The momentum for the passenger train Amtrak stopping in Guthrie is once again moving full speed ahead.
Last June, citizens from Guthrie took part in an inspection trip from Oklahoma City to Kansas City in hopes of expanding public transportation opportunities for residents now and in the future. Related article: Video: Amtrak makes it way through Guthrie; hopes to restore service to KC
On Tuesday, the Guthrie city council voted unanimously to continue their support of extending the Amtrak passenger rail service between Oklahoma City and Newton, KS with a natural stop in Guthrie.
“We have been fighting this for 25 years. It’s something that we need,” Councilman Jeff Taylor said. “It will work. If it ever gets started.”
Currently, daily passenger rail service is provided by Amtrak from Oklahoma City south to Fort Worth thanks to a joint operating agreement with the Oklahoma (ODOT) and Texas (TDOT) Departments of Transportation.
Now, the Kansas Department of Transportation, after plenty of encouragement from ODOT and TDOT, announced they will be conducting a feasibility study exploring whether to connect the rail system from Oklahoma City to Wichita and Newton, KS.
Amtrak discontinued passenger rail availability to and from Wichita in 1979 after more than 60 years of service. A timetable for the feasibility study is not yet known.
If the route is expanded, Guthrie would highly likely become a primary stop for the rail service. The route would also connect with the current Southwest Chief route from Chicago to Los Angeles.
“Hopefully, this will become a deal in the next couple years, but part of it comes from state funding and we all know what’s going on in our state,” Taylor said.
Santa Fe Depot under contract
Guthrie resident Adam Ropp informed council members he is in the final stages of owning the old Santa Fe Depot, which is just a few steps away from the train rails. He says he has come to terms and is awaiting final inspection.
Ropp says he has been in conversations with Amtrak and has been told unofficially if a passenger stop was in place in Guthrie they would make it a stop.
“They said they would only be interested in stopping if there is a viable depot in operation,” Ropp said.
Ropp added in addition to a rail stop, he hopes to add a restaurant, photography studio and office space to the depot.
Video below is from June 2017.