January  12, 2023 - TRA Newswire -

Could Amtrak's Sunset Limited, now limited to only tri-weekly service across the Southern belt of Texas, be turned into a daily service? Are there possibilities for other restored or new services across Texas and the Southwest?

The Federal Railroad Administration, as part of its charge in the Infrastructure bill passed by Congress, is conducting an Amtrak Daily Long-Distance Service Study throughout 2023 to determine just that.

The study will ultimately create a long-term vision for national passenger rail service, identifying projects and capital required to turn the vision into reality. 

Section 22214 of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) of 2021 tasks the FRA to look at any discontinued Amtrak long-distance route, any intercity long-distance trains now operating less than seven days a week and to evaluate potential new Amtrak long-distance routes in service as of April 1971 when the passenger rail provider was established.

In Texas, that would include service that was discontinued to Laredo in the Rio Grande Valley on service called the InterAmerican and a segment of the Texas Eagle that ran between Dallas, Bryan-College Station and Houston. 

The FRA will be meeting with stakeholders, transportation and rail partners, tribes and communities through 2023 to evaluate how to connect the public with long-distance train services. This is the first time that such a study of this magnitude has ever been conducted to develop a prioritized listing of projects. 

    • The study will determine how to link and serve large and small communities as part of a regional rail network;
    • advance the economic and social well-being of rural areas of the United States;
    • provide enhanced connectivity for the national long-distance passenger rail system; and
    • reflect public engagement and local and regional support for restored passenger rail service. 

    More informarion can be found at this website: https://fralongdistancerailstudy.org/

    Photo credit: Kenny Braun, Texas Highways Magazine