Boise Residents Hope Transportation Will Come Through the Pioneer Route Again Through an Amtrak

Serena Aburahma
· 3 min read
Residents of Boise,
have been without train service for nearly 25 years. Before this, Boise was a stop along Amtrak's Pioneer route running from Chicago to Seattle. With the infrastructure bill going into effect with other legislature, there is hope that the route will return.
According to the
Idaho Statesman
, a bill in the U.S. Senate could lead to Amtrak reintroducing routes that had previously been shut down. This could mean a return of the Pioneer.
Idaho’s only train track, the Pioneer route, might reopen soon.

History of the Pioneer route

The Amtrak Pioneer was in operation from 1977 to 1997, and it ran for more than 2,500 miles from Chicago to Seattle. Along with stopping in Boise, the Pioneer also had stops in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Portland.
Riders in Boise especially enjoyed the Amtrak train, and those who remember the Pioneer recall that the trains were regularly sold out.
Beginning in 1993, the operating schedule changed to only run three days a week. Finally, in 1997, the Pioneer was discontinued, and in the route's last year, Amtrak lost $20 million.
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The future of Amtrak

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The history of the Pioneer is representative of a lot of Amtrak’s history in general. Amtrak makes transportation more accessible to many and is quite popular, but it’s not a profitable service.
Then in 2020, when the
hit, people weren’t traveling meaning they weren’t riding Amtrak trains. This led to a 32% decrease in ridership, and a loss of over $800 million.
However, Amtrak could still have success in the future.
In 2019 Amtrak was coming off of its best year ever with more than 32 million passengers. As cases decrease and travel increases, hopefully Amtrak can reach numbers like this again.

The revival of the Pioneer

A bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate seeks to study four discontinued Amtrak routes for potential revivals. Among these is the Pioneer that used to travel through Boise.
Some are optimistic about the future of Amtrak and the Pioneer because President Joe Biden has been supportive of the train service, seeing it as a way to make transportation more accessible across the country.
Bringing back the Pioneer route isn’t as easy as signing a bill into law–the route requires significant repairs. However, Amtrak may have more space in their budget for that with the recent infrastructure initiative.
It will require government approval and time for construction, but the Pioneer line could run just as it did decades ago, giving the residents of Idaho an Amtrak line again.
The future of the Pioneer line might be bright, but Idaho riders will have to see what becomes of it. The future of car insurance, however, is already here with
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