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Officials test the tracks on Amtrak train

Amtrak makes rare pass through Wichita

An Amtrak train made a stop in downtown Wichita June, 2017 for the first time since the late 1970s. Several communities along the I-35 corridor between Dallas and Wichita are trying to get Amtrak to begin service through the area.
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An Amtrak train made a stop in downtown Wichita June, 2017 for the first time since the late 1970s. Several communities along the I-35 corridor between Dallas and Wichita are trying to get Amtrak to begin service through the area.

Passenger rail service in Wichita hasn’t existed since 1979, but on Friday, the city got a sneak peek at what it might look like if it ever returns.

At 11:55 a.m., an Amtrak passenger train carrying officials from several cities in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, along with officials from Amtrak and the Burlington Northern/Santa Fe railway, arrived to a large cheering crowd on the platform of Wichita’s Union Station.

Several people boarded the train in Wichita and took a short ride to Newton, where yet another crowd was on hand to greet them.

“I was a little nervous how this was going to come off,” said Wichita City Council member Pete Meitzner.

“But we’ve been warmly received on every stop.”

City and county officials have been trying for years to get Amtrak to return to the Wichita market. Currently, the nearest passenger rail service is out of Newton on an Amtrak line that runs between Chicago and Los Angeles.

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