Communities in western Kansas upgraded their railroad tracks within the past two years in an effort to retain and improve passenger rail service. And a year ago this week, a new bus service was added between Newton, Wichita and the Amrak line in Oklahoma City – with hopes of converting it to train service one day. But now President Donald Trump’s proposed budget could eliminate several long-distance train routes – including the Southwest Chief, which runs through Garden City, Dodge City, Hutchinson, Newton, Topeka and Lawrence. “Newton serves a region, and we also have the largest ridership in Kansas on the Southwest Chief line,” said Newton Mayor Barth Hague. “It represents a piece of economic vitality of Newton.” But maybe not for long. – Phillip Brownlee
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