Heartland Flyer
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Heartland Flyer

Heartland Flyer
Hlf mp header logo.gif
Amtrak-Norman.jpg
A southbound Heartland Flyer boarding in Norman, Oklahoma.
Overview
Type Inter-city rail
System Amtrak
Status Operating
Locale Oklahoma and Texas
Termini Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Fort Worth, Texas
Stations 7
Daily ridership 213
Ridership 66,105 total (FY16[1]
Operation
Opened June 14, 1999
Owner BNSF Railway (track)
Operator(s) Amtrak
Rolling stock Superliner Coaches
Technical
Line length 206 miles (332 km)
Track gauge
Route map

0 mi
0 km
Oklahoma City
(Oklahoma City Streetcar 2018)
20 mi
32 km
Norman
35 mi
56 km
Purcell
57 mi
92 km
Pauls Valley
102 mi
164 km
Ardmore
129 mi
208 km
Thackerville
(proposed)
141 mi
227 km
Gainesville
206 mi
332 km
Fort Worth
TRE logo.png Texas Eagle

The Heartland Flyer is a daily passenger train that follows a 206-mile (332 km) route from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Fort Worth, Texas. Amtrak serves as contractor, initially only for the State of Oklahoma, but now also for the State of Texas.[2] The train's daily round-trip begins in Oklahoma City in the morning and reaches Fort Worth in the early afternoon, then makes an evening return to Oklahoma City. As of November 2014, the train is scheduled at 3 hours 58 minutes in each direction.[3]

The Heartland Flyer carried over 77,000 passengers in fiscal year 2016, a 4.2% decrease from FY2015. The train had a ticket revenue of $1,828,486, an increase of 1.8% from FY2015.[1] Total revenue for the train, including state-level subsidies to Amtrak, was approximately $7.1 million[4]

History and funding

Route of the Heartland Flyer

After Amtrak's formation in 1971, the corridor was served by the railroad's Chicago-Houston Lone Star route, but that was discontinued in 1979 and left the state of Oklahoma without any passenger rail service. The Heartland Flyer was inaugurated on June 14, 1999, ending a 20-year absence of passenger trains on the route. First-year ticket sales totaled 71,400 passengers, surpassing Amtrak's original 20,000 projection.[5] The Heartland Flyer carried 68,000 passengers during FY 2007. In September 2007 it had carried 500,000 passengers since its inception,[6] and in November 2013, it carried its millionth passenger.[7]

The temporary federal funding for the service was used up by 2005. However, regional passenger rail advocates came out in force on April 11, 2005, for a state capitol rally sponsored by PassengerRailOk.org. Keynote speaker, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett addressed the crowd along with the mayors of Perry, Guthrie, and Purcell, Oklahoma, encouraging the state fund the service and to expand the train into Kansas.[8] State lawmakers kept the Heartland Flyer in operation by passing House Bill 1078 that provided an annual $2 million subsidy to continue the service.[9]

Equipment used

Locomotives commonly used on the Heartland Flyer include the General Electric P42DC and P32-8WH. Rolling stock includes Superliners. For many years, the train was powered by only one locomotive, and a Non-Powered Control Unit (NPCU) on the end of the train opposite the locomotive made the train bi-directional. In 2009, the NPCU was replaced with a standard Genesis P42DC, and the train now has locomotive power on both ends.

From April 2010 to April 2011, Amtrak and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation carried out a one-year research project during which the train was run on a biodiesel blend known as B20 (20% pure biofuel and 80% diesel). P32-8 locomotive No. 500 carried an Amtrak decal indicating the use of B20 fuel.[10] The test made national news when TIME magazine listed it as one of "The 50 Best Inventions of 2010."[11]

Connections

The train (numbered 821, 822) connects to Amtrak's national passenger rail network at the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center, where it is timed to allow transfers to the Texas Eagle in both directions. The Texas Eagle runs daily between Chicago, Illinois and San Antonio, Texas, and continues three days each week to Los Angeles, California. The Trinity Railway Express commuter rail service also runs from Fort Worth to nearby Dallas Monday through Saturday each week, with roughly hourly service on weekdays and service every two hours on Saturday. Among its several stops, TRE indirectly connects to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport at CentrePort station, and links to DART Light Rail at Victory station and Union Station (which is also a Texas Eagle stop).

The Fort Worth station also has connections to many local buses operated by Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) and intercity buses operated by Greyhound Lines.

Expansion proposals

Several proposals for extending the route of the Heartland Flyer, or providing additional service over all or parts of its route, have been made over the years. Expansion planning revolves around portions of the former Lone Star route and the state-owned route from Oklahoma City to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The line to Kansas City would stop at Wichita's Union Station and follow the route of the Southwest Chief north of Newton, Kansas. Recent interest in Kansas and Oklahoma communities has been sparked by the proposal and many towns have released resolutions supporting the idea and requesting stations should the route ever be extended. Some of these cities include Wichita, which lost its train service with the discontinuance of the Amtrak Lone Star in 1979. Emporia was eliminated as an Amtrak stop in 2000 but may once again have a train station. Nearly a dozen other communities ranging in size from the tiny community of Strong City, Kansas (pop. 570), to Wichita, with nearly 358,000 residents have passed these resolutions.

A study conducted by Amtrak in 2009 resulted in four proposed service extensions:[12]

  • Extend the current train north to Newton, Kansas, where passengers could connect with the Southwest Chief to both Chicago and Los Angeles, which stops in Newton in the middle of the night.
  • Add a second day train from Fort Worth to Kansas City, which would offer twice daily service over much of the route but wouldn't connect with other trains.
  • A variation of the first plan would extend the overnight train to Kansas City.
  • A variation of the second plan would terminate the day train at Oklahoma City, rather than operating all the way to Texas.

According to the August 2010 issue of Trains Magazine, a combination of options one and two as noted above is not out of the question, either, allowing for day and night service, plus perhaps thru-car service to/from the Southwest Chief.[12]

In late 2011, the Kansas Department of Transportation released the results of a study into new service south to Fort Worth, presenting the options of a night train from Texas to Newton, with start-up costs of $87.5 million and an annual subsidy of $4.4 million, or a day train to Kansas City, with start-up costs of $245.5 million and an annual subsidy of $10 million.[13]

During the 1990s, service to San Antonio, Texas, via Austin in conjunction with a reroute of the Texas Eagle west from Fort Worth to El Paso, Texas via Sierra Blanca was considered. This would have created another connection with the Sunset Limited.[14]

Part of the route used by the Heartland Flyer is designated by the USDOT as the South Central High Speed Rail Corridor and is slated to be upgraded to high-speed rail service should funding ever become available. The corridor extends from San Antonio, Texas, to Tulsa through Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. Another branch of this corridor extends from Fort Worth through Dallas to Little Rock, Arkansas.[15]

References

  1. ^ a b "Amtrak FY16 Ridership and Revenue Fact Sheet" (PDF). Amtrak. April 17, 2017. Retrieved 2018. 
  2. ^ "Information Release 07-016" (PDF) (Press release). Oklahoma Department of Transportation. March 21, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007. 
  3. ^ "Texas Eagle and Heartland Flyer timetable" (PDF). Amtrak. November 2, 2014. Retrieved 2015. 
  4. ^ "Monthly Performance Report for September 2016" (PDF). Amtrak. November 12, 2014. p. 41. Retrieved 2015. 
  5. ^ Cooper, Aaron (June 14, 2000). "Amtrak, ODOT celebrate 1-year anniversary of Heartland Flyer". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008. 
  6. ^ "Ridership up on Heartland Flyer". Associated Press. November 9, 2007. Retrieved 2008. 
  7. ^ "Amtrak recognizes OSU student as millionth passenger on Heartland Flyer". The Oklahoman. November 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013. 
  8. ^ Talley, Tim (April 11, 2005). "Rail passengers rally for Heartland Flyer". Associated Press. 
  9. ^ Price, Marie (May 25, 2005). "Beefed-up state agency budgets sent to governor". Tulsa World. p. A10. 
  10. ^ "Heartland Flyer". Amtrak History & Archives. Retrieved 2014. 
  11. ^ "Amtrak's Beef-Powered Train". TIME Magazine. November 11, 2010. Retrieved 2014. 
  12. ^ a b Bob Johnston (August 2010). "Kansas weighs new train choices". Trains Magazine. Kalmbach Publishing. 
  13. ^ "Kansas DOT releases passenger-rail service development plan". Progressive Railroading. December 5, 2011. Retrieved 2011. 
  14. ^ "Fort Worth-Los Angeles Proposed Schedule Change Updated October 27, 1999". Texas Association of Rail Passengers. October 27, 1999. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. 
  15. ^ "South Central Corridor". USDOT. Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. Retrieved 2012. 

External links

Route map: Google

KML is from Wikidata

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

Heartland_Flyer
 



 

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