Amtrak funding and committment to restore Gulf coast service

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jis

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Getting back to this topic, wasn’t one of the original scenarios for this service to continue the CONO to Mobile?
No. Go back and read


CONO was involved only in Alternative A (and A1) long distance train to Florida, and not in the State Supported train to Mobile. NOL - Mobile in Alternative A and Alternative B and B1 is a pure state funded local train using dedicated consist as described in the document. Alternative C uses dedicated consists independent of the CONO for NOL - Florida service.
 
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Palmland

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No. Go back and read
Thanks for providing that link. It is interesting. But it still sounds like some CONO equipment would be used but maybe not offered as through cars. The second train would use Horizon cars - not my favorite but at least they have big windows. Of course this may be old news and what we wind up with could be different.

"Alternatives B and B1envision operation of two daily state-supported round trips betweenNew Orleans, LA and Mobile, AL, making the same intermediate station stops as the state-sup-ported train in Alternative A. The two round trips (listed in the accompanying timetables asTBD 3, 4, 5 and 6) would include one morning train in each direction, and one lateafternoon/early evening train in each direction. One round trip (operating eastbound in the afternoon/evening and westbound in the morning) would use equipment which currently sits inNew Orleans in between scheduled runs of the City of New Orleans. Coach and lounge car serv-ice would be provided. The other round trip (eastbound in the morning and westbound in theafternoon/evening) would use a dedicated trainset and could include coach, Business Class andcafé car service. Both trains would offer AmtrakConnect Wi-Fi service and at-seat power out-lets. One of the coaches could also be designated an Amtrak Quiet Car if the state partners so desire."

But we might be getting excited about this before we know what CSX will demand and how long it will take for required improvements. Starting in 2022 seems ambitious but I hope Mayor Pete and Amtrak can pull it off.
 

jis

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Thanks for providing that link. It is interesting. But it still sounds like some CONO equipment would be used but maybe not offered as through cars. The second train would use Horizon cars - not my favorite but at least they have big windows. Of course this may be old news and what we wind up with could be different.
The present NOL - Mobile plan is exactly Alternative B.

According to folks at Amtrak that I have talked to this is the agreed upon planning document that guides everything since it is the Southern Rail Commission that directs this effort and Amtrak executes, and this is the document that they both agreed to.

Naturally, in the process of executing they might discover road blocks to some specifics that might need to change the timetables some and such. But those have to be agreed to by the SRC, and the agreement process will be a public one. That is the whole point of setting up these Commissions as the public policy setting bodies, a model that is likely to be extended to other corridors. For example, this has been done in the NEC too. So the bottom line is, we will know if something is to change.

Yeah logically it is quite obvious that it will be probably the same cars as in Alternative A from CONO that may flow through at least some times, but that is different from CONO running through. But the original point I was making is that there will be no CONO cars in the NOL - Mobile state supported service.

Of course whether anything happens or not will depend on CSX. They cannot outright disagree to run the train, but they can try to charge exorbitant fees to dissuade Amtrak and the states. But they know that they will face problems in Senate if they do so, and CSX is not exactly in a strong position there to claim huge traffic after having gotten rid of the trackage beyond Mobile to Florida.
 

Hytec

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They could satisfy the demand with a pair of diesel rail cars if they could pass buff strength test. Meaning, I foresee ridership below 100 pax per day.
The Amtrak Gulf Coast Limited, 2nd iteration, initial run was June 27, 1996. It started with two coaches because Amtrak, like you, assumed ridership would be very poor. However, by Christmas that year, Amtrak had increased the consist to five coaches because of demand. Believe me, they were full. because we loved it. We didn't have to drive to NOLA any more.

Sadly, The Limited could not operate during the week between Christmas and New Years because CSX shut down the line for repairs to the Rigolets bridge. When operation was restarted after New Years, ridership dropped to just a few people. "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Amtrak cancelled the Limited on March 31, 1997.

I offer the following Wiki posting. Gulf Coast Limited - Wikipedia

Amtrak estimated 134 pax, 2 coaches @ 67 each. By Christmas demand was in excess of 300 pax on weekends. That required 5 coaches, 300/67=4,5 or five coaches.
 
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DonNewcomb

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.....Sadly, The Limited could not operate during the week between Christmas and New Years because CSX shut down the line for repairs to the Rigolets bridge.......
A situation which will affect any service that's dependent on CSX's gulf coast single trackage. Every now and then they take the whole section down for repairs. Thanks for the history, though.

It would be nice to see service that would combine the Gulf Coast Ltd. and Gulf Breeze, connecting New Orleans and Birmingham via Mobile, particularly if it connected with the Crescent in B'ham.
 

west point

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Actually connecting from Mobile - Gulfport and all stations in between to Crescent is possible if thruway Gulfport to Hattiesburg is reinstated. Crescent terrible OTP southbound might make Amtrak not to publish that connection ?
 

neroden

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So the new news in the article is that Amtrak has stopped trying to play nice by asking CSX and NS to cooperate, and has now *told* them that (assuming funding is completed) Amtrak is going to be starting service using its rights under federal law, and they had better get with the program.

It's a "stop stonewalling, the Biden administration and the new Congress won't let you get away with it" notice to CX and NS. That's actually news.
 

neroden

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if you read between the lines, it looks to me like Amtrak is telling CSX it "intends" to start service, but CSX has not yet agreed to host the train. I wonder is this is the prelude for a court fight.
This is Amtrak management signalling that it's ready to beat CSX if CSX tries spurious legal obstruction. Perhaps the win at the STB; perhaps the backing of Congress; perhaps the backing of the Biden administration; they don't expect CSX to be able to obstruct. Good.
 

railiner

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It would be nice to see service that would combine the Gulf Coast Ltd. and Gulf Breeze, connecting New Orleans and Birmingham via Mobile, particularly if it connected with the Crescent in B'ham.
What would be better, that, or extending the Gulf Coast Limited from Mobile up to Atlanta on the CSX route of the former Crescent Limited?
 

DonNewcomb

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What would be better, that, or extending the Gulf Coast Limited from Mobile up to Atlanta on the CSX route of the former Crescent Limited?
If by that you mean NOL, Mobile, Montgomery, Atlanta, etc. That would work.
 

railiner

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If by that you mean NOL, Mobile, Montgomery, Atlanta, etc. That would work.
It would be faster than the Gulf Breeze route, and it would probably be faster than the current NS route, so it could leave New Orleans later and still connect with the Crescent at Atlanta. But then, there would be no train between Montgomery and Birmingham (unless a 'Floridian' was reinstated on that route...
 

20th Century Rider

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Lots of hype... good for tourism and all related businesses. But 'where's the beef?' The politicians say that Amtrak's gonna do it. Will need funding, local and state government cooperation and... more than just talk. Pensacola gets no service???



 

20th Century Rider

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In my dreams, Amtrak runs a train from Chicago to Florida, stopping in Asheville NC along the way. If not Asheville, at least Knoxville or Chattanooga. :cool:
Now you're talking... along with that returning route is access to some of the most beautiful country in America! Take me home country roads!😊

BTW... let's put those beautiful 'repurposed' stations back to what they were intended for!

Isn't that what Amtrak's supposed to do???

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DonNewcomb

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Pensacola gets no service???
Pensacola is either a necessity or a poison pill to Gulf Coast service. Imagine needing to drive from Mobile to P'cola and being forced to go via Bay Minette and Flomaton. Google Maps tells me Mobile to P'cola is 58 minutes. Adding Flomaton to the route more than doubles the time required. The train operates on the same principle.
 

Barb Stout

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Pensacola is either a necessity or a poison pill to Gulf Coast service. Imagine needing to drive from Mobile to P'cola and being forced to go via Bay Minette and Flomaton. Google Maps tells me Mobile to P'cola is 58 minutes. Adding Flomaton to the route more than doubles the time required. The train operates on the same principle.
I read in another thread a few months ago why adding service back to Pensacola and/or the route to and from there was problematic, but I don't remember why. Can someone with a decent memory comment on this?
 

DonNewcomb

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I read in another thread a few months ago why adding service back to Pensacola and/or the route to and from there was problematic, but I don't remember why. Can someone with a decent memory comment on this?
Maybe someone else knows the trackage details (PTC issues, etc). I just know that the tracks run more or less straight out of New Orleans and makes a bee-line into Mobile. From Mobile there is no direct route to P'cola. The tracks turn north and cross the Tensaw river about 15 miles north of Mobile. They then continue northeast through Bay Minette, Atmore and Flomaton where there's a spur that runs 40 miles south to Pensacola. If the train were to continue, after dipping briefly into P'cola the route would turn north again for 8 miles before crossing Escambia Bay to eventually merge with the route of US-90. This is one reason that the Sunset took something like 3 or 4 hours to make a distance (Mobile to P'cola) anyone could drive in one hour.
 

Barb Stout

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Maybe someone else knows the trackage details (PTC issues, etc). I just know that the tracks run more or less straight out of New Orleans and makes a bee-line into Mobile. From Mobile there is no direct route to P'cola. The tracks turn north and cross the Tensaw river about 15 miles north of Mobile. They then continue northeast through Bay Minette, Atmore and Flomaton where there's a spur that runs 40 miles south to Pensacola. If the train were to continue, after dipping briefly into P'cola the route would turn north again for 8 miles before crossing Escambia Bay to eventually merge with the route of US-90. This is one reason that the Sunset took something like 3 or 4 hours to make a distance (Mobile to P'cola) anyone could drive in one hour.
Yeah, that was probably the issue. The thread was with regards to the SSL and why isn't it being re-extended to Jacksonville, FL. Then there was talk about the issues with Pensacola.
 

DonNewcomb

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Yeah, that was probably the issue. The thread was with regards to the SSL and why isn't it being re-extended to Jacksonville, FL. Then there was talk about the issues with Pensacola.
I understand that the tracks east of P'cola lack PTC and have other technical issues but I don't know the details.
 

railiner

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Maybe someone else knows the trackage details (PTC issues, etc). I just know that the tracks run more or less straight out of New Orleans and makes a bee-line into Mobile. From Mobile there is no direct route to P'cola. The tracks turn north and cross the Tensaw river about 15 miles north of Mobile. They then continue northeast through Bay Minette, Atmore and Flomaton where there's a spur that runs 40 miles south to Pensacola. If the train were to continue, after dipping briefly into P'cola the route would turn north again for 8 miles before crossing Escambia Bay to eventually merge with the route of US-90. This is one reason that the Sunset took something like 3 or 4 hours to make a distance (Mobile to P'cola) anyone could drive in one hour.
I was thinking it might be faster nowadays to run the train from Mobile all the way up to Montgomery, then the old Floridian route via Dothan and Waycross to Jacksonville. With the added benefit of serving Montgomery, albeit, missing Tallahassee along the way...
 
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