Heartland Flyer
Overview
 
The Heartland Flyer is a daily passenger train that follows a 206-mile (332-km) route between Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

 and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is the capital and the largest city in the state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 31st among United States cities in population. The city's population, from the 2010 census, was 579,999, with a metro-area population of 1,252,987 . In 2010, the Oklahoma...

. Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 serves as contractor, initially only for the State of Oklahoma
Government of Oklahoma
The government of the US State of Oklahoma, established by the Oklahoma Constitution, is a republican democracy modeled after the Federal government of the United States. The state government has three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial...

, but now also to the State of Texas.

During fiscal year 2010, the Heartland Flyer carried a total of 81,749 passengers, an 11.1% increase from FY 2009's total of 73,564. The train had a total revenue of $1,806,780, an increase of 13.5% from FY 2009's $1,592,435 total.
On June 14, 1999, after a 20-year absence, passenger rail service between Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 and Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 was reinstated, The Heartland Flyer has proven to be very successful and popular with Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 patrons, achieving a number one customer satisfaction rating for several years running.
Encyclopedia
The Heartland Flyer is a daily passenger train that follows a 206-mile (332-km) route between Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Fort Worth is the 16th-largest city in the United States of America and the fifth-largest city in the state of Texas. Located in North Central Texas, just southeast of the Texas Panhandle, the city is a cultural gateway into the American West and covers nearly in Tarrant, Parker, Denton, and...

 and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is the capital and the largest city in the state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 31st among United States cities in population. The city's population, from the 2010 census, was 579,999, with a metro-area population of 1,252,987 . In 2010, the Oklahoma...

. Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 serves as contractor, initially only for the State of Oklahoma
Government of Oklahoma
The government of the US State of Oklahoma, established by the Oklahoma Constitution, is a republican democracy modeled after the Federal government of the United States. The state government has three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial...

, but now also to the State of Texas.

During fiscal year 2010, the Heartland Flyer carried a total of 81,749 passengers, an 11.1% increase from FY 2009's total of 73,564. The train had a total revenue of $1,806,780, an increase of 13.5% from FY 2009's $1,592,435 total.

History

On June 14, 1999, after a 20-year absence, passenger rail service between Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 and Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 was reinstated, The Heartland Flyer has proven to be very successful and popular with Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

 patrons, achieving a number one customer satisfaction rating for several years running. First-year ticket sales reached 71,400 passengers, surpassing Amtrak
Amtrak
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak , is a government-owned corporation that was organized on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. "Amtrak" is a portmanteau of the words "America" and "track". It is headquartered at Union...

's original 20,000 projection. The Heartland Flyer carried 68,000 passengers during FY 2007, and as of September 2007 had carried over 500,000 passengers since its inception.

Route and equipment used

The train serves a portion of the former Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

-Houston Lone Star route. It connects to the national passenger rail system in Fort Worth through the Texas Eagle
Texas Eagle
The Texas Eagle is a 1306-mile passenger train route operated by Amtrak in the central and western United States. Trains run daily between Chicago, Illinois, and San Antonio, Texas, and continue to Los Angeles, California, 2728 miles total, three days a week...

which serves San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

, Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

, Chicago, and stations along the way. Trinity Railway Express
Trinity Railway Express
The Trinity Railway Express is a commuter rail line in the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex. It was established by an interlocal agreement between Dallas Area Rapid Transit and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority . Each transit authority owns a 50% stake in the joint rail project and...

 provides local service to Dallas
Dallas, Texas
Dallas is the third-largest city in Texas and the ninth-largest in the United States. The Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the largest metropolitan area in the South and fourth-largest metropolitan area in the United States...

 where a connection to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit
Dallas Area Rapid Transit
The Dallas Area Rapid Transit authority is a transit agency based in Dallas, Texas . It operates buses, light rail, commuter rail, and high-occupancy vehicle lanes in Dallas and 12 of its suburbs...

 system provides connections to several cities in the Dallas area. A scheduled run between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth takes four hours and fourteen minutes.

Locomotives commonly used on the Heartland Flyer include the General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

 P42DC
GE Genesis
GE Genesis is a series of passenger locomotives produced by GE Transportation Systems, a subsidiary of General Electric...

 and P32-8WH
GE Dash 8-32BWH
The GE Dash 8-32BWH, also known as the P32-8WH or B32-8WH, is a modern diesel-electric passenger train locomotive used by Amtrak. It is based on GE's Dash 8 series of freight train locomotives....

. Rolling stock includes Superliner
Superliner (railcar)
The Superliner is a double decker passenger car used by Amtrak on long haul trains that do not use the Northeast Corridor. The initial cars were built by Pullman-Standard in the late 1970s and a second order was built in the mid 1990s by Bombardier Transportation...

s
. On the end of the train opposite the locomotive, a Non-Powered Control Unit (NPCU) makes the train bi-directional.

Threatened discontinuance

Amtrak threatened discontinuance of this train during 2005; however, regional passenger rail advocates came out in force on April 11, 2005, for a state capitol rally sponsored by PassengerRailOk.org. Keynote speaker, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett
Mick Cornett
Mick Cornett is the current Mayor of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. He also serves on notable positions including the national President of the Republican Mayors and Local Officials , and also serves on the Board of Trustees for the U.S. Conference of Mayors. He was also Chairman of the...

 addressed the crowd along with the mayors of Perry, Guthrie, and Purcell, Oklahoma, encouraging the state to expand the train into Kansas. State lawmakers kept the Heartland Flyer in operation by passing House Bill 1078 that provided an annual $2 million subsidy to continue the service.

Expansion proposals

Several proposals for extending the route of the Heartland Flyer or providing additional service over all or parts of its route have been made over the years. Expansion planning revolves around portions of the former Lone Star route and the state-owned route from Oklahoma City to Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 46th-largest city in the United States. With a population of 391,906 as of the 2010 census, it is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 937,478 residents in the MSA and 988,454 in the CSA. Tulsa's...

.

The line to Kansas City would stop at Wichita's Union Station and follow the route of Amtrak's Southwest Chief
Southwest Chief
The Southwest Chief is a passenger train operated by Amtrak on a 2256-mile BNSF route through the Midwestern and Southwestern United States. It runs from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California, passing through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and California...

north of Newton, Kansas
Newton, Kansas
Newton is a city in and the county seat of Harvey County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 19,132. Newton is located north of Wichita and is included in the Wichita metropolitan statistical area...

. Recent interest in Kansas and Oklahoma communities has been sparked by the proposal and many towns have released resolutions supporting the idea and requesting stations should the route ever be extended. Some of these cities include Wichita, which lost its train service with the discontinuance of the Amtrak Lone Star in 1979. Emporia was eliminated as an Amtrak stop in 2000 but may once again have a train station. Nearly a dozen other communities ranging in size from the tiny community of Strong City, Kansas
Strong City, Kansas
Strong City is a city in Chase County, Kansas, United States. It is named after William Barstow Strong, former president of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 485.-19th century:...

 (pop. 570), to Wichita, with nearly 358,000 residents have passed these resolutions.

A study conducted by Amtrak in 2009 resulted in four proposed service extensions:
  • Extend the current train north to Newton, Kansas
    Newton, Kansas
    Newton is a city in and the county seat of Harvey County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 19,132. Newton is located north of Wichita and is included in the Wichita metropolitan statistical area...

    , where passengers could connect with the Southwest Chief
    Southwest Chief
    The Southwest Chief is a passenger train operated by Amtrak on a 2256-mile BNSF route through the Midwestern and Southwestern United States. It runs from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California, passing through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and California...

    to both Chicago and Los Angeles, which stops in Newton in the middle of the night.
  • Add a second day train from Fort Worth to Kansas City, which would offer twice daily service over much of the route but wouldn't connect with other trains.
  • A variation of the first plan would extend the overnight train to Kansas City.
  • A variation of the second plan would terminate the day train at Oklahoma City, rather than operating all the way to Texas.


According the August 2010 issue of Trains Magazine
Trains (magazine)
Trains is a monthly magazine dedicated to trains and railroads, and is one of the two flagship publications of Kalmbach Publishing. The magazine is read both by railroad enthusiasts, commonly referred to as railfans, and those within the railroad industry....

, a combination of options one and two as noted above is not out of the question, either, allowing for day and night service, plus perhaps thru-car service to/from the Southwest Chief
Southwest Chief
The Southwest Chief is a passenger train operated by Amtrak on a 2256-mile BNSF route through the Midwestern and Southwestern United States. It runs from Chicago, Illinois, to Los Angeles, California, passing through Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and California...

.

During the 1990s, service to San Antonio, Texas, via Austin in conjunction with a reroute of the Texas Eagle west from Fort Worth to El Paso, Texas via Sierra Blanca was considered. This would have created another connection with the Sunset Limited
Sunset Limited
The Sunset Limited is a passenger train that for most of its history has run between New Orleans, Louisiana and Los Angeles, California, and that from early 1993 through late August 2005 also ran east of New Orleans to Jacksonville, Florida, making it during that time the only true transcontinental...

.

Part of the route used by the Heartland Flyer is designated by the USDOT
United States Department of Transportation
The United States Department of Transportation is a federal Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with transportation. It was established by an act of Congress on October 15, 1966, and began operation on April 1, 1967...

 as the South Central High Speed Rail Corridor and is slated to be upgraded to high-speed rail service should funding ever become available. The corridor extends from San Antonio, Texas, to Tulsa through Fort Worth and Oklahoma City. Another branch of this corridor extends from Fort Worth through Dallas to Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Little Rock is the capital and the largest city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The Metropolitan Statistical Area had a population of 699,757 people in the 2010 census...

.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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