Alabama restores Gulf Coast Amtrak service

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Mobile, Ala., officials have approved a resolution restoring Amtrak service along the Gulf Coast, joining Mississippi and Louisiana in covering operational costs for the twice-daily service.

The action connects Mobile to New Orleans, Pascagoula, Biloxi, Gulfport, and Bay St. Louis, adding the corridor had been without intercity passenger rail since Hurricane Katrina disrupted Amtrak service in 2005.

Mobile’s share will be just over $3 million spread across three years, with Louisiana providing $10 million and Mississippi $18 million across the same period.

The Mobile City Council’s approval is contingent upon a freight rail impact study verifying the new passenger service won’t hinder freight operations in and out of the Port of Mobile.

“This vote for passenger rail is a huge win for communities in Alabama and along the Gulf Coast,” Rail Passengers President Jim Mathews, said. “It wouldn’t have happened without the work of our members, the Southern Rail Commission, Transportation for America, Amtrak, and forward-looking elected officials in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. We can’t thank these people enough, and we’re ready to get to work to get this train up and running.”

The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization serving the nation’s more than 40 million rail passengers, officials said.