WASHINGTON (AP) — Kansas ridership of Amtrak improved this year but slid by more than 5 percent in neighboring Missouri, the passenger rail service said.
Amtrak’s Chicago-to-Los Angeles Southwest Chief — a service that stops at six Kansas cities — served a record number of passengers, numbering more than 367,000, McClatchy Newspapers has reported. Kansas accounted for more than 49,000 of the passengers last year, up slightly over 2014.
Missouri’s state-supported River Runner between St. Louis and Kansas City had 10,000 fewer riders this year. That ridership totaled roughly 179,000 for the year that ended Sept. 30.
Nationwide, Amtrak carried 30.8 million passengers in 2015.
In addition to two daily round-trip trains between Kansas City and St. Louis, Missouri also is served by the long-distance Southwest Chief and the Texas Eagle. The Southwest Chief provides the only Amtrak service in Kansas, stopping in Lawrence, Topeka, Newton, Hutchinson, Dodge City and Garden City.
Tens of millions of dollars in repairs needed to the track across western Kansas clouded the Southwest Chief route’s future. But the federal government awarded $27.5 million in grants to Kansas in 2014 and Colorado this year to fix the track so the trains can maintain higher speeds and shorter travel times. Kansas, Amtrak, rail carrier BNSF and several cities along the route also contributed to the upgrades.
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