• Amtrak New Gulf Coast Service - New Orleans to Mobile AL

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by Jeff Smith
https://www.railwayage.com/passenger/in ... n-restart/

They still need station infrastructure in Mobile.
Report: Mobile Train Stop ‘Final Infrastructure Issue’ Before Amtrak Gulf Coast Service Can Restart

The construction of a train stop, and a track leading to it in downtown Mobile, Ala., officials say, is the “final infrastructure issue that needs to be addressed before Amtrak can restart passenger trains along the Gulf Coast for the first time in 18 years, according to an AL.com report.

According to the report, Mobile, which last had a train station in 2005 before it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, is “the only city along the route to New Orleans without infrastructure built to accommodate an Amtrak train.” Other cities along the Gulf Coast route, including Pascagoula, Biloxi, Gulfport and Bay St. Louis, have train stops or depots “ready to go” in preparation for Amtrak’s restart.
According to the AL.com report, Mobile’s former director of Real Estate Management Mott MacDonald unveiled in 2019 several renderings of a future station that included overhangs, parking and enclosed passenger waiting rooms with restrooms. The proposal, which did not include a building with ticket booths, also considered building the station “completely off the main tracks,” which, according to the report, is part of the current considerations along with a 1,300-foot track off the main line.
  by STrRedWolf
On a positive note, they're running qualification runs on the route.

On the negative note, though... https://www.fox10tv.com/2023/04/27/one- ... ar-mobile/
Police said at approximately 6:28 p.m. Wednesday, officers responded to a vehicle collision involving a train at the intersection of Navco Road and Dog River Drive North.

The driver of the car was identified as 28-year-old Chadwick Timmons.

Police say Timmons was driving south on Navco when police say he allegedly attempted to cross the railroad while the safety arms were active and indicating an oncoming train, according to officials.

The MPD said the train collided with the vehicle causing the train to stop and the vehicle to catch fire.

Timmons was pronounced dead on scene, and an investigation is ongoing.
  by Jeff Smith
https://weartv.com/amp/news/local/amtra ... -this-year
Amtrak service from Mobile to New Orleans could launch this year

At a meeting of the Southern Rail Commission on Friday, an Amtrak VP said Mobile is making great strides in planning the reactivation of their station.

She says Amtrak can be ready whenever the station is ready.

And while no formal plans are in place to extend service to Pensacola yet. Rail commissioners say it's on the radar.
  by Jeff Smith
Turns out it won't be this year: WLOX
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Amtrak announced at the Southern Rail Commission’s meeting Friday service on the Mississippi Gulf Coast would begin in 2024.

At the quarterly meeting in Point Clear, Alabama Friday morning, Amtrak updated the SRC on the project’s status.

Southern Rail Commission Chairman Knox Ross confirms to WLOX the project is in its last stage of implementation. Knox says the project could wrap up after about six months of rail work, meaning we could see service begin as early as spring 2024.

Work is still underway in Mobile, including finishing the rail line and platforms in the city.
  by Jeff Smith
Cobwebs are growing on this route: AL.com
U.S. Surface Transportation Board calls for status hearing on Gulf Coast Amtrak project

A federal board that oversaw hearings into the possible restart of Gulf Coast rail during 2022, is calling all the parties involved in the case for a status hearing, and the City of Mobile is invited as well.

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board, in a news update Friday, called on the parties involved in a lawsuit before them -- Amtrak and the freight operators along the route (CSX and Norfolk Southern) plus the Alabama State Port Authority – to submit a status report by Feb. 1, updating the board on their settlement agreement to operate Amtrak service between New Orleans and Mobile.

The settlement agreement was reached in November 2022, more than 14 months ago.
A hearing before the federal board, which would be a first since 2022, would come at a time when talks between the City of Mobile and Amtrak continue over a lease agreement for a train stop in downtown Mobile near Cooper Riverside Park. A lease agreement needs to be approved by the Mobile City Council in order for Amtrak to utilize the location for the Gulf Coast service, but there is no timetable on when that might occur.
  by Tadman
A newspaper article last week said service starts some time this year, 2024. Supposedly the hangups are mostly still finding a storage track and the terminal in Mobile.

This may sound too common-sense-y, but why not begin with service to Pascagoula or Gulfport? There are plenty of yard tracks in both cities and a short line that would probably love a small fee to store a four car train every night.
  by RandallW
Those trains need a place to be serviced (i.e., have toilets emptied, trash removed, replenish water, fuel, and other consumables), so at a minimum, Amtrak needs storage tracks where trucks can get to the train, and would likely really want a place where they can fence off the train and put up security cameras, lights, and similar. Their overnight facilities in Roanoke and Norfolk are both single track, but are paved and fenced in with lights and camera, have a shed or office where some equipment can be stored, and may be plumbed for water.

The City of Mobile is paying for passenger rail service to Mobile, not for service that doesn't serve the city (not to mention the state).
  by Tadman
The City of Mobile is paying for passenger rail service to Mobile, not for service that doesn't serve the city (not to mention the state).
There is actually a coalition of funding entities includign all three states and the feds.
Those trains need a place to be serviced
NOLA yards are one of the most extensive servicing facilities the railroad has off-corridor(s). Whatever train lays over in Mobile or Gulfport overnight could have the toilets dumped mid-day in NOLA until a permanent base is built in Mobile. Trash, water, fuel, etc... can be accomplished without a fixed base, especially on temporary basis.

This happens in Hammond for CofNO whenever Hurricanes are too threatening to turn a train in New Orleans.
  by Jeff Smith
Amtrak "Blasted": AL.com
‘What’s going on?’ Federal board blasts Amtrak, requests progress in Gulf Coast service
U.S. Surface Transportation Board members, during the hearing in Washington, D.C., repeatedly expressed disappointment over the inability to get Amtrak trains operating between Mobile and New Orleans more than 14 months after a confidential agreement was reached in a highly watched case with national implications over the future of passenger rail service.

“It doesn’t take 14 months to negotiate a lease if you wanted to reach an agreement,” said Martin Oberman, chairman of the STB. “What is going on?”
A loose timetable for restarting the service set for October 2024 also seemed in doubt. A representative with CSX Transportation, one of two freight operators along the route, said it could take about one year to build a 3,000-foot layover track in downtown Mobile to move Amtrak trains off the main line.
Amtrak, in its filing with the STB on Feb. 1, said they hope to reach a conclusion in the case by May 1, at which time they would ask it to be dismissed. Amtrak brought the case against the freight operators – CSX and Norfolk Southern – in March 2021, out of concern over a lack of negotiations to get the project started. The Alabama Port Authority, which once vehemently opposed the passenger rail project, was later added as a party to the case.
  by eolesen
Somewhere in Jacksonville, the government affairs folks at CSX are sitting back with a big bucket of popcorn.......

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