to mark the arrival of the first Eagle at 10:30 p.m.
The train to San Antonio is expected to arrive in Arcadia Valley at 10:30 p.m. while its Chicago-bound counterpart is expected to arrive between 4:30 and 5 a.m.
The Texas Eagle has other stops in Missouri at St. Louis and Poplar Bluff.
Kelsheimer said a group of railroad enthusiasts from St. Louis is expected to ride the first train to stop in Arcadia Valley. The group will return to St. Louis by bus after touring the museum in Arcadia.
The coming of Amtrak is expected to spur economic development.
“We’ve just had the Iron Mule restaurant open over the weekend and then we’ve got another restaurant that we just signed a contract with,” said Sandy Francis, director of Partnership Development for Iron County Economic Partnership. “We have one company — they haven’t actually submitted their bid yet — but they’re going to be working on getting a rental car agency that we need here.”
Francis said residents of nearby Fredericktown and Farmington are excited about the Amtrak stop getting started.
Kelsheimer said a local businessman in town has a shuttle service and he plans to serve the Amtrak station for a year by taking people to local motels and then bringing them back.
“He’s also opened up a tour company and he’s already set up a website and I think he has maybe four tours planned. One is a battle tour and one is a wine tour that takes you to Caledonia and back. One of Elephant Rocks State Park and one that’s just a general Arcadia Valley tour that takes in a lot of the historic sites downtown,” she said.
Arcadia Valley has been working for five years to get the Amtrak stop established.