This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google
Terms of Service apply.
CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway have given Amtrak limited access to their property along the Gulf Coast, according to a recent Amtrak filing with the Surface Transportation Board (STB).
However, the two Class Is have not yet agreed to give Amtrak all the access it says it needs to begin passenger-rail service between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.
Amtrak this week updated the STB on the status of its ongoing discussions with CSX and NS. Amtrak is seeking access to the Class Is’ properties and personnel in the Gulf Coast so that it can begin passenger-rail service there on or about Jan. 1, 2022.
In its update to the STB, Amtrak said that CSX has granted access to its property and personnel so that Amtrak can conduct a survey for an interim layover track in Mobile; begin repairs to stations in Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, Pascagoula and Mobile, Alabama; and begin the process of qualifying Amtrak crews to operate along the Gulf Coast corridor.
Amtrak also told the STB that NS informed Amtrak in a May 17 letter that its existing service over NS lines in New Orleans “would fully facilitate Amtrak’s access to the safety and operational information Amtrak sought to obtain.”
Accordingly, Amtrak is making the necessary preparations to begin operating the Gulf Coast service by Jan 1, railroad officials said.
Earlier this year, Amtrak announced that it intended to relaunch Gulf Coast service in 2022. The region has been without Amtrak service since Hurricane Katrina damaged rail infrastructure there in 2005.
Amtrak, CSX and NS have been unable to reach an agreement that would enable Amtrak to use CSX and NS track and property to restore passenger-rail service. In March, Amtrak petitioned the STB to force the two Class Is to provide Amtrak the access it says it needs.
In this week’s STB filing, Amtrak asks the board to speed up its decision-making in the case so that the Gulf Coast route can begin in 2022.