Amtrak expects to begin operating passenger service between New Orleans and Mobile, Ala., sometime in 2023, but virtually all other details of the operation remain undisclosed after a meeting of the Southern Rail Commission, the Al.com news site reports.
The commission held its quarterly meeting Friday in Mobile.
The news site notes that still to be answered, along with an exact start date, are the costs to restart the service; necessary investments; fares; and other details of the agreement between Amtrak, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern, and the Alabama State Port Authority.
“Unfortunately, we all signed agreements and I know this is frustrating,” Knox Ross, the commission chairman, told Al.com. “… All parties are reasonably happy with the solution. We’ve worked hard, all parties, to make this a win-win for the port, host railroads and the traveling public.”
The parties announced in November they had reached a settlement on Gulf Coast service, just ahead of the scheduled date for final hearings before the Surface Transportation Board and an STB vote to decide the issue [see “Amtrak, freight railroads say they have a deal …,” News Wire, Nov. 22, 2022]. But they have not released any other details, citing the “confidential nature” of the agreement, and told the STB in a filing that it would take several months to complete the deal’s details.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told WALA-TV that the passenger railroad would cover the costs of creating a temporary station in Mobile, likely at the site of the former Mobile station, which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.