The Edmond Sun

Local News

February 22, 2013

Local commuter rail would depend on cooperation of railways

EDMOND — Building three proposed commuter rail corridors from a downtown Oklahoma City hub will depend in part on whether existing railway companies believe the project benefits their interests, according to a recent meeting of the Regional Transit Dialogue Steering Committee.

Three rail corridors are suggested in the RTD study including a link to the $120 million modern street car system being constructed with an intermodal hub in downtown Oklahoma City. RTD calls for the hub to link Edmond, Norman, Midwest City and Tinker Air Force Base.

Union Pacific is also open to learning more about the project, said Raquel Espinoza, Union Pacific director of corporate relations and media.

“We generally do work with communities that are interested in exploring passenger rail,” Espinoza told The Edmond Sun.

Espanoza said the top priority of Union Pacific is to support the businesses that are counting on the railway to ship their goods.

“Aside from that we’re open to reviewing plans for feasible projects that involves commuter rail,” she said.

The rail lines don’t want there to be a disturbance in moving freight, said Marion Hutchison, an appointed citizen member of the RTD II Steering Committee. He is also chairman of OnTrac, a not-for-profit rail transit public interest organization.

“Everybody can understand that and there have been discussions with them about that concept,” Hutchison said. The RTD has been developing relationships with Union Pacific Railroad and the Burlington Santa Fe Railway.

“We’re going to work pretty hard through ODOT and their rail division because they clearly have a great relationship,” Hutchison said.

The Edmond Sun asked Burlington Northern Santa Fe if it would be interested in a plan if it provided for two main lines to be double tracked plus third-line sidings wherever they need them through the corridor.

“Our national standard policy is that we are for the advancement of passenger rail,” said Joe Faust, BNSF director of public affairs. “We listen to these proposals and where they make sense we will certainly continue that dialogue.”

Faust said BNSF likes to work with all the municipalities and agencies that are providing a valid proposal. Municipalities must first present a proposal. BNSF is open to dialogue to evaluate proposals to see if they are feasible, Faust said. Dialogue would continue depending on how a proposal impacts participating freight lines and freight transportation services, he added.

RTD is focusing on creating a Regional Transit Authority. RTA would be represented by elected or appointed officials to develop a plan to operate the transit project. A ballot issue would be needed to take to voters for a dedicated funding source, Hutchison said. Dedicated funding would allow the expansion of bus systems as well as building a hub with a commuter rail system.

Two years ago, the City of Norman created a grade separation of Robinson Street to go under the BNSF railroad tracks. BNSF required Norman to develop a sub structure in order to drop in a third track.

BNSF which passes through Edmond wants to have a full double track of all of their two main lines to Texas. That’s what they would require, Hutchison said.

“Currently it’s not double track and that’s a big incentive if an RTA was willing to have the budgeting,” Hutchison said. “You’d have to double track that line, plus third-line sidings that are out there.”

The north to south line of BNSF runs 40-50 trains a day through Oklahoma City, Hutchison said. A double-track the existing right-of-way would be a win for all parties, Hutchison said.

Union Pacific runs east to west. So a deal would need to be made with Union Pacific to run commuter rail to Midwest City for a short distance. The primary requirement of Union Pacific would be separate operations from their main line, Hutchison said. Most of those right-of-ways have room for two tracks, Hutchison said.

“Once you get over the Oklahoma River, the line running to Tinker is owned by the state,” Hutchison said. “But to get from downtown to that point, part of it is Union Pacific.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Boston 1 Arcadia man, 80, prepares for 111th marathon

    A year ago, Arcadia resident Tom Briggs was well into the Boston Marathon course when he heard runners nearby talking about an incident up ahead.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Anne Josette Hill Police seek teen last seen in Edmond-north OKC area

    The family of a missing teenage girl made a plea to the public Friday to help them find the Casady honors student.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4-19 Calendar

    For information about Edmond senior programs, stop by and pick up a monthly calendar, check out the website at or call 216-7600. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. and reservations are needed a day in advance by 11 a.m. For lunch reservations, call 330-6293 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO plans Earth Day Fair

    The University of Central Oklahoma invites the community to celebrate sustainability with its Earth Day Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 22 in locations throughout Central’s campus.
    The fair kicks off at 10 a.m. around Broncho Lake with exhibitions from local businesses, state agencies and student organizations. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about its environmental mission and message.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO School of Music closes semester with concert series

    The University of Central Oklahoma School of Music will wrap up its instrumental performance season with three concerts featuring Central students April 29 through May 1 at Mitchell Hall Theater located on the UCO campus.    

    April 19, 2014

  • Fine Arts 1 Auction benefits Fine Arts Institute

    The Spring Sampler dinner and auction event April 12 at Oak Tree Country Club benefitted the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • Literally, books come to life for club

    When some of the women at Touchmark at Coffee Creek got together to form a book club, they didn’t know it would be so much fun and become such an important part of their lives.
    The group of about a dozen residents gets together monthly to not only discuss the assigned novel, memoir or classic, but also to immerse themselves in the setting and culture of the book. There is no limit to their creativity.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • jc_HarveySparks.jpg Pastor seeks congressional seat

    Working in the Congressional 1st District office of Congressman Jim Bridenstine was an eye opener for Harvey Sparks, he said. His analytical exposure to Congress has sparked his drive to run for the Congressional 5th District of Oklahoma, said Sparks, R-Oklahoma City.
    Sparks has been a pastor for the majority of his professional life. Sixteen months ago, he was asked by 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine to come work in his Washington, D.C., office. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters and a son, ages 10-3.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results