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Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission (SRC) last week provided an update on plans to begin passenger-rail service between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.
Amtrak is running familiarization trips for the service, which is anticipated to begin in 2024. However, numerous steps have yet to be completed before an exact launch date can be announced, Amtrak and SRC officials said in a press release.
Those steps include partnership agreements with federal, state and local governments, as well as with the host railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway. Amtrak trains will run on the Class Is' tracks.
"All of these plans and partnership are moving forward and must be in place for us to start service next year," said SRC Chairman Knox Ross. "When all the elements have been finalized between the parties, the schedules, fares — and even the start date and official name of the train service — will come via a joint formal announcement from Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission. Until then, we have work to do."
Amtrak trains have not operated along the Gulf Coast since Hurricane Katrina damaged track there in 2005. In November 2022, Amtrak notified the Surface Transportation Board that it reached a settlement agreement with CSX, Norfolk Southern Railway and the Alabama State Port Authority over Amtrak’s proposal to restore passenger-rail service along the coast.