Representatives of the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), the City of California, Union Pacific Railroad, and Amtrak on Dec. 8 officially opened a new $8.1 million, 9,000-foot railroad side track that adds capacity on the route used by Amtrak's Missouri River Runner trains between Kansas City and St. Louis.
The new siding is located just west of California, Mo. It is expected to unclog a major "bottleneck" that was caused by a 25-mile stretch of single-track by allowing slower freight trains to move off the main line. and permit faster Amtrak trains to pass.
"Freight rail traffic growth on the Kansas City to St. Louis rail corridor has been steady over the years and caused that the corridor to experience capacity constraints. Union Pacific has invested more than $400 million in track capacity and maintenance projects since 1999 to help increase capacity on this corridor," said Ben Jones, Union Pacific Railroad's director - public affairs - Missouri and Kansas. "All of us at Union Pacific look forward to working with MoDOT on more public/private partnerships like this one, which benefits everyone across Missouri."
The location was chosen after a University of Missouri study that MoDOT commissioned estimated that a siding in this area would annually reduce delays to Amtrak trains by the largest amount on the rail line between Kansas City and Jefferson City. Two other future improvement locations are in the Knob Noster and Strasburg areas.
MoDOT secured $4.8 million in state funds for this project, complemented by a $3.3 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration.