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An interesting article on why Amtrak may change the route of the Southwest Chief and the fight to save the old route by towns along the way. What surprised me most was the article quoting Amtrak as saying that BNSF tracks needs upgrading to maintain 79mph speeds. Can any locals comment about the tracks?
I don't know about track conditions in Kansas, but I do know that there are numerous slow orders in effect along the route between "new" Waldo Jct. (where the new commuter line to Santa Fe diverges from the route) to Trinidad, CO. There may also be slow-ordered segments from Trinidad to La Junta and from La Junta further east to the CO-KS state line as well. Much of the route is still ABS (with a few CTC "islands") and would require a complete upgrade to CTC in order to permit PTC installation later on.
Does anybody know if the Southwest Chief transfers to the BNSF transcon route through Amarillo, will the trip take less time? If it stays on the present track, the states are unlikely to fund improvement.
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