CHICAGO — Amtrak is adjusting train schedules between St. Louis and Kansas City effective April 2, 2007, due to a major track repair project by the line’s owner, Union Pacific Railroad (UP). The project will continue through the fall of 2007 and is expected to lead to improved ride quality and reliability.
During the construction period, UP will install new rail, ties, ballast and replace surfaces at road crossings. Unlike 2006, when Amtrak and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) regularly chartered motorcoaches, this year’s plan calls for two daily round-trips to be provided solely by train.
“Although we were able to maintain frequencies by using buses last year, ridership numbers were down because the buses could not equal the seating capacity, schedules and appeal of Amtrak travel,” said Rod Massman, Railroad Administrator at MoDOT.
“The Missouri Rail Passenger Coalition and other customers have made it clear to us they expect to ride a train when they buy a ticket, so we’ve changed schedules to accommodate the UP track work and still provide twice-daily round-trips by train,” Massman added.
Modified schedules for the Missouri Mule Service (Trains 311 & 316) and Ann Rutledge (Trains 314 & 313) are below, showing the two daily round-trips on the route. Amtrak has reserved the right to occasionally charter buses to represent trains that would otherwise be greatly delayed. This is a practice also used in other parts of the Amtrak network.
UP has informed Amtrak and MoDOT there could be an opportunity for a schedule change that would restore Train 314 to an earlier eastbound schedule from Kansas City for several weeks this summer. Passengers are encouraged to check Amtrak.com, www.morail.org, pay close attention to station notices or on-board announcements or call 800-USA-RAIL for any updates.
“We greatly appreciate the patience of Amtrak customers while our crews complete the necessary track maintenance that will further enhance safe railroad operations across the state of Missouri,” said Randy Blackburn, Union Pacific regional vice president, operations, for the Northern Region.
The Southwest Chief (Trains 3 & 4) to and from Los Angeles and Chicago, via Kansas City, and the Texas Eagle (Trains 21 & 22) to and from San Antonio and Chicago, via St. Louis, are not directly affected by this track work project.
Amtrak operates the St. Louis-Kansas City route under a contract with the Missouri Department of Transportation.