Emporia Wants to Be S.W. Chief Stop Again

A Kansas community that lost Amtrak service in 1997 is seeking to get it back.

Emporia, Kansas, was a stop for the Chicago-Houston Lone Star until that train ended in October 1979 and then for the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

Amtrak Southwest Chief 2Now Emporia officials are working to lure Amtrak back, saying they have the support to get that done.

Andrew McHenry, the pastor at the First Congregational Church and a rail passenger advocate, said re-establishing the Amtrak stop would benefit the city’s tourism efforts as well as Emporia State University.

He said that Amtrak for the past five years has shown interest in stopping again in Emporia.

An ad hoc task force formed in 2011 has been studying how to bring Amtrak back, but it believes that a city committee needs to take on that responsibility.

McHenry said the goal of the task force has been to establish a station in downtown Emporia, but the depot may have to go be located in Whittier Park because of lower BNSF traffic on the line to Topeka.

The Emporia task force has also been pushing for an extension of the Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma City northward into Kansas, possibly as far as Kansas City. The southern terminal of the Flyer is Fort Worth, Texas.

McHenry said having the Southwest Chief serve Emporia would be good as standalone service or as a possible precursor to the extension of the Flyer.


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