Amtrak could be rolling its way through the Black Hills

Amtrak could be rolling its way through the Black Hills
Published: Oct. 27, 2023 at 8:21 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Amtrak covers 21,000 miles of track and operates up to 300 trains per day, and those numbers could be increasing. The Federal Railroad Administration is looking into bringing Amtrak to South Dakota.

Existing railways would be used for the Amtrak routes. Although they are looking to expand Amtrak’s routes, it could still be a couple of years before anything is in the works. The federal study is due to Congress next spring and it will be up to Congress to decide if they want to implement service.

“They’re only looking at where this is existing rail infrastructures, such as RCPE line or the Badlands route that are the different opportunities they would have to look at getting passenger rail service here,” said Dan Bilka, president, All Aboard Northwest.

Last year, Amtrak carried 22.9 million passengers, and if more routes are added this could bring more tourists to the Black Hills.

“It would benefit the tourism industry. It would provide alternative transportation methods for people who can’t afford a car or who have disabilities or mobility challenges. It would definitely improve access to Rapid City’s healthcare hub. We’re a regional hub that provides services to a five-state area. That would help bring people to Rapid City to receive those services,” said Garth Wadsworth, public policy director, Elevate Rapid City.

Wadsworth says that adding an Amtrak route would be beneficial to Rapid City because it would bring in more people to the Black Hills and help alleviate traffic by offering a public transit option.

If you would like to know more about the study, you can click here.