Missouri River Runner
A Missouri River Runner at Kirkwood, MO in 2010.
Overview
Service typeInter-city rail
LocaleMissouri
PredecessorMules
Ann Rutledge
First serviceJanuary 28, 2009
Current operator(s)Amtrak
Ridership490 daily
178,915 total (FY15)[1]
Route
StartKansas City
Stops8
EndSt. Louis
Distance travelled283 mi (455 km)
Average journey time5 hours, 40 minutes
Service frequency2 daily round trips
Train number(s)311, 313, 314, 316[2]
On-board services
Class(es)Coach and Business
Seating arrangementsAirline-style coach seating
Catering facilitiesOn-board café
Technical
Rolling stockHorizon and Amfleet I coaches
Siemens Charger or GE Genesis locomotives
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
ElectrificationNo
Operating speed50 mph (80 km/h) (average)
Track owner(s)Union Pacific Railroad

The Missouri River Runner is a 283-mile (455 km) passenger train route operated by Amtrak running between Gateway Transportation Center in St. Louis and Kansas City Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri. Four trains operate daily (two round trips) on this route: 311 and 313 westbound, and 314 and 316 eastbound.[2]

History

The Missouri River Runner route was previously served by the Missouri Mules (known as the Kansas City Mule westbound and the St. Louis Mule eastbound) and the Ann Rutledge under the Missouri Service brand. The Missouri Service, in turn, ran along the former main line of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Several of MoPac's St. Louis–Kansas City trains continued onward to Omaha and Denver. Missouri Pacific was acquired by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1983.

When Amtrak took over nationwide passenger service in 1971, the route became the western leg of the National Limited, which originated in New York. This was the first passenger train on the route to originate at a point east of the Mississippi River. It was the successor of the famed Spirit of St. Louis, which was extended to Kansas City after Amtrak's formation and renamed later in 1971.

When the National Limited was canceled in 1979, the only train serving the St. Louis–Kansas City corridor was the Chicago–Kansas City Ann Rutledge. Missouri officials pressed for the introduction of the Mules in order to maintain and improve service between St. Louis and Kansas City. Over the ensuing years of state subsidy, additional station stops were established at Washington, Hermann, Lee's Summit and Independence.

The Ann Rutledge had previously been part of both the Missouri Service and Illinois Service, but had its eastern terminus cut back to St. Louis in 2006. This gave the St. Louis–Kansas City route two daily round trips on a schedule similar to the last pre-Amtrak MoPac service. The Chicago–St. Louis State House connected once per day with the Ann Rutledge to continue through service from Chicago to Kansas City.

In 1984, Amtrak's Jefferson City depot and ticket office was moved from the former MoPac station to a renovated historic building east of the depot but closer to the Missouri State Capitol. It was hoped the relocated station would allow tourists and others easier access to the state government buildings. Jefferson City is not on an Interstate Highway; the nearest airport is in Columbia. The revived station stop at Hermann was instituted in similar fashion to encourage use of Amtrak for access the city's popular German festivals.

In 2008, Amtrak and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) decided to merge the Mules and Ann Rutledge into a single route. The name of the new route was announced in January 2009 as part of the "Name The Train" contest held by MoDOT.[3][4] The winning name was submitted by Keith Kohler of Glendale, Missouri; it reflects the fact that the route largely parallels the Missouri River. The other finalists were Missouri Rail Blazer, ShowMeMO, Truman Service and River Cities Corridor. The service is financed primarily through funds made available by MoDOT.[5]

In November 2009, Amtrak and Union Pacific completed an $8.1 million 9,000 feet (2,700 m) passing loop near California, Missouri, designed to improve performance along the route. It was funded by the state of Missouri and the Federal Railroad Administration and has been credited with helping to improve Amtrak's on-time performance.[6][7] Due to these improvements, on-time performance has increased from less than 70% to 95%.[8][9]

During fiscal year 2015, the service carried a total of 178,915 passengers, a 5.5% decrease from FY 2014's total of 189,402 passengers.[1] The trains had a total revenue of $5,108,200 during FY 2015, a decrease of 4.4% from FY 2014's total of $5,341,229.[1]

As of October 1, 2013, Amtrak cannot use its federal operating grant to share the cost of the Missouri River Runner route, because the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 does not allow cost-sharing on any route shorter than 750 miles (1,210 km).[10] By 2020, the State of Missouri owed Amtrak $6.5 million in unpaid bills in addition to that year's contract amount for continued service.[11]

In March 2020, service was reduced to one round trip per day due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amtrak and MoDOT restored the route's second daily round trip on July 19, 2021.[12]

One daily Runner round trip connects with the Chicago–St. Louis Lincoln Service, successor of the State House.

Equipment used

The Missouri River Runner consists of the following:[13]

Route

Amtrak Missouri River Runner (interactive map)
Amtrak Missouri River Runner (interactive map)

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Amtrak FY15 Ridership & Revenue" (PDF). Amtrak. November 5, 2015. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Amtrak Service in Illinois and Missouri" (PDF). Amtrak. October 14, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2013.
  3. ^ "Missouri River Runner". Amtrak.
  4. ^ "Name The Train". Missouri Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on April 16, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2009.
  5. ^ "Missouri Amtrak trains get a new name". USA Today. January 28, 2009. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  6. ^ Miller, Kermit (December 8, 2009). "State officials dedicate new rail to Amtrak". KRCG. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  7. ^ "New siding eliminates Amtrak, UP bottleneck in Missouri". ProgressiveRailroading.com. December 9, 2009. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  8. ^ "Missouri River Runner". Amtrak. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  9. ^ "Amtrak Delivers a 100 Percent On-Time Performance During Busy Holiday Week" (Press release). Missouri Department of Transportation. December 3, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  10. ^ "Amtrak Expects to Continue Route Between St. Louis, KC". Washington Missourian. May 15, 2013. Retrieved June 7, 2013. ...effective Oct. 1 Amtrak won't be able to use its federal operating grant to help share the cost of routes that are shorter than 750 miles with states, due to the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which Congress passed in 2008.
  11. ^ Crowley, Brendan (January 25, 2020). "State owes Amtrak millions". News Tribune. Retrieved January 26, 2020.
  12. ^ Skipworth, Kurt (July 22, 2021). "Amtrak service returns to four trains a day". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved August 6, 2021.
  13. ^ "Missouri River Runner". TrainWeb. Retrieved October 22, 2010.

Route map: