Does Tulsa Really Need Amtrak Back?

Does Tulsa Need Amtrak Back?There are more than a million people living in the greater Tulsa metropolitan area, and millions more come to visit. That’s a lot of foot and vehicle traffic at any given time. Any additional opportunities for public transport, then, should be carefully considered – which may explain why Amtrak may be coming back to Tulsa.

The possibility of Amtrak returning to Tulsa

In January, Fox 23 News reported that there are ongoing conversations about Amtrak returning to Tulsa. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is conducting studies along with Amtrak to see if expanding its passenger train service to Tulsa would be beneficial.

Many people, including advocacy groups, are thrilled by this news. Right now, the only railroads in the area are being used to transport cargo. However, even Laura Bellis, the City Councilor, said she is hoping that will soon change. If the FRA and Amtrak decide to proceed with the project, they will expand their service by over 700 miles, which would mean that the discontinued stops in both Tulsa and Dallas would return.

Pros and cons of Amtrak being back in Tulsa

Just like with everything else, there are pros and cons to bringing Amtrak back to Tulsa.


  • More public transportation options may mean fewer motor vehicle accidents.
  • People no longer have to completely rely on vehicles to get them to other nearby cities or states.
  • People could take the train to work in neighboring cities and towns.
  • More jobs working for Amtrak means an economic boost for locals.
  • It could also be more affordable than driving or renting vehicles to get to certain places.
  • More people may visit the Tulsa area.


Recent Amtrak train crashes in Oklahoma

Even without the expansion of service in Oklahoma, there are notable Amtrak train crashes that have occurred across Oklahoma on their current routes:

  • In October 2023, a teenage girl was struck and killed by an Amtrak train. She was attempting to cross over the railroad tracks with her friend around 9 p.m. when she was hit by the train.
  • In October 2021, an Amtrak slammed into a truck. Four of the passengers on board the train were injured. The truck was described as a “car hauler semi.” Fortunately, the dog and driver in the truck were able to survive.
  • In May 2019, a man was struck and killed by an Amtrak near the University of Oklahoma campus. The train conductor blew his horn for a long period of time, according to several college students, but the pedestrian did not move out of the way.

Between January 1, 2021 and February 29, 2024 *(the most recent date available), Amtrak had 147 recorded accidents across the country.

How often do people get hurt or killed in railroad accidents?

According to the National Safety Council, there were more than 950 railroad deaths across the United States in 2022, which was the highest number since 2007. There were also over 6,200 injuries recorded from train-related accidents. Although these may seem like high numbers, your chance of being killed in a train accident is one in 243,756. In comparison, you have a one in 101 chance of being killed in a car accident. However, that does not mean that deadly train accidents do not occur or that it cannot happen to you. It simply means that your chances are much lower than if you were involved in a car accident.

What are the most common types of train accidents?

There are several different types of train accidents. However, the most common include:

  • Train derailments
  • Train-pedestrian collisions
  • Train-vehicle collisions
  • Train-train collisions
  • Accidents that result in property damage to a business, vehicle, etc.

Why do train accidents happen?

Train accidents may occur due to a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Human mistakes and errors
  • Mechanical failures
  • Equipment malfunctions
  • Electrical issues
  • Failing to maintain trains or railroads
  • Defective railroads
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Derailments
  • Stalled or stuck vehicles on the railroads
  • Unprotected or broken railroad crossings
  • Reckless pedestrians
  • Drivers, train operators, or pedestrians failing to pay attention
  • Visibility issues
  • Inclement weather
  • Intoxication

We started off asking if Tulsa needed Amtrak back. The short answer is, yes: we think the City would be much better off with a passenger rail service, even though it comes with risks. Based on the data, you have a far greater chance of being injured in a collision with a freight train – or suffering harm stemming from an accident at the butane transloading facility – than you would on a passenger train. While we do have some reservations about Amtrak given its record, we think the benefits would greatly outweigh the potential drawbacks.

In the event you do suffer harm in a collision or accident with a train in Tulsa, our lawyers are here to help. We invite you to contact Biby Law Firm at your earliest opportunity if the need arises. Our team takes these cases very seriously and will immediately begin investigating your claim and determining what legal options you may have. We are dedicated to helping you get the justice and compensation you need to get your life back on track after the accident. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation today.