Extend Heartland Flyer?

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railiner

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I was curious about the Heartland Flyer. I notice that Oklahoma (and Texas) help finance it. I wonder why Oklahoma doesn't extend it to Tulsa? If the schedule was adjusted a little, run an hour or so later southbound and an hour or so earlier northbound, it would serve Tulsa at a fairly reasonable time. I don't know how much it would entail to restore rail service on that route. I know it's never had Amtrak service, but the size and relative closeness of Tulsa to Oklahoma City seems to make it a 'natural'. What do you think?
 

the_traveler

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Part of the reason it had that schedule is so it connects with the TE both southbound and northbound. If it changed to 1 hour earlier or later, it would miss that connection. Plus, I think it operates with 1 trainset. If it does what you said, it would require 2.
 

railiner

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I don't have an old SLSF timetable to get running time from, but I would think two hours would be sufficient from Tulsa to Oklahoma City?

If so.... currently #821 departs OKC 825 am, arrives FTW 1239pm, Eagle departs FTW 240pm. Let's say new train would leave Tulsa 700am, OKC 925am arr FTW 139pm. Still would leave an hour to connect to Eagle.

Northbound Eagle arrives FTW 158pm, #822 leaves 525pm, arrives OKC 939pm. New train would leave FTW 425pm, allowing 2.5 hours for connection, arrive OKC839pm, and Tulsa 1100pm. One trainset could handle this schedule and would still make connection.
 

jphjaxfl

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The BNSF formerly Frisco tracks between Tulsa and Oklahoma City have not had passenger service since 67-68 and I have heard they would need some serious rehab. I was in Tulsa a couple times during the past few years and did not see that any of the passenger infrastructure is still there. The last passenger train into Tulsa was Santa Fe's Tulsan to and from KC which last departed April 30, 1971.
 

railiner

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The BNSF formerly Frisco tracks between Tulsa and Oklahoma City have not had passenger service since 67-68 and I have heard they would need some serious rehab. I was in Tulsa a couple times during the past few years and did not see that any of the passenger infrastructure is still there. The last passenger train into Tulsa was Santa Fe's Tulsan to and from KC which last departed April 30, 1971.
Do you have a Saint Louis-San Francisco (Frisco) timetable? How long did it take for the Meteor to make the Tulsa to/from Oklahoma City trip? Is the Tulsa station gone?

Restoring the tracks to its former standard is the main concern. As far as a station....well a modest modular building with a parking lot would be sufficient for a start-up, trial service.
 

henryj

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The BNSF formerly Frisco tracks between Tulsa and Oklahoma City have not had passenger service since 67-68 and I have heard they would need some serious rehab. I was in Tulsa a couple times during the past few years and did not see that any of the passenger infrastructure is still there. The last passenger train into Tulsa was Santa Fe's Tulsan to and from KC which last departed April 30, 1971.
The tracks from Sapulpa through OKC to Lawton are part of the Stilwell Central (Slwc) owned by WATCO. It is a short line, not suitable for passenger trains. You would have to spend millions to fix it. Tulsa's union station still exists and was converted to an office building.

http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/hqdiv/p-r-d...fs/rail-map.pdf

The best way to extend the Heartland Flyer is to continue to run it up the BNSF to Kansas City and connect it with the SWC to Chicago. You could also extend it north through Des Moines to Minneapolis/St Paul. Like this:

| Heartland Flyer Ext. |

11:45 AM | lv MINN/ST PAUL arr | 6:15 PM

5:15 PM | arr DEMOINES lv | 12:45 PM

5:30 PM | lv DEMOINES arr | 12:30 PM

10:00 PM | arr KANSAS CITY lv | 8:00 AM

11:00 PM | lv KANSAS CITY arr | 7:00 AM

7:00 AM | arr OKLAHOMA CITY lv | 11:00 PM

8:25 AM | lv OKLAHOMA CITY arr | 9:39 PM

12:39 PM | arr FORT WORTH lv | 5:25 PM
 

railiner

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Thanks for that map link. I did not realize how chopped up the map I remember has become as relates to former main lines reduced to multitudes of short lines around the country. I had thought that extending to Tulsa would be relatively easy, requiring no additional equipment, and ready funding from the source that funds it now.

The proposal that you make is admirable, but much more ambitious and costly. Perhaps a compromise would be to extend the Heartland Flyer simply to Newton to connect with the SWC? I don't know if extended from its current schedule would allow it to connect at Newton to/from Kansas City and Chicago.
 

OlympianHiawatha

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Current plans are to have dedicated track high speed TGV-like electric service between OKC and Tulsa and extend the HF up through Newton and likely on into Kansas City to connect with the Chief. A lot of final details still need to be worked out, especially with schedule as Kansas wants "decent hour" train service with the HF and the Chief is a night time prowler through the state. And of course the HF still has to make good connections with the Texas Eagle as well.
 

RailFanLNK

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I was at a NARP meeting in OMA a year ago when this service was discussed. Funny, both KS and OK governments have been open to this instead of pooh-poohing it. I wished my state would be a tad bit more "outside the box" type of thinking. I also remember them saying that the rail lines up to Tulsa were in sad shape.

Al
 

cpamtfan

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Current plans are to have dedicated track high speed TGV-like electric service between OKC and Tulsa and extend the HF up through Newton and likely on into Kansas City to connect with the Chief. A lot of final details still need to be worked out, especially with schedule as Kansas wants "decent hour" train service with the HF and the Chief is a night time prowler through the state. And of course the HF still has to make good connections with the Texas Eagle as well.
I am dobting many of these high speed prodjects, and this one seems kinda short for high speed (although the area is flat and not hard to change, I can't invision an TGV flying under the wires of Oklahoma.
 

cpamtfan

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The best way to extend the Heartland Flyer is to continue to run it up the BNSF to Kansas City and connect it with the SWC to Chicago. You could also extend it north through Des Moines to Minneapolis/St Paul. Like this:
| Heartland Flyer Ext. |

11:45 AM | lv MINN/ST PAUL arr | 6:15 PM

5:15 PM | arr DEMOINES lv | 12:45 PM

5:30 PM | lv DEMOINES arr | 12:30 PM

10:00 PM | arr KANSAS CITY lv | 8:00 AM

11:00 PM | lv KANSAS CITY arr | 7:00 AM

7:00 AM | arr OKLAHOMA CITY lv | 11:00 PM

8:25 AM | lv OKLAHOMA CITY arr | 9:39 PM

12:39 PM | arr FORT WORTH lv | 5:25 PM
Again, lack of:

1.equipment

2.crew facilitys

3.replenishing facilities (like theres no commisarys anywhere along those routes)

4.tracks along the route you indicated are not really "fast" or major class 1 tracks (or 3, whichever one is better)

5.cities it goes through (other than Kansas City, Omaha, Demoines, and possible Sioxe Falls, but other than that the route isn't favored well
 

henryj

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The best way to extend the Heartland Flyer is to continue to run it up the BNSF to Kansas City and connect it with the SWC to Chicago. You could also extend it north through Des Moines to Minneapolis/St Paul. Like this:
| Heartland Flyer Ext. |

11:45 AM | lv MINN/ST PAUL arr | 6:15 PM

5:15 PM | arr DEMOINES lv | 12:45 PM

5:30 PM | lv DEMOINES arr | 12:30 PM

10:00 PM | arr KANSAS CITY lv | 8:00 AM

11:00 PM | lv KANSAS CITY arr | 7:00 AM

7:00 AM | arr OKLAHOMA CITY lv | 11:00 PM

8:25 AM | lv OKLAHOMA CITY arr | 9:39 PM

12:39 PM | arr FORT WORTH lv | 5:25 PM
Again, lack of:

1.equipment

2.crew facilitys

3.replenishing facilities (like theres no commisarys anywhere along those routes)

4.tracks along the route you indicated are not really "fast" or major class 1 tracks (or 3, whichever one is better)

5.cities it goes through (other than Kansas City, Omaha, Demoines, and possible Sioxe Falls, but other than that the route isn't favored well
Well I don't know what the track is like north of KC, but that's the route the old RI Twin Star Rocket took. OKC to KC is major class 1 BNSF track in excellent shape. Same as the OKC to Ft Worth track. They replenish the HF somewhere don't they??? Like OKC. KC is already served by the SWC which the HF would connect with. It would take one more set of equipment including a sleeper to extend to KC, but I am sure they could find it if they wanted to bad enough.
 

Green Maned Lion

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Dec 27, 2007
Messages
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I've heard from some sources that if Amtrak gets funding from KA and OK, instead of running the train seperately it will be a section of the SWC. East of Newton it would simply be called the Chief, west of Newton, the "Southwest Chief" and "Texas Chief".

The source is about... 50% reliable.
 

DET63

Conductor
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May 6, 2009
Messages
1,777
The best way to extend the Heartland Flyer is to continue to run it up the BNSF to Kansas City and connect it with the SWC to Chicago. You could also extend it north through Des Moines to Minneapolis/St Paul. Like this:
| Heartland Flyer Ext. |

11:45 AM | lv MINN/ST PAUL arr | 6:15 PM

5:15 PM | arr DEMOINES lv | 12:45 PM

5:30 PM | lv DEMOINES arr | 12:30 PM

10:00 PM | arr KANSAS CITY lv | 8:00 AM

11:00 PM | lv KANSAS CITY arr | 7:00 AM

7:00 AM | arr OKLAHOMA CITY lv | 11:00 PM

8:25 AM | lv OKLAHOMA CITY arr | 9:39 PM

12:39 PM | arr FORT WORTH lv | 5:25 PM
Again, lack of:

1.equipment

2.crew facilitys

3.replenishing facilities (like theres no commisarys anywhere along those routes)

4.tracks along the route you indicated are not really "fast" or major class 1 tracks (or 3, whichever one is better)

5.cities it goes through (other than Kansas City, Omaha, Demoines, and possible Sioxe Falls, but other than that the route isn't favored well
Personally, I'd be excited to be able to ride a train that goes through Demoines or even Sioxe Falls.

Would there ever be a train going to Sioxe City, too?

Don't like my joke? Sioxe me.

:D
 

saxman

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
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May 17, 2004
Messages
2,443
Personally, I'd be excited to be able to ride a train that goes through Demoines or even Sioxe Falls.
Would there ever be a train going to Sioxe City, too?

Don't like my joke? Sioxe me.

:D
You mean Sioux Falls, and Sioux City. And I think I will have to Sioux you :lol:
 

henryj

Conductor
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Dec 19, 2008
Messages
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Here the Iowa map:http://www.iowarail.com/railroads/maps/Density_08.pdf

Based on the traffic it looks like the RI main should be in good shape. It would have to be a choose between going to Des Moines or Omaha. I not sure how many pax you would get on the lines north of KC.
Thanks for posting the Iowa map. Looks like it is UP all the way. I forgot they got the RI lines north of KC. Here are the Minnesota maps.

http://www.dot.state.mn.us/ofrw/maps.html

They even give the speeds, which look to be pretty slow, in the 40-50mph range. Interesting, in Iowa's passenger rail plans they show no interest in any north-south routes. Just routes toward Chicago. So I would guess the feasibility of extending the HR north of KC is pretty slim although I think it will someday be a necessary route. When the RI ran it, it was a popular route. I would think that is still the case. There is enough traffic to warrant an interestate highway connection, I35.
 
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Back to the original post, the Okla. Dept. of Transportation has formally applied for federal stimulus money in order to construct a high speed rail link between OKC and Tulsa as part of the official federal designated South Central High Speed Corridor. A lot of the prelimianary work has been done such as the required studies, meetings, impacts, etc. It would basically parallel the Turner Turnpike connecting OKC and Tulsa.

As one poster has indicated, the track between OKC and Tulsa would need major reconstruction and at present could not support passenger rail service. There is also processes moving forward between the state of Okla. and Kansas to extend the Heartland Flyer to Newton Kansas to connect with the Southwest Chief. This looks to be a real probability in the near future. Linking the two cities of OKC and Tulsa just makes good sense since each has over a million plus population in their MSA's. Connecting then Tulsa to Kansas City would make even better sense for the entire Amtrak system.
 

railiner

Conductor
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Mar 20, 2009
Messages
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Well, that's good news! When is this extension to Newton planned?

Now if we could get the state of Texas to kick in, how's about extending it from Fort Worth to El Paso via the old Texas Pacific route?
 

henryj

Conductor
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Dec 19, 2008
Messages
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There is also processes moving forward between the state of Okla. and Kansas to extend the Heartland Flyer to Newton Kansas to connect with the Southwest Chief. This looks to be a real probability in the near future.
You just have to wonder who makes this stuff up. The Southwest Chief passes through Newton Kansas at 3 in the morning in both directions. Why not extend the Hearland flyer to Kansas City and connect with the SWC there at a more hospitable time?????? If people truly want to go west on the Chief they can still get off in Newton if they want. My guess is they don't want to have to add a second set of equipment so they can't go any farther then Newton. It's something like four hours from OKC to Newton, so they must plan to arrive around 2AM turn the train and depart around 4am.
 

Rob_C

Lead Service Attendant
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May 28, 2008
Messages
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If the train turns in 2 hours at nearly each end, when do they clean, water and maintain the thing?? lol
 
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henryj

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If the train turns in 2 hours at nearly each end, when do they clean, water and maintain the thing?? lol
LOL Rob, I guess that's the point. Who makes these announcements without even knowing what they are talking about? The train actually spends almost 5 hours in Fort Worth, but you can't turn a train in two hours on the other end. If it's even slightly late then the next days train is late too and it won't be serviced properly. Then again, if you are going to run two sets the you might as well have extended it to KC and done it right. It will never fly. It's KC or nothing.
 

DET63

Conductor
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Messages
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Aside from equipment usage and maintenance issues, what are the pros and cons of extending the HF to Newton? One probable "con" that I have is this, "Where's Newton? What's there?"

Usually trains go to a place that is an attractive destination in and of itself. Emeryville, CA, probably is the silliest destination, but it's close to Oakland and San Francisco, and is used instead of Oakland so that the CZ doesn't have to be backed several blocks down a busy city street.
 
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