In 1999, passenger rail made a return to the Sooner State as the Amtrak Heartland Flyer hit the rails between Oklahoma and Texas. Now the train is readying for its 20th anniversary on June 14 with celebrations and a summer of savings for passengers.
The daily service by Amtrak has carried more than 1.4 million passengers between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth during the past two decades. The line was initiated thanks to federal funds received by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to start Amtrak service. ODOT and the Texas Department of Transportation contribute funds annually to continue the daily operations. The Heartland Flyer connects to the Texas Eagle train in Fort Worth, which provides service to major cities including Dallas, Little Rock, St. Louis, or Austin and San Antonio.
“The Heartland Flyer continues to be a major transportation solution for connecting Oklahoma to rail options nationwide,” Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz said. “We appreciate the support of Oklahomans and Texans for this line and look forward to opportunities to keep it growing in the future.”
As part of the 20th anniversary celebration Friday, June 14, the Heartland Flyer will get a special send-off at 7:45 a.m. from the Santa Fe Depot and the Paul Adams Memorial Platform in Oklahoma City. Invited guests include Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz, Oklahoma City Manager Craig Freeman and Amtrak Senior Manager Todd Stennis. Participating with her family will be Katie Moore of Oklahoma City, who suggested the name for the train when she was 11-years old in 1999.
Other anniversary celebrations this summer include the following.
Amtrak is offering a 20-percent discount off Heartland Flyer tickets from now until Aug. 31, but tickets must be purchased three days in advance. Passengers can book their tickets online at www.amtrak.com/heartland-flyer-20th-anniversary or by phone at 800-872-7245.
ODOT will be giving away Heartland Flyer tickets on social media in celebration, so be sure to like and share.
Limited edition Heartland Flyer 20th anniversary pins and shirts are available for purchase through Amtrak until June 24 at https://amtrak.bnr.corpmerchandise.com/june2019.
A National Park Service “Trails and Rails” Volunteer rides every Friday through Sunday train now until Sept. 2. The guides meet people from around the world as they travel by rail and share the beauty and history of the regional and its national parks.
The Amtrak Heartland Flyer, Trains 821 and 822, provides daily service between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth with stops in Norman, Purcell, Pauls Valley and Ardmore, Oklahoma, and Gainesville, Texas. Adult fares for the full route range from $31-52 each way. Pets and bicycles are welcome, but space is limited so reserve tickets in advance.