Our response to a discussion of east-west service on the Amtrak Unlimited online forum.
There have been a number of proposals over the years for east-west service, most recently (in 2020) done on behalf of the Washington legislature. You can find it, and AAWA's response on our website. While we had issues with some of their conclusions, they did confirm that such service is feasible, and they found considerable interest from local communities.
As you probably know, under current law, any new service under 750 miles in length would need to be paid for by the states through which it passes. This will be a difficult sell in most states. We testified to our legislature last month to ask for support, but it's unlikely to be taken up before 2023.
Meanwhile, however, we are part of a coalition that has successfully asked the Federal Railroad Administration to conduct a study (called for in the recently-passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) to conduct a study of restarting service on the old North Coast Hiawatha and Pioneer lines. See "Pending federal passenger rail study likely to include southern Montana route". These would be national services.
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