Passenger Rail to Gulf Coast Closer to Reality

Amtrak service between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, stopped after Hurricane Katrina. But recent efforts point to restored service in the coming years.

March 24, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

Amtrak ACS-64

BeyondDC / flickr

"This February, the City of Mobile, AL took a bold step toward restoring passenger rail service to New Orleans: the city approved the funding necessary to apply for a $8 million grant from Federal Railroad Administration’s Restoration and Enhancement (R&E) program," reports Jenna Fortunati.

Eleven years after Hurricane Katrina, in 2016, Amtrak ran an inspection train from New Orleans to Bay St. Louis on the Mississippi coast. That test run spurred funding for the project to bring passenger rail back to the Gulf Coast.

"Mississippi, Louisiana, and now Alabama have followed suit, with the City of Mobile committing $3 million, Mississippi matching the federal grants, and Louisiana providing priority funds. Amtrak estimates that service will be restored in two years, running four trains every day between New Orleans and Mobile," says Fortunati.

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