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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Amtrak Return to the Gulf Coast?

   
Author Topic: Amtrak Return to the Gulf Coast?
yukon11
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Possibly in 24 months. Alabama could prove to be a stumbling block:

https://is.gd/RBu16Y


Richard

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palmland
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I do wonder if CSX has agreed to this. I would have expected them to require more improvements than the $66 million mentioned, especially with the planned two round trips.

While CONO equipment could be used for one set, I guess the state will find the other set. Let’s hope it’s something other than Amfleet. I understand the observation used on L&N’s Gulf Wind, Royal Street, is up for sale!l

I suspect Alabama will come around if only $3 million is required from them. Not discussed is how the ongoing operating costs is funded.

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George Harris
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Are they talking the whole Gulf Wind route or just New Orleans to Mobile? From this statement in the article referenced in Yukon's post:
quote:
"The service, as proposed, includes two daily round trips with departures in the mornings and late afternoons from both Mobile and New Orleans."
I would be inclined to suspect New Orlenas to Mobile only.

Not incidentially, when CSX got everything back in place after the hurricane they sent Amtrak a letter saying effectively, we are ready for you to come back and Amtrak sat on their hands.

At one time there was a study done concerning relocating the line along the Mississippi part of the coast some distance inland. It died fairly quickly. It would have been expensive and did not look like a good idea to me. Should they ever decided to move it due to the multiplicity of street crossings, they best move would be a relocation of about 30 feet, straight up.

Edit: From an article in Progressive Railroading, https://www.progressiverailroading.com/passenger_rail/news/FRA-to-award-grant-for-Gulf-Coast-passenger-rail-service--57775?email=&utm_medium=email&utm_source=prdailynews&utm_campai gn=prdailynews6/10/2019
it sounds like they mean New Oreans to Mobile only. Also sounds like all are on board. Of course, will be seen how "on board" when they are asked to pull out their checkbooks.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Mobile-NO would be the kind of "two a day Corridor of sorts" that meet all of Amtrak "specs" for such. There is a road saying "come on back", as Mr. Palmland notes, half the equipment needed is already there (the set for 59 to 58 with its now 23 hour turn), and even the additional equipment needed will soon be there with the release of A-I's and Horizons as the new Siemens cars are delivered.

Lest we forget, that for the '84 Expo train, only one state ponied up. Now two are count me in and a third "on the fence". Further, the "Redneck Riviera" has been built up since '84 including the sound of slots.

Even if 'Bama doesn't get on board, Pascagoula-NO would still serve the Casinos - and only 15 miles away from Mobile. Possibly an unsubsidized livery operator would want to step up and offer a "last mile" service.

Predictably, I'm not in favor of "Sunset East" being restored. But a "Mini-Corridor" Mobile (ideally)-NO, is a fair and reasonable service addition giving more credence to "national in scope" should there be some Adios drumheads out hanging.

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Ocala Mike
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Forget Florida - all they want to do down here with the public dime is build more roads through the horse farms right near me.

https://www.ocala.com/news/20180501/horse-farm-owners-say-nay-to-coastal-connector-routes

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yukon11
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I would have to think just New Orleans to Mobile.

https://is.gd/crcYcZ

I've not heard of Serda or Abita beers, nor "gulf coast cuisine" sandwiches. However, I like the idea of the train using local food and beverage providers.

Richard

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George Harris
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You do get into issues with CSX. This is a fairly heavily traveled single track line. Some additional sidings, preferably with relatively high speed turnouts on the ends may be needed. At least it is near dead flat, so you will not have freights on grades to contend with. On the other hand the policy of using just enough power to make things move will lead to very slow freight trains simply because it would take a ridiculously long distance simply to accelerate from a stop in a siding to 50 mph. There is also the drawbridge issue, as navigation interests have a lot of political clout. I don't recall the number of them, but there are several, some of which have multiple openings per day.
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George Harris
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As to the concerns raised about the Alabama State Docks in the referenced https://is.gd/crcYcZ article, I think this would not be a factor. Relative to the ship channel, certainly not. The station, and for that matter, the entire CSX main through southern Alabama does not cross the ship channel. As to rail access to the docks, I think, but am not sure, that is also north or east, whichever you want to call it, of the Mobile station. There is probably little to no rail traffic from west of Mobile going to the port, as there are plenty of ports west of Mobile.

The port of Mobile is heavily subsidised by the state as it is the only seaport Alabama has so they do much to develop it. This is somewhat of a sore point to Pensacola, Panama City and other seacoast towns in the Florida Panhandle for two reasons. First, some of the traffic now going through Mobile could be going through them, or at least they feel that way. Second, the whole Florida Panhandle feels like they are ignored and neglected by the rest of the state so that they do not get the assistance they feel they deserve concerning their port facilities. It is worth remembering that when Florida first became a state, it was essentially a large coast line surrounding a swamp with most of the people in the Panhandle.

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Gilbert B Norman
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quote:
Originally posted by George Harris:
It is worth remembering that when Florida first became a state, it was essentially a large coast line surrounding a swamp with most of the people in the Panhandle.

I guess off topic, but the majority of States have located their Capital in the epicenter of the State.

Not so of course, with Florida. By reasoning the epicenter rule would have Orlando such. But considering Mr
Harris' comment, when granted statehood during 1845, the State essentially was an inhabitable land mass from the border with GA and AL bounded by the Perdido R on the West, extending to the Gulf and to St. Augustine on the Ocean. The appendage belonged to the Gators and the Indians - neither of whom "uh, exactly" voted.

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Vincent206
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The Southern Rail Commission appears to be the group coordinating this restoration project. Their website has lots of links to the plans and studies for Gulf Coast passenger rail. I hope they can get this plan rolling. If Alabama doesn't want to participate, that would be unfortunate, but it wouldn't kill the project. The trains could terminate in Pascagoula MS or maybe passengers boarding in AL could be charged an extra fee to make up for the lack of state subsidy, although that might depress ridership too much.

There's also a plan to connect Baton Rouge and New Orleans. If AL doesn't want to participate in the Gulf Coast passenger rail project, maybe Louisiana would want to use the Gulf Coast trains for a connection to BR.

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George Harris
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"Plans and Studies" are the way government agencies make themselves look like they are doing something whether or not they have any real intention of doing it. I suspect some of these fall in that category. While it is truly necessary to do some plans and studies before you start the real work, that does not mean that all of them are real. Also, even with the best of intentions changes in the political climate can kill good ideas.
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palmland
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Sounds like they have most of their bases covered in this detailed presentation:
Gulf Coast Service

But, it’s still not clear if CSX has agreed to this and Alabama is still to be convinced to fund their portion.

Posts: 2394 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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