by Morgan Montalvo
Travelers who prefer the train are asking the city’s help in convincing Amtrak to increase its east-west service through San Antonio, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The Rail Passengers Association wants Amtrak’s current Sunset Limited Route, which connects New Orleans and Los Angeles, to become a daily service, says Art Reinhardt with the city’s Transportation and Capital Improvements Dept. The route currently runs three days per week.
“There’s been a lot of growth along the I-10 Corridor here in Texas and elsewhere, also the increased traffic flow on I-10, so running that other mode is really what it’s about,” Reinhardt says.
Rail Passenger Association spokesman Bruce Ashton says the request for daily service is justified. “I would expect it’ll be both for leisure but also for people visiting their families,” says Ashton, “for veterans to get to the VA Hospital, you know, like for Alpine getting to El Paso or here to San Antonio. They need a better service.”
Ashton says, unlike road and air carriers, Amtrak offers amenities tailor-made for seniors or travelers with mobility challenges.
”Anybody who’s got an electric scooter – handicapped person – Amtrak’s the only one that can put it on board, right there by your chair. Amtrak has handicapped services; they have handicapped restrooms. They’re all on the lower level. No other service in Texas offers that,” says Ashton.
Approval for increased service would be decided by Amtrak and the U.S. Dept of Transportation and could take years for the go-ahead, Reinhardt says.