May 6th 2000, 9am – 3pm
Over 2,500 persons came to Phoenix Union Station to see the lightweight TALGO train, brand new buses, excursion trains, and a variety of exhibits about Arizona’s multi-modal future.
(Click to see Arizona TALGO Photos)
The train demonstrated passenger travel between Wickenburg and Glendale on May 4, and between Phoenix and Tucson on May 5th. With the Phoenix metro area ready to build light rail within its cities, there is no better time to consider
- Regional and commuter passenger train service to bring people to the central cities from outlying areas;
- Amtrak transcontinental service directly through Tucson and Phoenix, and daily trains to southern California;
- City and intercity buses and other public and private transit… all working together.
Greetings from ADOT Director Mary Peters
“A growing state like Arizona needs to work on future transportation challenges right now. Governor Jane Dee Hull and I are committed to exploring a variety of methods for moving people and products across our state. We call it a “multimodal” approach to transportation.
Passenger rail is one form of transit that deserves our attention.
That’s why ADOT and the Arizona Rail Passenger Association (ARPA) have worked with Amtrak to bring the modern “Talgo” train here for a special weekend visit. Providing a “hands-on” tour of such equipment is a great way to get Arizonans thinking about the future. We thank you for being part of the experience.”
Greetings from ARPA President William Lindley
Welcome to TRANSPO 2000, where you will learn about the future of multimodal transportation in Arizona. On behalf of the Arizona Rail Passenger Association, I’d like to extend a special thanks to our Trip Sponsors, Event Sponsors, Exhibitors, and volunteers.
“Multimodal” means, simply, that it is people, not automobiles, who need to be able to move about. Along with roads and highways, other modes such as bicycles, buses, and trains can be joined into a comprehensive system within and between our cities and towns. Trains like Today’s TALGO could provide convenient trips between Phoenix and Tucson, and even to places like Wickenburg or Nogales. The system could also include commuter trains, light rail, and buses in our metropolitan areas, as well as Amtrak transcontinental service directly through Tucson and Phoenix, and daily trains to southern California. Let today’s TRANSPO 2000 be the beginning of a multimodal Arizona.
Text of the Souvenir Program
Transportation between Phoenix and Tucson is of vital interest to the State’s economy. Convenient and fast travel of people plus the free flow of goods are essential for the State’s commerce, tourism, employment, industry and overall growth and development. A number of rail studies have been done over the past decade, most recently the 1998 High Speed Rail Feasibility Study. That study did find that providing rail passenger service as a companion to car travel is feasible along the Phoenix to Tucson corridor. Such rail service obviously would have to be implemented in stages. The next step in ADOT’s program is to gauge interest and line up funding for a Design Concept Report that would more accurately define cost estimates.
Just as cities such as Portland, Dallas, and San Diego have benefited greatly from the opening of their light rail lines and the expansion of their bus systems, cities and states also rediscovering similar regional benefits from the provision of rail passenger service such as that being demonstrated by this Amtrak Talgo. The sponsors of this weekend’s events seek to introduce Arizona’s citizens and decision makers to this concept. Talgo is one of several state-of-the-art passenger rail technologies being adopted by various state and regional agencies to bring trains back to their areas.
Passenger trains first linked Phoenix and Tucson on July 4, 1887 when the Maricopa and Phoenix Railroad had entered the city, leaving the Southern Pacific main line near the site of the present day Ak Chin Casino on the Gila River Indian Community, and following the Maricopa Road alignment to the current I-10/Chandler Boulevard area. From there, the Union Pacific’s Tempe Industrial Lead branch, a surviving M&P remnant, continues to downtown Tempe. The current route follows the M&P alignment from Bank One Ballpark to approximately one mile south of Tempe Town Lake.
John N. Irwin, territorial governor from 1890 to 1892, declared that railroads and capital were needed in the territory. He stated: “We need greatly enlarged facilities for transportation in order to get our products to market. With an area equal to New York State and New England combined, we have only 1,100 miles of railroads. It is owing to this lack of transportation that Arizona is today perhaps, the least known of all the possessions of the United States.”
Shortly thereafter, as if in response to Governor Irwin’s concerns, the Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix completed its line from the Santa Fe Railway mainline at Ash Fork via Wickenburg and Glendale to Phoenix.
As a condition of its acquisition of the El Paso & Southwestern Railroad, which had intended on building its own line to Phoenix, the Southern Pacific completed its Phoenix Main Line in November, 1926, and storied transcontinentals such as the Sunset Limited and the Golden State Limited began calling at Phoenix’s new Union Station, opened just three years previous.
Amtrak took over the Sunset Limited in 1971 and continued three-days-per-week service between Phoenix and Tucson until 1996. In March 1980, Amtrak and the Arizona Department of Transportation, operated the popular “Hattie B.” commuter train for two weeks until Salt River road crossings closed by flooding were reopened. Surveys taken at the time indicated that commuters were open minded about rail as a permanent part of the Valley’s transit solution. Citizens of Tempe and Phoenix, which were served by the Hattie B,subsequently voted to fund mass transit development and expansion in 1996 and 2000, respectively. Santa Fe merged with Burlington Northern in 1996, and Union Pacific acquired Southern Pacific in 1997.
- Amtrak West
- Arizona Department of Transportation
- Arizona Short Line RR Association
- Arizona Transit Association
- Grand Canyon Railway
- Maricopa Association of Governments
- National Park Service
- Grand Canyon National Park (Light Rail)
- Operation LifeSaver
- City of Phoenix, Public Transit Department
- Plaza de Maricopa – Jackson St. County Complex Redevelopment
- Tempe Transit
- City of Tucson Depot Master Plan and Old Pueblo Trolley
- Valley Connections (RPTA)
- Verde Canyon Railroad
- AJ’s Fine Foods
- Arizona Consulting Engineers Association
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Arizona Public Service
- Arizona Rail Passenger Association
- Arizona Rock Products Association
- Associated General Contractors
- Maricopa County
- City of Phoenix
- Poore Brothers Foods
- Salt River Project
- ADOT Press Release, 11 May 2000
- “Sleek Talgo train needs rail improvements” Bob Petrie, The Arizona Republic 9 May 2000, page B2. QUOTE: Phoenix-Tucson “is a natural travel corridor. It’s cheaper to build rails than freeways… As traffic congestion builds on the roads, trains can zip right on through. The Talgo can be a wonderful ride. It just needs to be put on the right track.”
- Train shows its stuff: Advocates dreaming of rail service By Mary Jo Pitzl, The Arizona Republic 6 May 2000, page B1. QUOTE: “Passenger rail service briefly returned to Phoenix on Friday, powered by the hopes of rail advocates who want to restore intercity service to Tucson. Amtrak officials say regular rail service between Arizona’s two largest cities will return, although no one should pack his bags yet. Increased traffic on Interstate 10 propels rail prospects, but the lack of money holds it back. Still, said Gil Mallery, president of Amtrak West, the resumption of intercity rail is a question of ‘when, not if.’”
- “The engine of change: Phoenix-Tucson run shows what could be if money can be found for high-speed train” Arizona Daily Star, 6 May 2000, page A1.
- Tucson-Phoenix train not exactly on the fast track by Michael R. Graham, Tucson Citizen, 6 May 2000. QUOTE: “A pair of parallel steel rails is the path to relieving congestion along the Interstate 10 corridor between Tucson and Phoenix, transportation and state officials believe. But there’s a catch. Money and the lack of it. Amtrak, the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Arizona Rail Passenger Association yesterday unveiled the future of travel between the state’s two largest cities.”
- “Rail enthusiasts push high-speed link to Tucson: Slick Amtrak Talgo train will cruise into Phoenix for transportation fair.” East Valley Tribune 3 May 2000, page A1.