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Could commuter rail ever reach Tuscon from Phoenix? Would not require much new track work.

There has been some efforts made to make that happen. For Amtrak, it would setup a situation similar to Caltrain in the San Francisco area. In that case, Amtrak still busses passengers from Oakland to San Francisco rather than advertise Caltrain from San Jose, although some passengers use it anyway when coming from points south on the CS. When coming from the north/east, it is very roundabout. I made the connection from Caltrain to the northbound CS in December, but very few passengers would make that choice unless they have a strong hate for busses.

 

I suppose it could be easy for Amtrak to make CalTrain a Thruway Service, though that would involve paper tickets unless they can come to some sort of understanding on CalTrain accepting Amtrak eTicket bar/QR codes.

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Fixing the Welton branch would probably only come with the Sunset becoming a daily train ?

And either fixing up the tracks through Phoenix *or* running a daily train would require political support from Arizona, which is signally lacking. (Which is why Amtrak doesn't serve Phoenix right now.)

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n terms of political will, I think there may be light at the end of the tunnel here: AZ is trending Democratic in recent elections, and if this trend continues, soon pro-rail officials could be elected to state and federal offices in AZ. That would probably increase the likelihood of funding being dedicated to fixing up the Wellton Branch.

While you might be right, Arizona's trend is moving very slowly. Nevada, New Hampshire, and Florida are all shifting faster.

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He's not the big roadblock. Look at the Arizona Governor and the legislature. :-(

 

For contrast, look at New Mexico.

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Well, so many regular folks have absolutely no clue about passenger rail. At a church group breakfast last year, a gentleman was going on and on about If a train was to come to the area how it would bring so many homeless people, degrading the real estate market. I asked how. His response and now quite a few others too, the only people who ride trains are the homeless. Asked where they got this notion, they pointed to the anti rail proponents who work nationally. I asked them if the 30 plus million who ride just Amtrak are homeless, if the 100k who ride trains daily in the Chicago area are homeless, and who pays the billions of dollars for these "homeless" people to ride. I was told the government pays Amtrak almost 2 Billon a year to carry them.

 

Now my friends know better, agree that in this area so many are ignorant. It has gotten now, that when ever I take a long trip, especially with one of my granddaughters, they all want to hear about the trip in detail. I managed to get my doctor to take his family on a trip this past summer to California. They loved it, but I also prepared them well so they could handle any issue that might come up. He has a couple photos up of them on the train.

 

I think the pro rail group needs to do better marketing in the anti rail states. Even a Govenor who very anti rail, notices when more and more communications from the voters request passenger rail.

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