Momentum builds for Amtrak’s Gulf Coast return

October 15, 2015

It might not be the “All clear!” that rail enthusiasts want to hear, but a December visit by Amtrak representatives to Mobile could signify a key moment in restoring passenger train service to the Gulf Coast.Website Insert Passenger Trains Very Well copy

The Dec. 4 meeting of the Southern Rail Commission will reveal findings of an Amtrak study focusing on reviving passenger rail in a region that saw it disappear 10 years ago after Hurricane Katrina.

“Mobile sits to gain a whole lot if this is established,” said Wiley Blankenship, CEO of the Coastal Alabama Partnership, which promotes collaborative development.

Momentum to reboot passenger rail from New Orleans to Mobile, and possibly further east to Jacksonville or Orlando, appears to be gaining steam. The Southern Rail Commission recently named Andalusia’s Greg White as its chairman for the next two years. He’s a firm proponent of coastal passenger service.

Moreover, coastal rail supporters are pressing for Congress to take up the issue.

White will lead the commission meeting in Mobile. “To reinstate that service is going to take some commitments from local government, state government and other officials. So this will be a step toward understanding what commitments are required,” he said.

He continued, “This will be a large step toward understanding what has to be brought to that table.”

Reporter John Sharp at al.com has the full story by clicking here.

 

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