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Amtrak

Passenger trains will keep rolling through rural communities in Kansas, for now. But Amtrak still hasn’t committed to operating the long-distance routes that connect small towns to larger cities long-term.

Earlier this year, Congress agreed to an additional $50 million to keep the Southwest Chief, which travels from Chicago to Los Angeles with stops in several small Kansas cities, running through September.

Long-running frustration about Amtrak’s willingness to keep a rail passenger line running through remote parts of the country has politicians threatening to block new directors to the agency.

A handful of U.S. senators demanded specifics by this week about how Amtrak plans to spend an added $50 million to keep the Southwest Chief line running from Chicago, through Kansas, to Los Angeles.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3FM

When Robert Vollrath was a boy, trains stopped in the small town of Holden, Missouri. These days plenty of trains blow through town, but one hasn't stopped since 1970. But Vollrath has an idea. If he paints enough murals of local war veterans facing the tracks, Amtrak riders will want to stop in Holden.

It's a plan that keeps him out in all kinds of weather.

Amtrak may end passenger rail service through Dodge City, Garden City and destinations to the west.

The agency told a congressional delegation last week that it might shut down parts of the Southwest Chief route that runs across Kansas on its way between Chicago and Los Angeles. That news followed ongoing disputes about track maintenance and upgrades.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board say an agricultural truck collided with railroad tracks near Cimarron, Kan., prior to an Amtrak train derailing in the same area.

Jim Ramnes / CC-Flickr

An Amtrak train carrying more than 200 people arrived in Chicago early Monday morning, Jan. 6, after the bitterly cold weather stopped it for more than eight hours. 

In the latest edition of 90-Mile View, Amtrak engineer and conductor Eric Peterson talks with Up to Date host Steve Kraske about the effects of the recent country-wide deep-freeze on railroad operations. Peterson has previously appeared on the program to share his love of trains and tales from the tracks.

90 Mile View: Eric Peterson

Jul 29, 2013
Danie Alexander / KCUR-FM

On Sunday evening, July 21, the eastbound Amtrak train, The River Runner, struck an SUV in Warrensburg, MO. Injured in the crash were a 42-year old woman and her 3-year old granddaughter both of whom remain in Kansas City area hospitals.

Eric Peterson is an engineer for Amtrak and previously on 90-Mile View has shared his love of trains and tales from the tracks with us. Today he talks with Steve Kraske about the steps Amtrak employees take when accidents like this occur.

Siemens

Trains have been making news lately, both good and bad.  Amtrak engineer Eric Peterson can relate.

Danie Alexander / KCUR-FM

How many of us followed a childhood dream into the job of our dreams?  Eric Peterson did.