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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Kan. trio to join talks on future of Amtrak line

  • GARDEN CITY—Three southwest Kansas community leaders will join their counterparts from Colorado and New Mexico next week in a meeting with national railroad officials to look for ways to save an Amtrak route that runs through Kansas and Colorado.Deteriorating track conditions in south-central and southwest Kansa...
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  • GARDEN CITY—Three southwest Kansas community leaders will join their counterparts from Colorado and New Mexico next week in a meeting with national railroad officials to look for ways to save an Amtrak route that runs through Kansas and Colorado.
    Deteriorating track conditions in south-central and southwest Kansas are forcing the Southwest Chief, which runs through the state between Chicago and Los Angeles, to slow down in Kansas, The Hutchinson News reported.
    Amtrak has indicated it will reroute the Southwest Chief when its contract with BNSF Railway expires in 2015 if the tracks aren't upgraded.
    Kansas state Rep. John Doll of Garden City, Garden City Commissioner Janet Doll and Dodge City Mayor Kent Smoll are expected to represent Kansas at the Sept. 14 meeting in Pueblo, Colo.
    Ray Lang from Amtrak's office in Chicago and Ross Capon from the National Association of Railroad Passengers in Washington, D.C., also will attend the meeting, which is being sponsored by the Colorado Rail Passenger Association.
    The steel rails of the tracks are starting to sag across Kansas, causing a rocking motion in the train if it passes over too fast.
    BNSF owns the track and maintains the rail only to a level required for 30- to 40-mph freight traffic. Under its contract with BNSF, Amtrak is required to pay for any maintenance or improvements for higher speeds, and starting in 2016 Amtrak will be required to pay for the full cost of maintaining the route.
    Amtrak has warned that without a commitment by the end of 2014 to help make repairs and maintain the route, it will reroute the Southwest Chief through Oklahoma and Texas.
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