I looked into taking a train from Boise to Seattle about two months ago. Much to my dismay, there are no passenger trains that run through Southern Idaho. None! But that could all change in the future...I said “Could”.
Signed, Sealed but Not a Sure Thing for Idaho
As the ink dries from President Bush's pen on a $13 Billion Funding Bill for passenger train services, the hopes are CEO Alex Kummant from Amtrak will agree to bring back a route similar to the Amtrak Pioneer Route closed down in 11 years ago. This is not a sure thing as our lawmakers will have to do some fancy talking to get this plan firmly settled on the old train tracks.
The Pioneer Route (http://www.trainweb.com/routes/route_25/rg_25a.html) ran from Seattle, Portland, Boise [Nampa], and on to Ogden Utah and major cities further east. “If” Amtrak decides to reopen the passenger rail line through Southern Idaho, you can expect to see their trains passing through Mountain Home.
Route, Whistle Stops and Ticket Prices – The Guessing Game
The Idaho tracks this new passenger train service would likely take generally follows Interstate 84. I'm guessing, but it would make sense for Amtrak to route the train through Nampa and then head towards towards the Boise Air Terminal. From there the tracks head eastward straight through Mountain Home, Hammett and Glenns Ferry. At Bliss the tracks split away from Interstate 84 and head towards the cities of Gooding, Shoshone, Kimama, Minidoka, American Falls and Pocatello. From Pocatello, the tracks head south into Ogden, Utah.
Guessing again, I'd say people from Mountain Home would have to head to the Boise area to get on this train. Unless we'd wanted to travel the 75 miles to Shoshone, Idaho for the whistle stop in this town of 1,600 people.
Waiting in Shoshone, Idaho?
The price of a round trip ticket from Boise to Portland, Oregon would likely be in the $125-$400 range???? It's hard to say what the price of a ticket would be if the Pioneer Route was to be revived but it would be great to have another option.
If you are interested in this, watch for when President Bush signs H.R. 2095 and then contact your State and Federal representative to find out what they are doing to make passenger train travel a reality in Southern Idaho.
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