Amtrak to Exit Phoenix November 1st, 1995
– Bill Lindley, Editor
Hopes for a railroad merger keeping passenger service in the Valley of the Sun may not come to pass, at least in the short term.
ARPA sources have now confirmed that Amtrak intends to leave Phoenix, Tempe, and Coolidge. With the pending merger between the Southern Pacific and the Union Pacific, there has been little comment from either about plans for the Phoenix West line.
Thus, after SP’s indication of intent to downgrade or abandon the line, and without any sort of commitment yet available from UP, Amtrak apparently believes continuation of passenger rail service to Phoenix does not make business sense at this time.
It is the responsibility of the Arizona Rail Passenger Association to ensure the best possible future for rail passenger transportation here. Rail service will continue through Tucson, Yuma, and Flagstaff. Even if service leaves the Valley, ARPA must work to keep the rail infrastructure in good condition. This will be crucial if a regional rail system is to emerge here.
The November 1995 Railway Age notes in its region- by-region commuter rail status list that trains will not be coming to Tempe and Phoenix for Superbowl ’96. It also posits that given a lack of political support here, regional rail will not come to Arizona for ten or fifteen years when Phoenix population has grown to over three million and highway congestion has increased to intolerable levels.
One way to avoid this dim vision of public transportation in the Valley is to do whatever is necessary to bring regional rail in any form here as quickly as possible.
I believe that ARPA, to further this goal, should
- use the data from the 1993 Kimley-Horn report, from continued operation of systems like Los Angeles’ Metrolink, and from new starts like San Diego’s Coaster, to revise and expand the 1992 White Paper;
- build on the political experience gained during the operation of the Joint Legislative Study Committee; and
- define and strive for the implementation of a technically, financially, and politically feasible regional rail system which realistically can be built and in operation before the ten or fifteen years posited by Railway Age.
The last Amtrak train to depart Phoenix next spring must not leave ARPA without a mission to fulfill.
West Line Disposition
Documents obtained from Southern Pacific read as follows: “Public notice is hereby given, on behalf of the Southern Pacific Transportation Company, that the following is a black and white copy of an amended
System Diagram Map showing categories of its rail lines in accordance with the regulations of the Interstate Commerce Commission (49 C.F.R. Section 1152.10 – 1152.15).
“Southern Pacific Transportation Company will furnish any interested party, upon the payment of $2.00 per map, a copy of this black and white amended map or, upon payment of $5.00 per map, a color-coded copy. Address map requests to SYSTEM DIAGRAM MAPS, Southern Pacific Lines, One Market Plaza, Room 846, San Francisco, CA 94105.”
Identifier # 616.1. Phoenix Line, Map # 12. State: Arizona; Counties: Maricopa, Yuma; Milepost locations 770.0 near Wellton to 861.3 near Arlington. “The abandonment does not include active industries located at Wellton or Arlington.”
The map shows the line from Arlington to Wellton (west of Roll) as “Lines anticipated to be subject of abandonment applications within three years.” Interestingly, Phoenix has been misplaced, and is shown in the Litchfield position.