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The Surface Transportation Board last week granted a request to extend mediation talks between Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern Railway and other parties over Amtrak's proposal to restore Gulf Coast passenger-rail service.
Amtrak, the two Class Is, the Alabama State Port Authority and its rail carrier, the Terminal Railway Alabama State Docks, have been in discussions over Amtrak’s proposal to restore rail service on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. Under the proposal, Amtrak trains would run on track owned by CSX and NS. The Class Is and port authority have opposed Amtrak’s proposal unless certain conditions are met.
Amtrak trains haven’t operated along the route since Hurricane Katrina hit the region in 2005.
Last week, the railroads and port officials asked the STB to postpone a scheduled final hearing on the matter — which was set for Nov. 17 and 18 — so that mediation discussions could continue. In a Nov. 10 filing with the STB, the parties indicated substantial progress has been made toward a settlement.
The STB directed the parties to file a joint status report by Nov. 21, and postponed the hearing until Nov. 30.