List of major cities in U.S. lacking inter-city rail service

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Several major cities and regional business centers in the continental United States lack Amtrak or some form of inter-city passenger rail service. Four of these metropolitan areas boast more than one million residents. However, some of these cities may be served by Thruway Motorcoach. Other than the service provided by the Alaska Railroad, there is no U.S. based long-distance passenger rail service outside of 46 of the contiguous states and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. There is no inter-city passenger rail service to the states of South Dakota or Wyoming. For purposes of this list, a city is considered served if it is within 30 miles of an Amtrak or other inter-city passenger rail station. Unless otherwise noted, the provider of the last passenger service noted in each of the following cities was Amtrak. A partial list of the cities with a population of over 100,000 that are not served by some form of inter-city rail service is as follows (in order by decreasing population of metropolitan area):[1][2]

City Metropolitan area population (2015 est.) Notes
Las Vegas, Nevada 2,000,759 Last service was the Desert Wind in 1997.
Columbus, Ohio 1,944,002 Last service was the National Limited in 1979.
Nashville, Tennessee 1,726,793 Last inter-city service was the Floridian in 1979. Commuter rail service provided by the Music City Star.
Louisville, Kentucky 1,251,351 Last service was the Kentucky Cardinal in 2003.
Tulsa, Oklahoma 951,880 Last service was the Santa Fe's The Tulsan in 1971.
Knoxville, Tennessee 848,350 Last service was the Southern Railway's Pelican in 1970.
AllentownBethlehem, Pennsylvania 827,171 Last service was regional service in 1981, carried by SEPTA.
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 815,298 Last service was the Kansas City Southern's Southern Belle in 1969. New service from New Orleans has been studied and has support.[3]
McAllen, Texas 806,552 Last service was the Southern Pacific's McAllen-Brownsville shuttle in 1952.
Dayton, Ohio 800,792 Last service was the National Limited in 1979.
North Port – Sarasota – Bradenton, Florida 768,918 Last service was the Seaboard Coast Line's Gulf Coast Special in 1971.[4][5]
Fort Myers, Florida 701,982 Last service was the Seaboard Coast Line's Gulf Coast Special in 1971.[4]
Colorado Springs, Colorado 668,353 Last service was Burlington Route's Texas Zephyr in 1967.
Boise, Idaho 637,896 Last service was the Pioneer in 1997.
Des Moines, Iowa 588,999 Last service was the Rock Island's Des Moines Rocket and Corn Belt Rocket.[6][7] There were plans for a new service from Chicago to Des Moines and Omaha but Iowa refused to provide funds for operations.[8]
Augusta, Georgia 590,146 Last traditional passenger service was by the Georgia Railroad in 1969, although the Georgia provided a little-used mixed train service until 1983.
Cocoa Beach – Melbourne – Palm Bay – Titusville, Florida 568,088 Last had passenger service in 1968, when the Florida East Coast Railroad ended its operations. However, a private regional rail line, Brightline, is now open Miami-West Palm Beach with an extension planned to Orlando. It will use the FEC right-of-way, and a newly built segment Cocoa Beach-Orlando.
ScrantonWilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 558,166 Last service was the Erie Lackawanna's Lake Cities in 1970.
Youngstown, Ohio 549,885 Last service was the Three Rivers in 2005.
Chattanooga, Tennessee 547,776 Last service was the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad and Louisville and Nashville's The Georgian in 1971.
Fayetteville, Arkansas 513,559 Last service was a section of the Frisco's Meteor in 1965.
Tri-Cities area (Kingsport/Johnson City/Bristol, Tennessee, Bristol, Virginia) 509,690 Last service was the Norfolk and Western and Southern Railway's Birmingham Special in 1971. Virginia officials are working on bringing Amtrak service to Bristol.[9][10]
Santa Rosa, California 502,146 Last intercity service was an unnamed Northwestern Pacific Railroad train in 1958. Currently served by the SMART commuter rail line.
Lexington, Kentucky 485,023 Last service was the Southern Railway's Royal Palm in 1970 and the Chesapeake and Ohio's George Washington in 1971.
Pensacola, Florida 478,043 Service suspended August 2005, on Sunset Limited east of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It is proposed to return service to the line.
ShreveportBossier City, Louisiana 447,193 Last service was the Kansas City Southern's Southern Belle in 1969. Planned Amtrak service from Birmingham to Dallas/Fort Worth via Shreveport never materialized, service from the city to Dallas being studied by DOT.[11]
Springfield, Missouri 444,617 Last service was the Frisco's Meteor and Will Rogers in 1967.
Corpus Christi, Texas 437,109 Last service was the Texas Mexican Railway's Tex Mex Express in 1986.
Asheville, North Carolina 432,406 Last service was the Southern Railway's Asheville Special in 1975.
Huntsville, Alabama 430,734 Last service was the Southern Railway's Tennessean in 1968.
GulfportBiloxiPascagoula, Mississippi 427,322 Service suspended August 2005, on Sunset Limited east of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It is proposed to return service to the line.
Brownsville, Texas 422,156 Last service was the Southern Pacific's Border Limited in 1952.
Mobile, Alabama 413,936 Service suspended August 2005, on Sunset Limited east of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It is proposed to return service to the line.
ManchesterNashua, New Hampshire 406,678 Last service was the Boston and Maine's Alouette in 1965. Extension of MBTA's Lowell Line proposed.
Salisbury – Ocean City, Maryland 395,300 Last service was the Pennsylvania Railroad's Del-Mar-Va in 1958.
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 394,542 Last service was a mixed train operated by the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1955.[12]
Saginaw, Michigan 389,110 Last service was the New York Central's Beeliner in 1964.[13]
Quad Cities area (Davenport/Bettendorf, Iowa, Rock Island/Moline, Illinois) 382,630 Last service was the Rock Island's Quad Cities Rocket in 1979. New service possible in 2018?.[14]
Peoria, Illinois 380,447 Last service was the Prairie Marksman in 1981. New service was studied by Illinois DOT.[15]
Montgomery, Alabama 377,149 Last service was the Gulf Breeze in 1995.
Tallahassee, Florida 375,371 Service suspended August 2005, on Sunset Limited east of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. It is proposed to return service to the line.
Appleton – Oshkosh – Neenah, Wisconsin 367,516 Last service was an unnamed remnant of the Chicago and North Western's Peninsula 400 in 1971.
Rockford, Illinois 344,623 Last service was the Black Hawk in 1981. New service that was planned by 2015 was suspended by Illinois Governor Rauner.[16]
Ocala, Florida 343,254 Last service was the Palmetto in 2004, when Amtrak truncated the run to Savannah, Georgia.
MidlandOdessa, Texas 320,513 Last service was the Missouri Pacific's West Texas Eagle in 1969.
Evansville, Indiana 313,433 Last service was the Louisville and Nashville's The Georgian in 1971.
Green Bay, Wisconsin 311,098 Last service was an unnamed remnant of the Chicago and North Western's Peninsula 400 in 1971.
Columbus, Georgia 310,531 Last service was the Illinois Central's City of Miami in 1971.
Lubbock, Texas 297,669 Last service was the Santa Fe's West Texas Express in 1967.
Clarksville, Tennessee 281,021 Last service was a Memphis section of the L&N's Pan-American in 1965.
Fort Smith, Arkansas 280,241 Last service was a section of the Frisco's Meteor in 1965.
Duluth, Minnesota 279,601 Last service was the North Star in 1985. There are plans to restore passenger service from St. Paul before 2020.[17]
Gainesville, Florida 277,163 Last service was the Seaboard Coast Line's South Wind in 1971, when the train was rerouted via Orlando.
Atlantic City, New Jersey 275,549 Last inter-city service was the Atlantic City Express in 1995. Currently served by NJ Transit's Atlantic City Line.
Wilmington, North Carolina 263,429 Last service was an unnamed Seaboard Coast Line train in 1968.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 261,761 Last service was the Rock Island's Zephyr Rocket on April 8, 1967.[18]
Laredo, Texas 259,172 Last service was the Inter-American in 1981.
Amarillo, Texas 257,578 Last service was the Santa Fe's San Francisco Chief in 1971.
Binghamton, New York 251,725 Last service was the Erie Lackawanna's Lake Cities in 1970.
Yakima, Washington 243,231 Last service was in 1981 when the Empire Builder was rerouted through Everett, Washington.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 237,251 Last service was a Sioux Falls section of the Milwaukee Road's Arrow in September 1965.
College StationBryan, Texas 234,501 Last service was the Dallas-Houston section of the Texas Eagle in 1995.
Macon, Georgia 232,723 Last service was the Central of Georgia's Nancy Hanks II in 1971.
Rochester, Minnesota 209,607 Last service was the Chicago and North Western Railroad's Rochester 400 in 1963.
Las Cruces, New Mexico 209,233 Last service was the Santa Fe's El Pasoan in 1968.
Athens, Georgia 196,425 Last service was the Seaboard Coast Line's Silver Comet in 1969.
ElmiraCorning, New York 187,820 Last service was the Erie Lackawanna's Lake Cities in 1970.
Joplin, Missouri 174,327 Last service was the Kansas City Southern's Southern Belle in 1969.
Terre Haute, Indiana 170,943 Last service was the National Limited in 1979.
Monroe, Louisiana 170,053 Last service was a Little Rock-Alexandria section of the Missouri Pacific's Texas Eagle in 1967.
East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 169,842 Last service was the Erie Lackawanna's Lake Cities in 1970.
WaterlooCedar Falls, Iowa 168,747 Last service was the Illinois Central's Hawkeye in 1971.
Abilene, Texas 166,963 Last service was the Missouri Pacific's West Texas Eagle in 1969.
Blacksburg – Christiansburg – Radford, Virginia 162,958 Last service was the Hilltopper in 1979. New service being studied by VA DOT.[19]
Billings, Montana 162,848 Last service was the North Coast Hiawatha in 1979.
Eau ClaireMenomonie, Wisconsin 161,151 Last service was the Chicago and North Western Railroad's Twin Cities 400 in 1963.
Fort Collins, Colorado 161,000 Last service was the Burlington Route's Shoshone in 1967.
Pueblo, Colorado 160,852 Last service was a Denver-La Junta connecting train operated by the Santa Fe Railway in 1971. Preliminary studies to add Pueblo as stop on the Southwest Chief have been undertaken.[20]
Janesville, Wisconsin 160,418 Last service was the Lake Country Limited in 2001.
Iowa City, Iowa 158,231 Last service was the Rock Island's Des Moines Rocket and Corn Belt Rocket. New service probable around 2016?.[21]
Albany, Georgia 157,308 Last service was the Illinois Central's City of Miami in 1971.
Williamsport, Pennsylvania 155,349 Last service was a remnant of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Northern/Southern Express in 1971.
Alexandria, Louisiana 153,922 Last service was the Kansas City Southern's Southern Belle in 1969.
Bangor, Maine 153,746 Last service was the Boston and Maine's State of Maine Express and Bar Harbor Express in 1960. Extension of Downeaster service studied.
IthacaCortland, New York 150,900 Last service was the Lehigh Valley's Maple Leaf in 1961.
FlorenceMuscle Shoals, Alabama 146,988 Last service was the Southern Railway's Tennessean in 1968.
Wheeling, West Virginia 146,420 Last service was the Baltimore and Ohio's Chicago-West Virginia Night Express in 1961.
St. George, Utah 144,809 Although no line (nor any railroad tracks) runs through, the city is connected to Amtrak by Thruway Motorcoach.
Traverse City, Michigan 144,411 Last service was an unnamed C&O/B&O Railroad train in 1967. New service under study.
Sioux City, Iowa 144,062 Last service was the Illinois Central's Hawkeye in 1971.
Dalton, Georgia 142,227 Last service was the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad and Louisville and Nashville's The Georgian in 1971.
Tupelo, Mississippi 139,671 Last service was the Frisco and Southern Railway's Kansas City-Florida Special in 1964.
Rapid City, South Dakota 138,738 Last service was the Milwaukee Road's Sioux in 1951, when the run was truncated to Canton, South Dakota.
Bloomington, Indiana 137,974 Last service was the Floridian in 1979.
Napa, California 136,484 Last intercity service was an unnamed Southern Pacific train in 1929. Currently served by the Napa Valley Wine Train.
Jamestown – Dunkirk – Fredonia, New York 134,905 Last service was the Erie Lackawanna's Lake Cities in 1970.
Manhattan, Kansas 134,804 Last service was the Union Pacific's City of Kansas City in 1971.
Lawton, Oklahoma 131,089 Last service was the Frisco's Meteor in 1967.
Bismarck, North Dakota 120,060 Last service was the North Coast Hiawatha in 1979.
Missoula, Montana 116,130 Last service was the North Coast Hiawatha in 1979.
Cheyenne, Wyoming 116,070 Last service was the Pioneer in 1997.
Owensboro, Kentucky 116,020 Last service was an unnamed L&N train in 1958.
Brunswick, Georgia 112,370 Last service was the Southern Railway's Kansas City-Florida Special in 1964.
Waterbury, Connecticut 110,366 Last inter-city service was an unnamed New Haven service in 1958. Currently served by Metro-North Railroad's Waterbury Branch
Lowell, Massachusetts 108,335 Last inter-city service was the Boston and Maine's State of Maine in 1960. Currently served by MBTA's Lowell Line
Bay City, Michigan 107,771 Last service was the New York Central's Beeliner in 1964.

In addition, the following cities are not directly served by inter-city rail service, but have a rail station within 30 miles of the city.

City Metropolitan area population (2012 est.) Notes
Phoenix, Arizona 4,329,534 Direct service ended in June 1996 after reroute of Amtrak's Sunset Limited. Service 30 miles to the south in Maricopa, Arizona, a nearby suburb.
Akron, Ohio 702,262 Direct service gained in 1998 with the rerouting of the Broadway Limited, then lost in 2005 with the discontinuance of the Three Rivers. Service 24 miles to the southeast at Alliance, Ohio.
Winston–Salem, North Carolina 659,330 Last service was by Southern Railway in 1970. Service 16 miles to the Southeast in High Point, North Carolina.
Wichita, Kansas 636,105 Last direct service was the Lone Star in 1979. Service 25 miles to the north at Newton, Kansas. New direct service being studied with extension of Heartland Flyer to Kansas City or Newton.[22]
Madison, Wisconsin 620,778 Last direct service was the Milwaukee Road's Varsity and Sioux in 1971. Service 28 miles to the northeast in Columbus, Wisconsin. New direct service between Madison and Chicago via Milwaukee was planned but Wisconsin governor Scott Walker rejected federal funding for the project.[23][24]
Ogden, Utah 612,441 Last direct inter-city service was the Pioneer in 1997. Currently directly served by the Utah Transit Authority's FrontRunner commuter rail. Amtrak service 30 miles to the south in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Daytona Beach, Florida 600,756 Last had passenger service in 1968, when the Florida East Coast Railroad ended its operations. Amtrak trains stop at DeLand Station, 28 miles to the west.
Visalia, California 459,863 Passenger service to the city ended in the 1950s or 1960s. However Amtrak's San Joaquin trains stop by at Hanford 21 miles to the west.
York, Pennsylvania 442,867 Service 24 miles to the east at Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Fort Wayne, Indiana 429,820 Last direct service was in 1990, when the Broadway Limited rerouted through Nappanee, Indiana. Service 25 miles to the north at Waterloo, Indiana.
Reading, Pennsylvania 413,521 Last direct service was regional service in 1981, carried by SEPTA. Service 27 miles to the southwest at Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Canton, Ohio 402,976 Last direct service was in 1990, when the Broadway Limited rerouted through Nappanee, Indiana. Service 23 miles to the northeast in Alliance, Ohio.
Boulder, Colorado 294,567 Last direct service was the Burlington Route's Shoshone in 1967. Service 25 miles to the southeast at Denver, Colorado.
Waco, Texas 268,696 Service 16 miles to the southwest at McGregor, Texas.
Columbia, Missouri 168,535 Service 25 miles to the southeast in Jefferson City, Missouri.
State College, Pennsylvania 153,990 Service 30 miles to the southeast in Lewistown, Pennsylvania.

Other cities are not served directly due to inconvenient water barriers:

  • San Francisco, California - trains stop across San Francisco Bay in Oakland and Emeryville. Whereas trains once went from Oakland to San Francisco, they had been replaced by auto traffic by the 1950s. The BART commuter heavy rail system operates a trans-bay tube underneath the bay with connections in Richmond, Oakland and Emeryville. Caltrain connects to Amtrak in San Jose. Amtrak has worked on plans to resume the Coast Daylight service (which once existed as an Amtrak service but was rerouted to continue north to Portland and renamed the Coast Starlight) from San Francisco to Los Angeles since the late 1990s, which would give San Francisco true Amtrak rail service.[25]
  • St. Petersburg, Florida - trains stop across Tampa Bay in Tampa. Trains had previously crossed the bay into St. Petersburg. The city lost direct service across the bay when CSX lacked adequate funds to maintain the bridge across the bay. There is Thruway Bus Service at 110th Avenue north of City Limits off US19 to Tampa Union Station (PSTA local bus route 34 passes near this location). Otherwise the only other method of transportation is taxi. The TECO Line Streetcar System and HART buses both do not connect with the two areas, although express bus service exists between PSTA and HART.

Amtrak provides no service to Mexico. From 1973 to 1981 Amtrak operated the Inter-American, which allowed for transfers between Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas for connecting service with the Ferrocarriles Nacionales de México. The closest Amtrak service to Mexico may be found at stations along the western portion of the Sunset Limited and southwestern portion of the Texas Eagle in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California; as well as the Pacific Surfliner service to Union Station in San Diego.

Phoenix, Arizona is served via Thruway Motorcoach from the Southwest Chief at Flagstaff, Arizona. The Sunset Limited stops three times a week at Maricopa, roughly 30 miles (48 km) south of the city; private taxis and the Maricopa MAX express bus are the only transportation from there to metro Phoenix, although MAX bus schedules do not coincide with Amtrak, which arrives during the night. Phoenix lost direct service in June 1996 after Southern Pacific (now part of the Union Pacific) threatened to abandon the line from Yuma.

Amtrak has studied rail lines formerly canceled that could renew service to some cities. Cities involved include Boise, Mobile, Tallahassee, the Quad Cities (four adjoining cities in northwest Illinois and southeastern Iowa),[21][26] Billings, and Wichita.[27] Proposals for high-speed rail could also restore service for several cities. Other services Amtrak could restore include the Pioneer (serving Chicago-Denver-Seattle via the California Zephyr), the Black Hawk (Chicago-Dubuque, eastern Iowa), the North Coast Hiawatha (serving Chicago-Fargo-Seattle via the Montana Rail Link), and the New Orleans-Orlando segment of the Sunset Limited.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Metzger, Bill; Van Hattem, Matt; Richards, Curstis W. (May 2010), "Map of the Month: Amtrak: Now, then, and before", Trains, Waukesha, Wisconsin: Kalmbach Publishing, 70 (5), pp. 32–33, ISSN 0041-0934 
  2. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012 (CBSA-EST2012-01)". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on March 17, 2013. Retrieved 22 Aug 2013. 
  3. ^ "Advocates for proposed regional passenger rail system renew efforts". FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans. Retrieved 7 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b American-Rails, "The Gulf Coast Special" The Seaboard Coast Line ran its last train to Fort Myers in 1971, as surviving passenger train operations shifted to Amtrak.http://www.american-rails.com/glf-cst-spcl.html
  5. ^ Sarasota History Alive, "Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Depot." http://www.sarasotahistoryalive.com/history/markers/atlantic-coast-line-railroad-depot/
  6. ^ "Routes and Trains on the Eve of Amtrak" http://broadway.pennsyrr.com/Rail/Amtk/routes_pre1971.html
  7. ^ ""Project 1971", U. S. Passenger Trains operating on the eve of Amtrak" http://www.streamlinerschedules.com/project1971.html
  8. ^ "Iowa City favored for proposed new Amtrak route". The Gazette. Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 1 Nov 2012. Retrieved 23 Aug 2013. 
  9. ^ http://www.heraldcourier.com/news/local/bristol-gets-k-for-passenger-rail-study/article_5fc5b94f-3ecc-569e-a0cd-1b258a31ae84.html
  10. ^ http://www.heraldcourier.com/opinion/putting-the-guard-rails-on-the-return-of-amtrak/article_682900a9-7ed3-5070-9228-72668a69912d.html
  11. ^ Richardson, Terri (2 Mar 2012). "TxDOT, AMTRAK kick off Dallas-to-Shreveport corridor study". The Marshall News Messenger. Marshall, Texas. Retrieved 23 Aug 2013. 
  12. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 1 August 2018. 
  13. ^ "The Tuscola and Saginaw Bay" http://railfan.com/archive/rf_archive_0384_TSBY.php
  14. ^ Ketz, Jonathan (8 Nov 2012). "Amtrak line supposed to be built by 2015". Moline, Illinois: WQAD-TV. Retrieved 23 Aug 2013. 
  15. ^ "Amtrak Considers Rail Service To Peoria". Chicago: WBBM-TV. 20 Apr 2011. Retrieved 23 Aug 2013. 
  16. ^ "$223 Million Announced to Restore Chicago to Rockford Amtrak Service". Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  17. ^ Kerr, Drew (18 Mar 2013). "High-speed train to Duluth clears hurdle". Finance & Commerce. Minneapolis. Retrieved 23 Aug 2013. 
  18. ^ Langton, Diane (10 Apr 2014). "Last Passenger Trains". The Gazette (Cedar Rapids). Retrieved 22 Jun 2017. 
  19. ^ Manch, Rob (2017-09-21). "Group pushing for Amtrak to come to Christiansburg by 2020". WSLS. Retrieved 2017-10-30. 
  20. ^ Jesse Paul, "Proposed Southwest Chief stop in Pueblo could mean $1.4 million in tickets, Amtrak says" "Denver Post," July 7, 2016 http://www.denverpost.com/2016/07/07/amtrak-pueblo-stop-southwest-chief-train/
  21. ^ a b Stephenson, Meg (18 April 2008). "Amtrak, DOT say 'yes' to rail service between Q-C, Iowa City". Quad-City Times. Davenport, Iowa. Retrieved 23 Aug 2013. 
  22. ^ Stearns, John (7 May 2013). "Wichita's Amtrak supporters plan announcement Friday". Wichita Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 23 Aug 2013. 
  23. ^ Sandler, Larry (15 Jan 2012). "Wisconsin, Minnesota ponder expanding Amtrak service". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 26 October 2013. 
  24. ^ "Walker wants Amtrak and road cuts". 30 Apr 2013. Retrieved 23 Aug 2013. 
  25. ^ "The Coast Daylight". 
  26. ^ Martyn, Chase (24 July 2009). "Amtrak could go to Quad Cities, Dubuque by 2011". The Iowa Independent. Retrieved 2010-07-05. 
  27. ^ Wistrom, Brent D. (7 Jan 2010). "Study finds strong economic incentives for new Amtrak route through Kansas". KTKA. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved 5 Jul 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]