Passenger rail travel is set to return to the Gulf Coast | Mississippi News

Senator Wicker of Mississippi has worked to restore rail travel for nearly a decade.

After more than 17 years, passenger rail travel is returning to the Gulf Coast via Amtrack.

On Tuesday, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee announced an agreement between Amtrak, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Alabama State Port Authority to restore passenger rail service between New Orleans and Mobile.

Efforts by Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker to restore passenger rail to the region have been ongoing since at least 2015.

“Today’s agreement is a long overdue victory for Mississippi’s Gulf Coast communities, businesses and job creators,” Wicker said. “Mississippi Gulf Coast residents have been without passenger rail service since Hurricane Katrina, and restoring it has been a top priority for me. Now, more than 17 years after Katrina, I am pleased to receive a commitment from all parties involved that Amtrak trains will return. This decision demonstrates what I have long believed – freight and passenger rail can thrive together.”

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In March 2021, Amtrak filed a petition with the Southern Transportation Council to restore passenger rail service on the Gulf Coast and fully supported the effort. This agreement will settle a case pending before the Surface Transportation Board.

Over the past year, Amtrak CSX Transportation Inc. and tried to get the Norfolk Southern Railroad to allow the companies to run additional intercity passenger trains of two round trips a day over the railroad lines between New Orleans and Mobile.