Promoting passenger trains as a transportation alternative in Florida since 1983.  We are citizens who advocate for Amtrak, commuter rail, intercity rail and transit for Florida's future.

FRA Long Distance Train Study: New Chicago-Florida Train, Comment Deadline March 8

17 Feb 2024 2:39 PM | Jackson McQuigg (Administrator)

For months now, the Federal Railroad Administration has been working on a study to identify new or restored long-distance passenger train routes

While many of the concepts within the preliminary version of the study are encouraging, there is room for improvement. 

For instance, a new Chicago-Miami train is proposed, but the study materials show it bypassing Tampa, presumably for operational reasons.

This is a curious choice. The Tampa Bay area--and Tampa specifically--represents one of the fastest growing major metropolitan cities in the United States.

Why not split the train into separate east coast and west coast sections after entering Florida, as was done in previous versions of Chicago to Florida service and the New York-Florida trains, to serve both coasts of the state? No backup move or dogleg would be required in the Chicago-Florida service were operated in sections. 

The City of Tampa and Amtrak recently have invested, or are investing, millions at Tampa Union Station for station renovations and a new high-level platforms.

We believe that FRA's route plan should take advantage of these fresh investments in rail infrastructure in Tampa, not avoid them--and we've said exactly that to FRA.

The meeting materials and route maps are here. We encourage you to review them.

You can comment on the FRA study at the study website.

The deadline to comment is March 8--so speak up now to make your voice heard!

--Jackson McQuigg 

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