Officials talk about proposed Amtrak passage through East Texas

Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 2:44 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2022 at 8:11 PM CST
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Amtrak may soon be heading to East Texas, thanks to Canadian Pacific.

CP announced they have an agreement with Amtrak for use of their line. Right now Amtrak makes a left in Marshall and heads north to Chicago. But the route could soon take passengers through Shreveport to Atlanta, Georgia.

Harrison County residents Richard and Christine Anderson have been advocates of Amtrak for many years and are heavily involved in the I-20 Corridor Project, of which Richard is Chair.

“We have existing Amtrak service twice a day. One going north at 6:30 in the afternoon, and the other one going south at 7:30 in the morning. This new connection would give us an east-west route,” Richard said.

The I-20 Corridor Project has been trying to establish the route for years:

“Which would connect Fort Worth/Dallas with 7 million people, with six and a half million people in Atlanta,” Richard said.

Richard says there are two rails at the Marshall Station. One takes a left and heads north to Chicago, which is used by Amtrak, the other owned by Kansas City Southern, goes east to Atlanta and beyond. Richard believes that:

“KCS, who owns the track from Bossier over to Meridian, and they have refused to talk with us about this,” Richard said.

But, at Canadian Pacific and KCS, things are changing with a proposed merger. CP has said they would be open to re-arranging freight rail schedules to accommodate passenger trains.

“Then that would open up the piece from Bossier to Meridian,” Richard said.

And he says most likely the connection would go on to Atlanta as well, all on existing track. And the impact?

“The impact would be on tourism, on economic development, quality of life. People will probably want to be riding on trains more,” Christina said.

If it goes through passengers would be able to board the Amtrak Crescent in Atlanta and ride on to New York.

“It’s about America, and that’s the more connections that we get, the better for rural communities like ours,” Christina said.

There is no timeline for the proposed Dallas/Atlanta passenger rail connection, and depots would have to be built to accommodate passengers.

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