By Railfan & Railroad Staff
MOBILE, Ala. — Amtrak, CSX, Norfolk Southern, the Southern Rail Commission and the Port of Mobile, Ala., plan to spend $223 million on improvements to the rail line between New Orleans and Mobile as part of an effort to return passenger trains to the route next year.
Last month, Amtrak, CSX and NS told the U.S. Surface Transportation Board that a deal had been struck to restore service east of New Orleans. The three railroads had been a odds for years over a deal and it was looking increasingly likely that the STB would have to sort it all out itself. Details of the deal have been limited, but officials say service will resume in 2023.
However, according to a report from Mississippi Today, documents from the Southern Rail Commission show that the railroads expect to spend a combined $223 million to improve the rail line, including extending sidings, improving stations and upgrading grade crossings. The improvements are expected to begin in 2023 and take three years to complete. CSX has said it will specifically offer up $9.9 million for the improvements and Amtrak will provide $6 million. The rest will come from local, state and federal sources.
The last time passenger trains regularly ran east of New Orleans was before Hurricane Katrina in 2005.