Amtrak route will return to Gulf Coast


Amtrak, freight rail companies and the Port of Mobile have struck a deal that will bring back passenger trains to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, connecting Mobile to New Orleans. 

A joint statement from all parties – Amtrak, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway Company and the Port of Mobile – says they “collectively reached an agreement” that supports both freight trains and passenger trains running in the Gulf Coast Corridor.

“This is going to happen,” said Southern Rail Commissioner Knox Ross. “Everybody has to do what they said they’d do, but this will be a tremendous boost for the Gulf Coast.”

The settlement agreement was filed Monday. The federal board tasked with deciding the route’s future was scheduled to vote on the years-long dispute in December. The board had asked the parties to first attempt mediation. 

The proposed route would run two trains daily with stops in Bay St. Louis, Pascagoula, Gulfport and Biloxi. Amtrak hasn’t run a Gulf Coast route since Hurricane Katrina.

Ross said the details of the agreement are confidential and he doesn’t have a timeline of what to expect. A copy of the settlement agreement filed with the Surface Transportation Board had specifics redacted but stated the settlement terms will “completely resolve the dispute” after “several conditions are met in the coming weeks and months.” 

Amtrak first filed its complaint with the Surface Transportation Board over a year ago, asking the body to step in to settle the dispute over access to the freight-owned tracks.

In the joint statement, the parties ask the board to pause the case as they work through the agreement.

Board members have sat through days worth of testimonies about the track’s ability to support both passengers and freight trains over the last several months. Had the parties not settled, the board’s Dec. 7 vote would have determined the route’s future.

Amtrak had always maintained the route could handle the added passenger train traffic, freight companies and the Port of Mobile worried it could negatively affect business. 

The debate largely pitted Alabama officials against Mississippi leaders who have long championed the return of a passenger route to the Gulf Coast as an economic boon. 

“Since Katrina, these downtowns have been rebuilt and become very attractive,” Ross said, referring to the Mississippi cities on the proposed route. “And this will bring people right to their front door.”

Share your thoughts!

Staying true to our mission to report to you, we have a favor to ask. Will you participate in our annual reader survey? Whether this is your first time visiting our site or you read our stories daily — your feedback goes a long way in helping us plan and grow our newsroom.

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Close window

Republish this article

Unless otherwise noted, you can republish most of Mississippi Today’s stories for free under a Creative Commons license.

For digital publications:

  • Look for the “Republish This Story” button underneath each story. To republish online, simply click the button, copy the html code and paste into your Content Management System (CMS).
  • Editorial cartoons and photo essays are not included under the Creative Commons license and therefore do not have the “Republish This Story” button option. To learn more about our cartoon syndication services, click here.
  • You can’t edit our stories, except to reflect relative changes in time, location and editorial style.
  • You can’t sell or syndicate our stories.
  • Any web site our stories appear on must include a contact for your organization.
  • If you share our stories on social media, please tag us in your posts using @MSTODAYnews on Facebook and @MSTODAYnews on Twitter.

For print publications:

  • You have to credit Mississippi Today. We prefer “Author Name, Mississippi Today” in the byline. If you’re not able to add the byline, please include a line at the top of the story that reads: “This story was originally published by Mississippi Today” and include our website, mississippitoday.org.
  • You can’t edit our stories, except to reflect relative changes in time, location and editorial style.
  • You cannot republish our editorial cartoons, photographs, illustrations or graphics without specific permission (contact our managing editor Kayleigh Skinner for more information). To learn more about our cartoon syndication services, click here.
  • Our stories may appear on pages with ads, but not ads specifically sold against our stories.
  • You can’t sell or syndicate our stories.
  • You can only publish select stories individually — not as a collection.
  • Any web site our stories appear on must include a contact for your organization.
  • If you share our stories on social media, please tag us in your posts using @MSTODAYnews on Facebook and @MSTODAYnews on Twitter.

If you have any other questions, contact Audience Development Director Lauchlin Fields.

1





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *