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Rail News: Amtrak

Grassroots movement pushes for restoration of Amtrak Sunset Limited route

A grassroots movement is building to encourage the restoration of Amtrak’s Sunset Limited service east of New Orleans to Florida, which hasn’t operated since Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, according to the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP).

Amtrak began running Sunset Limited service east of New Orleans to Orlando, Fla., in 1993. But in August 2005, the hurricane partially destroyed the rail line. Although CSX Transportation rebuilt the line “better than new” within six months of the storm, Sunset Limited service has yet to resume east of New Orleans, NARP officials said in a statement posted on the association’s website.

Florida cities that lost the Amtrak service include Pensacola, Chipley, Crestview, Tallahassee and Lake City. Other cities in the region without service include Biloxi, Miss., and Mobile, Ala.

“This route segment, which completes the busy Interstate 10 corridor, connects the eight southernmost states that, together, have one of every three Americans and account for half the nation’s population growth since 1970,” NARP officials said.

The grassroots movement to restore the service “is swelling, driven by increasing congestion, rising gas prices, and a need for the economic benefits” that would be associated with the route’s restoration, they said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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