The proposed Heartland Flyer expansion by Amtrak would treble the frequency of rides between the downtown Fort Worth station and Oklahoma City, as well as expand Amtrak service to Newton, Kansas via Wichita. Amtrak officials and local lawmakers held a Zoom press conference Tuesday to promote the Heartland Flyer project, which would expand the current one daily roundtrip from Fort Worth to Oklahoma City to three.
This new service would significantly expand travel alternatives.
“This service would connect to the Texas Triangle routes we have in our vision out of Fort Worth and two important long-distance services in Newton,” Amtrak president Stephen Gardner said on the call. “This new service would extend substantially travel options and stimulate the economy. “The concept would require funding from both the federal and state levels. Amtrak CEO William Flynn stated that the concept is not entirely dependent on President Biden’s infrastructure program, but it does require some federal financing.
To begin services, the federal government has provided funding.
“Certainly, we need funding,” Flynn said. “Federal funding here to initiate services, and we need the support of several states going forward.” He stated that a bill just filed in the House addresses both Amtrak and this corridor extension. Currently, the Newton Amtrak station links to Los Angeles and Chicago, while the Fort Worth station links to Austin and San Antonio. The Texas Triangle, another planned concept in Amtrak’s vision, would connect Amtrak’s Dallas station to College Station and Houston. According to Amtrak, the expansion would bring an estimated 100,000-200,000 riders per year. College students going to and from Kansas institutions to Oklahoma and the Dallas Fort-Worth area are projected to make up a sizable portion of those passengers, according to Kansas Sen. Carolyn McGinn (R). There were no representatives from Fort Worth or Dallas present, but several local leaders from Newton, Kansas, and Oklahoma, as well as Kansas and Oklahoma state senators.