July 5, 2021 - TRA Newswire -

Ever since Amtrak unveiled its vision to expand passenger rail service in key short-run corridors around the country earlier this year, interest has been growing in broadening train service to link Texas' major cities and towns in between.

In particular the Houston-San Antonio segment, where Amtrak would like to run three round-trips daily, has raised the interest of several cities on the I-10 corridor between those two major markets. Conversations are taking place with officials in Flatonia, halfway between Houston and San Antonio, as well as in Seguin and Rosenberg on establishing daily passenger rail service to link these underserved public transportation areas. Those three regions are not currently served by any regular surface transportation mode.

Letters of support from Texas State Senator Lois Kolkhorst and State Representative Ben Leman have been sent to Congressman Michael McCaul in support of bringing passenger rail service back to the region, which hasn't seen trains stop in those cities for over half a century. Letters of support have also been issued by the Fayette County Judge and Flatonia Mayor. Flatonia has been asking for the tri-weekly Sunset Limited, which serves cities from New Orleans to Los Angeles, to stop in that city for nearly a decade and has detailed plans for a train station.

Previous letters of support for adding daily service had been issued by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, as well as a resolution from the San Antonio City Council. All letters of support have been posted to the 'Amtrak ConnectsUS' page on the Texas Rail Advocates website.

Amtrak has also indicated it would like to expand service between Fort Worth-Austin-San Antonio with three round trips a day as well as add two more round trips on the Heartland Flyer, which runs one round trip every day between Fort Worth and Oklahoma City.

Also on the Amtrak ConnectUS vision is reinstituting service between Dallas and Houston via Corsicana and Bryan-College Station. That line was discontinued in the 90's during a cost-cutting move.