The process has begun to create a passenger train system across Missouri that will run on time.

AMTRAK’s Kansas City to St.Louis trains have a hard time keeping to their schedule because they have to pull over to let Union Pacific’s freight trains go by. The law says it’s the freights that should give way. But there are no sidings between Kansas City and Jefferson City that are long enough for the freight trains—so it’s the AMTRAK trains that get out of the way.

The legislature is putting up five million dollars and the state transportation department hopes to get another five million from the federal government to make two long sidings for freight trains to use. The department’s Rod Massman says those sidings should solve the problem.

He says Union Pacific is hoping to eliminate two bottlenecks between Jefferson City and St.Louis. But one of those projects is tied up in the fight over removal of the old Boonville railroad bridge and relocating it over the Osage River.

Download Bob Priddy’s story (:57 mp3)