NEW TRACK ADDS CAPACITY AND REDUCES DELAYS FOR AMTRAK MISSOURI RIVER RUNNER TRAINS
CALIFORNIA, Mo., - Representatives of the Missouri Department of Transportation, the City of California, Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak today officially opened a new $8.1 million, 9,000-foot railroad side track that adds capacity and reduces delays on the route used by Amtrak Missouri River Runner trains between Kansas City and St. Louis.
The new siding, located just west of California, Mo., helps unclog a major "bottleneck" that was caused by a 25-mile stretch of single track and enables slower freight trains to move off the main line. This allows faster Amtrak trains to pass and is estimated to annually reduce passenger train delays by nearly 17 percent.
"We heard loud and clear Missourians' cry for better passenger rail service," said, Pete Rahn, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation. "Today we are proud to deliver one of the key projects that will ensure rail passengers continue to arrive on time and our freight moves more efficiently. Working as one, Union Pacific, Amtrak and MoDOT are making great strides toward building a faster and more reliable rail corridor."
"Freight rail traffic growth on the Kansas City to St. Louis rail corridor has been steady over the years and caused the corridor to experience capacity constraints. Union
Pacific has invested more than $400 million in track capacity and maintenance projects since 1999 to help increase capacity on this corridor," said Joe Bateman, Union Pacific Railroad's vice president - public affairs - Northern Region. "All of us at Union Pacific look forward to working with MoDOT on more public/private partnerships like this one, which benefits everyone across Missouri."
"Amtrak and MoDOT have been partners since 1979 and our passengers over that time have endured delays caused in many cases by too little infrastructure for too many trains. This is the first step - in concrete and steel -- in changing things for the better between Kansas City and Jefferson City," said Steve Strachan, Amtrak Chief Transportation Officer. "We are supporting Missouri's pending application for additional funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to relieve other bottlenecks on this route and look forward to working together to improve passenger train operations while accommodating growth in freight traffic."
This location was chosen after a University of Missouri study estimated that building a siding in this single-track area would annually reduce delays to Amtrak trains by the largest amount on the rail line between Kansas City and Jefferson City. Two other future improvement locations are in the Knob Noster and Strasburg areas.
MoDOT commissioned the study to determine where rail line capacity enhancements should be made to improve train velocity. The Mizzou study helped Union Pacific's engineering and network planning groups make solid choices where capacity projects should be considered across the 275-mile rail corridor.
The siding enables the mile-and-a-half long Union Pacific trains that haul low-sulfur coal from Wyoming to electric utilities in the St. Louis area and eastern power generation facilities to clear the way for Amtrak trains. MoDOT secured $4.8 million in state funds for this project, complemented with a $3.3 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration.
According to MoDOT, more than 90 percent of the Missouri River Runner trains arrived at their end-points of St. Louis or Kansas City on time or ahead of schedule. These same passenger trains were operating an average of 64 percent on time during the first 10 months of 2008. These service improvements are directly linked to the capital investment - capacity and maintenance - Union Pacific has invested on the corridor.
In the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2009, there were 150,870 passengers on the two daily Amtrak Missouri River Runner round-trips, about even with the previous year and almost 30 percent higher than 2007. Amtrak is offering a 50% off companion fare (discount code V665) when traveling through Dec. 16, 2009. Also, beginning after the New Year, there is a 20% discount for individual travelers (discount code V328) with three-day advance booking. Visit http://www.morail.org/ for more information.
About the Missouri Department of Transportation
Our mission is to provide a world-class transportation experience that delights our customers and promotes a prosperous Missouri. For more information, visit www.modot.org call 888-ASK-MODOT (within Missouri).
About Union Pacific
Union Pacific Corporation owns one of America's leading transportation companies. Its principal operating company, Union Pacific Railroad, links 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers and provides Americans with a fuel-efficient, environmentally responsible and safe mode of freight transportation. Union Pacific's diversified business mix includes Agricultural Products, Automotive, Chemicals, Energy, Industrial Products and Intermodal. The railroad emphasizes excellent customer service and offers competitive routes from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to eastern gateways. Union Pacific connects with Canada's rail systems and is the only railroad serving all six major gateways to Mexico, making it North America's premier rail franchise.
As the nation's intercity passenger rail operator, Amtrak connects America in safer, greener and healthier ways. Last fiscal year (FY 2009), the railroad carried 27.2 million passengers, making it the second-best year in the company's history. With 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces, Amtrak operates more than 300 trains each day-at speeds up to 150 mph-to more than 500 destinations. Amtrak also is the operator of choice for state-supported corridor services in 15 states and for four commuter rail agencies. Visit Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Downloadable video and sound bites are available at ftp://ftp.modot.org/CRmedia/News%20Stories/California%20Amtrak/
To view this FTP site in Windows Explorer, click Page, and then click Open FTP Site in Windows Explorer. Then you can grab the files and drag them onto your desktop.