Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Arizona Group Pushing Brightline-Type Service

December 23, 2018

An Arizona rail passenger advocate group is renewing its push to launch service between between Phoenix and Tucson by looking toward the private sector.

All Aboard Arizona is hoping to drum up interest in a Brightline type of rail commuter service between the state’s two largest cities as an alternative to driving on Interstate 10.

The group said the proposed service would cost $6 billion to develop. Money to pay for that would have to come from the state’s general fund because the Arizona Constitution prohibits funds raised by fees or taxes on motor vehicles from being used for any use other than streets and highways.

However, Anthony Trifiletti, the executive director of AAE, said the political climate in the state is hostile toward using money from the general fund for rail service, hence the effort to entice Brightline into the state.

Brightline operates rail service in Florida and has announced plans to develop a route between Las Vegas and Southern California.

“Our goal is to become the next one that they have an interest in, because this is something that can be done without state money,” Trifiletti said.

Trifiletti said a dedicated rail service would make the trip between Phoenix and Tucson in two hours, 15 minutes, which he said is competitive with driving and “a lot less stressful.”

Brightline officials plan to visit Arizona next spring to determine interest in offering rail service there.

The last rail passenger service between Phoenix and Tucson was Amtrak’s tri-weekly Sunset Limited.

Nos. 1 and 2 continue to service Tucson on their trek between New Orleans and Los Angeles, but were rerouted away from Phoenix to a more southerly route on June 2, 1996.

Amtrak operates a Thruway bus route between Phoenix and Maricopa, Arizona, that also stops in Tempe, a Phoenix suburb that is home to Arizona State University, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

All Aboard Arizona has lobbied Amtrak to increase the frequency of the Sunset Limited to daily operation and to restore service to Phoenix.

The cost of upgrading the route between Maricopa and Phoenix has been estimated to be at least $500 million.

If Brightline were to show an interest in establishing service in Arizona, Tifiletti said it would take three years to get the trails rolling.

Grand Canyon Shuttle Ends at Williams Junction

January 2, 2018

Shuttle service between the Amtrak station at Williams Junction, Arizona, and the Grand Canyon ended with the coming of 2018.

The company providing the shuttle said it ended the service because it was becoming too much of a burden to offer, citing wear and tear on its vans due to the rough roads leading to the station.

Xanterra Parks and Resorts decided last year to stop the free shuttle service at Williams Junction.

Company spokesman Bruce Brossman said Amtrak’s inconsistent performance meant that passengers who arrived late at night or before dawn lingered in the hotel lobby at the Grand Canyon, which made guests and staff uncomfortable.

“We really think that it’s going to be a better experience for the train passengers to go to a real train depot in Flagstaff,” Brossman said.

Trace Ward, director of the Flagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the city has been working with Amtrak to let passengers know what’s open around their scheduled arrivals and departures.

Both Williams Junction and Flagstaff are served by the Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

Sunset Limited Phoenix Thruway Route Slated

April 24, 2017

Amtrak plans to launch a new Thruway bus service on May 1 that will link the Phoenix metropolitan area with the New Orleans-Los Angeles Sunset Limited.

The closest station to Phoenix served by Nos. 1 and 2 is Maricopa, Arizona.

The new Thruway service will be operated by Stagecoach Express and link Maricopa with Tempe, Phoenix Metro Transit Center and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

The Sunset Limited operates tri-weekly and also stops in Arizona at Tucson, Yuma and Benson.