An expansion of AMTRAK service could be in the next statewide rail plan.

AMTRAK now runs trains from Kansas City to St. Louis. It also has a line from Chicago to St. Louis,  through Poplar Bluff and on to San Antonio. Another route goes from Kansas City with a stop at LaPlata in northeast Missouri, and  then on to Chicago.

Talk has been going on for years about AMTRAK service to Springfield.  The transportation department’s railroads chief, Rod Massman, is thinking of a triangle route linking St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City.  But Massman says the St. Louis to Springfield to Kansas City tracks links are freight lines now and those trains run at slower speeds.   He says it would take expensive improvements to bring those tracks up to passenger standard.    

But don’t rush out and buy your train tickets to Springfield. The possibility of any of this happening is some distance away.\The department is waiting to hear if it will get federal money for a new statewide rail plan that could include that AMTRAK triangle.

Listen to Bob Priddy’s story (:62 mp3)