DE SOTO, Mo. – The city of De Soto, Missouri, in Jefferson County, has been approved for a new passenger rail stop on Amtrak’s Texas Eagle line. The De Soto City Council recently approved a funding plan for a new Amtrak stop.
It’s a long commute to get on the train for De Soto residents; either drive 50 miles south to board in Arcadia or 45 miles north to the stop in downtown St. Louis.
“There’s 100,000 people just in this area that can finally get on Amtrak and take it to Chicago or take it to Dallas, and we think that’s going to be a really big draw,” said local businessman Jim Thomas.
After years of planning, the railroad town of De Soto is finally getting a passenger stop.
“Union Pacific has a huge complex here, and all the box cars and all the other things that get rusty and broken around the country come to De Soto to get fixed. We’ve been a railroad town since before the Civil War,” Thomas said.
The new stop will be on Main Street, across from the public library. The city is also making plans for parking lots nearby.
“After many years of work, we’re thrilled that this has become a reality,” De Soto Mayor Kathy Smith said.
City Manager Todd Melkus said resuming train passenger service in De Soto for the first time in decades will be an economic boost for the area.
“We’ve been without service for more than 50 years, and now we’re back,” Melkus said.
“We’re a railroad town, with Union Pacific’s shops located here. The timing is perfect. Our Main
Street has been renovated and is growing rapidly. We have people in a three-county area ready
to ride the train, and we’ll be ready for them.”
The next step in bringing the Amtrak route to De Soto for good is working with Union Pacific to schedule when trains arrive. The trains already go through the De Soto community, but the new stop will be between ones in St. Louis and Arcadia, Missouri.
“We’re hoping to get some guidelines on how we have to design it. What the specifications are exactly. They may tell us we need to use their engineers, their architects; we’re not really sure yet. That process could take a little while,” Melkus said.
The Texas Eagle line has more than 20 stops, from Chicago through St. Louis to San Antonio. The second leg of that line runs from San Antonio to Los Angeles.
“You could get on the train at 9 o’clock at night when it goes through town, get on the train, go to sleep in your sleeper car, wake up, get breakfast, check your email on the wifi, and at 10 o’clock you’re in Dallas,” Thomas said.