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Amtrak cancels ‘River Runner’ trains due to flooding

Record-setting flood levels are changing Amtrak’s train schedule.

The company announced Tuesday they canceled all ‘River Runner’ trains, which is their service that spans from Kansas City to St. Louis, until Monday. The service includes 10 stops, including Jefferson City.

A spokeswoman for Amtrak said the change was due to additional freight train traffic on the Union Pacific Railroad.

“The additional freight train volume is due to historic flooding in the Central U.S.,” Olivia Irvin of Amtrak said in an email.

Flooding in several Midwestern states caused at least five levees to breach, according to the Kansas City district of the Army Corps of Engineers, and that number is expected to rise.

“The water levels are dangerously high and present great risk to people, property and levee systems,” they said in a press release.

Longtime Cole County resident Richard McCarty said he is confident that the levee along the Missouri River just north of Jefferson City will hold. McCarty said the levee is 34 feet tall, which is 11 feet above the standard for flood stage.

“We built it big so we wouldn’t have to worry about it,” said McCarty, who once served on the local levee board. “I mean a wall of water could go over it, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Gov. Mike Parson did not express the same optimism at a press conference Monday, but said the state is preparing.

“Mother Nature’s gonna take its course, and where that ends up I’m not sure yet,” Parson said. “We’re well aware of all the obstacles ahead of us, some of the things that could occur, and we’re preparing for that as we speak today.”

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