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January 10, 2013

Take the Flyer to Kansas

NORMAN — The Amtrak Heartland Flyer’s daily run from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth and back hasn’t changed any since it began operations in July 1999. That could change in the next few years as Kansans continue their push to get additional passenger rail there.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the Kansas Department of Transportation has joined the city of Wichita’s efforts to extend the Flyer north to Wichita. A Wichita developer is looking into buying the old downtown rail hub and converting it into a retail, office and hospitality as well as a stop for the Flyer.

Taking the train to Wichita would be one more step to linking Amtrak’s Flyer to an east-west route easier than going through Texas. As it stands now, the Flyer is more of a tourist train, with a few business customers.

It’s a great way to see parts of Oklahoma and Texas out of the interstate’s view. But once-a-day stops southbound and once-a-day stops northbound aren’t practical to most travelers.

Kansas and Oklahoma have both contributed to the study. We hope to see the day when the conductor says, “all aboard northbound to Wichita.”

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