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Amtrak backs CP-KCS merger after reaching deal for service expansions

By Bill Stephens | January 6, 2022

CP supports new Amtrak service in Midwest, South

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gray and blue passenger train passes next to red locomotive pulling freight train
gray and blue passenger train passes next to red locomotive pulling freight train
Amtrak’s Empire Builder passes a Canadian Pacific freight train in Milwaukee, where CP has agreed to host additional passenger service. (Canadian Pacific)

WASHINGTON – Canadian Pacific today won Amtrak’s support for its proposed merger with Kansas City Southern after CP and Amtrak reached a deal to expand passenger service in the Midwest and South.

CP agreed to more frequent Amtrak service on the Hiawatha route linking Chicago and Milwaukee, as well as extending the corridor to St. Paul, Minn., with the addition of a daily Chicago-Milwaukee-St. Paul train. CP also said it would host passenger service from Michigan to Ontario via its Detroit River Tunnel.

Subject to approval of the merger, CP agreed to the launch of Amtrak service on KCS’s route between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La. CP also said it would work with the Southern Rail Commission to study passenger service linking Meridian, Miss., and Dallas via the KCS Meridian Speedway.

“Given CP’s consistent record as an Amtrak host, we support CP’s proposal to expand its network,” Amtrak President Stephen Gardner said in a statement. “This is exactly what Congress and the Administration are seeking: Amtrak and the freight railroads working together to benefit freight customers, Amtrak passengers, our state/regional partners and the general public.”

CP CEO Keith Creel thanked Amtrak for its support. “CP is pleased to continue to support Amtrak and its infrastructure projects to provide capacity needed to accommodate additional service,” Creel said in a statement.

CP has consistently received an A rating from Amtrak in its annual host railroad report card, recognizing its industry-leading on-time performance record. CP is also the first Class I railroad to complete certification of its Amtrak schedules to the Surface Transportation Board.

Transportation officials in Minnesota and Wisconsin applauded the agreement, as did the Southern Rail Commission.

“We appreciate the work Amtrak is doing to unite more of the south with passe

nger trains, from Mobile to New Orleans to Baton Rouge and now opening the door in this agreement to directly connect Mississippi and Louisiana with Texas on the I-20 Corridor,” said SRC Chairman Knox Ross of Mississippi.

“The SRC continues to be impressed by CP welcoming the start of new Amtrak service west of New Orleans to Baton Rouge, while other railroads have fought new Amtrak service,” Knox added, referring to Amtrak’s standoff with CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern about new service between Mobile, Ala., and New Orleans.

12 thoughts on “Amtrak backs CP-KCS merger after reaching deal for service expansions

  1. Haha. Where is Amtrak going to get the equipment and the crews, when they cannot run present schedules with full consists or crews?

  2. Amtrak Midwest is getting new cars, which could displace some Amfleet and Horizon cars. There may also still be a couple of Talgos available.

  3. Lots of good news in this article but it would take time and money to implement.

    The Michigan to Toronto service via the Detroit River Tunnel is intriguing. A slow, indirect route on the Detroit side. Probably would have to wait for the proposed new Detroit train station. Before the border was closed there were trainloads of Michiganders travelling to Toronto from CNR Windsor Walkerville station. Sounds years in the future.

  4. As the Siemens cars come into service it will free up equipment currently being used. I will be interested to see how the Siemens cars hold up to a truly harsh winter test. Rave reviews on them with Brightline. But how will they handle a string of sub zero days and heavy snow. I hope for the best. The current equipment has it’s problems in harsh winter weather. The plus side with the Siemens equipment is that it is already in production and ordering more will not be an issue.

    1. Well, Siemens has already delivered their very similar sets to VIA for Toronto-Montreal operation, so you’ll have your answer pretty quick.

  5. Al D, The second Chicago-Twin Cities frequency is not scheduled to start until early 2024. 2022 and 2023 will be consumed doing the necessary physical upgrades to the CP in Minnesota and at La Crosse. Plenty of time for the new Midwest equipment to get into service.

  6. CP encouraging psgr service. Hard to believe. Since the 1950’s they did everything possible to crush it. BEWARE!!! They’re doing this only because they need to get approval from the regulators’ approval.

  7. Good to see but nothing happens over night. The soonest I see would probably be the additional Chicago-Milwaukee within a year or so then on to St. Paul. As Charles said Detroit is intriguing.

  8. Regarding how the Amtrak Siemens cars with hold up to winter conditions: These cars are based on the Siemens Viaggio cars used on ÖBB Railjets. Among other countries, these trains run in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, which are not the warmest european states. And they are extremely comfortable cars.

  9. It is a genuinely rare win-win situation in the 21st century North American passenger and freight railroading. Let us hope rail cases like this keep happening!

    Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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