We have discussed using shared freight lines to build out passenger rail here in Arkansas. There are some benefits. We don’t have to build entirely new railroad tracks. Though we will want to improve and build up what we have. This will save time, we can possibly start passenger service within 3 to 5 years. And money, the whole not build new tracks thing.
There are some negatives to this scenario. Historically freight companies haven’t shared the tracks with Amtrak. Some have been better than others. Here is the Amtrak report card for freight rail:
Here is more information about what causes Amtrak delays.
If you look at a map of Arkansas rail found here:
You can see what railroads run through what parts of Arkansas. But that isn’t all. Kansas City Southern railroad is merging with Canadian Pacific. And CP has the highest grade for working with Amtrak in the report above. The new company is proposed to be CPKCS. Or something like that. I honestly don’t think the executives have settled on a name. CPKS or CPKC runs through NWA before running out to Oklahoma. Then reenters Arkansas going through DeQueen and Texarkana. From there, twists and turns aside, the route runs on to Dallas. A CP run railroad could potentially host a passenger service from Dallas Texas to Kansas City Missouri running somewhere in 750 mile range. And remember with a top speed of 110 MPH in several sections of the route we can move a lot of people very fast.
This is why I urge all of you to call your mayor’s office. Ask them to talk to the Governor to support a big picture rail plan. And contact our US Senators. Here is a link to a post where you may find their contact information.
The Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act, or The Infrastructure Bill gives Arkansas the ability to make higher speed passenger rail happen. And #BuildBackBetter will allow us to put the finishing touches on the plan. Time to get cracking.