Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and Amtrak announced an agreement today, with the passenger railroad supporting the proposed combination of CP and Kansas City Southern (KCS) railways in exchange for the Class I’s support for Amtrak’s long-term vision for growth.
The agreement centers around the Midwest and the South, where CP and KCS have extensive networks. In the Midwest, CP has committed to supporting at least three corridor expansion efforts:
- Increased frequency on Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee.
- Extending Hiawatha Service from Milwaukee to St. Paul, Minn., to create a second round-trip on the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago corridor.
- Amtrak service through the Detroit River Tunnel between Michigan and Ontario to Windsor and Toronto (with connections to VIA Rail Canada).
In the South, subject to the successful acquisition of KCS, CP pledged its support for the following projects:
- Establishing Amtrak service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La.
- Studying the potential for Amtrak service between Meridian, MS., and Dallas, TX.
Rail Passengers is encouraged by the cooperation on display between the two railroads, which will be essential in translating the increased funding in the recently-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill into meaningful improvements for America’s passengers.
“The passage of the Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act by Congress was a necessary step towards the revitalization of the U.S. passenger rail system -- but only the first step,” said Rail Passengers President & CEO Jim Mathews. “A constructive working partnership between passenger operators and host railroads is a critical element for the addition of new corridors, additional frequencies, and upgraded service. We applaud the work done by Amtrak and CP that laid the foundation for this agreement, and expect to hear many more announcements regarding this kind of partnership.”
The heads of the two railroads issued statements hailing the agreement.
“We are proud of the success we have achieved as a host railroad providing industry-leading service to Amtrak on our lines,” said Keith Creel, CP President and Chief Executive Officer. “We thank Amtrak for its support of our historic combination, which will have no adverse effects on intercity passenger service. CP is pleased to continue to support Amtrak and its infrastructure projects to provide capacity needed to accommodate additional service.”
“CP has been an excellent host of Amtrak intercity passenger service year after year and has established itself as a leader in the railroad industry,” said Stephen J. Gardner, Amtrak President. “We welcome CP’s commitment to our efforts with states and others to expand Amtrak service and are pleased to have reached an agreement formalizing CP’s support of Amtrak expansion in the Midwest and the South.”
The move was also hailed by state and regional transportation authorities.
“We appreciate Amtrak’s efforts to provide additional intercity passenger rail service that will benefit the people and economies of both Minnesota and Wisconsin,” said Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Margaret Anderson Kelliher. “Once complete, the second daily round trip between Saint Paul and Chicago is expected to improve existing infrastructure and provide increased choice for residents traveling between some of our major cities – with stops in towns and cities of all sizes along the way.”
“WisDOT looks forward to continue working with Minnesota DOT, Illinois DOT, Amtrak, CP, and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to implement planned additional daily passenger trains on the Twin Cities-Milwaukee-Chicago and Milwaukee-Chicago Amtrak Hiawatha Service routes,” said Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Craig Thompson. “The agreement between Amtrak and CP facilitates the realization of the full benefits of WisDOT’s FRA grants for the Twin Cities-Milwaukee Chicago Intercity Passenger Rail Project and the Muskego Yard Freight Bypass of Milwaukee Intermodal Station Project. Amtrak and CP continue to be strong partners in our efforts to achieve improved transportation options for rural and urban areas across Wisconsin.”
“We appreciate the work Amtrak is doing to unite more of the south with passenger 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.”
Canadian National Railway (CN) previously attempted to merge with KCS, but the Surface Transportation Board unanimously rejected the merger in 2021 -- at least in part due to CN’s poor handling of passenger trains.