Amtrak, Freight Railroads Strike a Deal on the Gulf Coast

Details of the deal were not immediately available but officials said passenger service would soon return to Mobile. Photo Courtesy of Amtrak.

Amtrak, Freight Railroads Strike a Deal on the Gulf Coast

By Justin Franz 

MOBILE, Ala. — Amtrak, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern have struck a deal to allow passenger trains to return to the Gulf Coast region between New Orleans and Mobile. 

The details of the deal are not publicly known yet, but on Monday night, the three railroads filed a motion to halt future hearings on the matter that have been scheduled before the U.S. Surface Transportation Board. The three railroads released a joint statement as well. 

“We have collectively reached an agreement to support passenger and freight service in the Gulf Coast Corridor. The parties filed a motion today informing the Surface Transportation Board that a settlement agreement has been reached and asking that the case be held in abeyance while the parties execute the various conditions of that settlement agreement. Due to the confidential nature of the settlement agreement, the parties are not able to provide further comment on its terms at this time. We thank the federal mediators appointed by the Surface Transportation Board for their work on this effort,” the railroads wrote. 

Passenger service east of New Orleans ceased in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina damaged the rail line. The line was later repaired for freight service, but passenger trains never returned. Over the last decade, Amtrak and its state partners have tried and restore regular service between New Orleans and Mobile, but the freight railroads have dragged their feet, alleging that even one passenger train would disrupt service. As such, the freight railroads have tried to get Amtrak to pay for major improvements on the line, but Amtrak has said that is not its responsibility. For over a year, the two sides have battled it out before the STB, which has held multiple hearings on the matter. 

This article was posted on: November 22, 2022