JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – There are new hopes among train travel supporters for a resurgence of rail service to St. Louis. About 20 supporters delivered their message to the Missouri Capitol on Thursday with an unexpected boost from the President of the United States. They boarded a bus equipped with train bells and horns. They gathered on the Capitol Steps, met with state officials and a MoDOT official, then returned to Amtrak. “That train was almost sold out,” said Rich Eichhorst of the American Railway Association, just after getting off the train in Kirkwood. “82% of Americans want passenger trains.” “It’s a good day to get on a train,” said Arnold’s Barbara Altman, who also made the trip. “It’s very relaxing. It’s comfortable. It’s clean, ”said Frank Mercadante of Saint-Louis. “Our new slogan: you lead them, we will ride them,” said Eichorst. Since the pandemic struck, Amtrak service from St. Louis to Kansas City has been cut in half, from two daily round trips to one. Passenger numbers have fallen by around 60%, Eichhorst said, from an average of more than 400 passengers per day to less than 200. Yet, as the COVID-19 pandemic exits, there is a feeling or a momentum behind the push to really get Amtrak rolling through St Louis again. Perhaps the biggest push is coming from the White House. President Biden’s new $ 2 trillion infrastructure plan includes $ 80 billion for Amtrak upgrades and expansion. That could mean restored and even expanded service from Chicago and Kansas City to and from St. Louis, according to an Amtrak spokesperson, if state lawmakers approve. “President Biden has the nickname Amtrak Joe because during his years as a senator, from Wilmington (DE) to Washington, he traveled back and forth on Amtrak every day,” Eichhorst said. He hopes the president reinforces their message in meetings with state officials and a MoDOT official today … as they craft a new state budget. For example, Amtrak’s cuts have hurt tourism, crippling vineyard travel in Hermann, rail supporters said. You can no longer go to and from the train on the same day. “It brings business all over the state of Missouri. I wish they could think about that, ”said Mercadante. With ridership increasing and COVID-19 dropping, they said it was time to get started. Close Modal Suggest a correction Suggest a correction.