April 8, 1997 in Idaho

Amtrak Leaves Boise Off The Beaten Track

From Staff And Wire Reports

Two decades of hard-won rail passenger service will end when the last Pioneer crosses southern Idaho on May 10.

Amtrak’s Pioneer route began in 1977 after extensive lobbying by former Gov. Cecil Andrus, Sens. Frank Church and Jim McClure and other members of Idaho’s congressional delegation.

Now the train is one of the latest victims in a series of cuts that have reduced Amtrak’s budget by more than half since 1994.

The Pioneer runs from Chicago to Seattle, via Omaha, Denver, Boise and Portland.

“It’s the end of an era,” said Boise Mayor Brent Coles. “We’re losing an opportunity thousands of Idahoans have relied on to ride the train….I’m very nostalgic about rail and trains. I hate to see it go.”

The move will leave Boise as one of a handful of capital cities without rail passenger service. Idaho residents now will have to travel to Portland, Spokane or Ogden, Utah, to catch a train.


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