Amtrak goes straight to STB to restore Gulf Coast service.

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neroden

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They weren't kidding when they indicated that they weren't going to let CSX delay things.

Historians of Amtrak -- - is this a first for Amtrak?



So I counted STB votes. There are five STB members. Oberman, Shultz, and Primus will most likely side with rail passengers based on their history, and I think Fuchs will too; Begeman might as well. Oberman spent most of his career at Metra. Shultz spent her entire career at SEPTA. Primus worked as legislative assistant to pro-rail Democrats in heavily rail-dependent districts. Fuchs was pressed on this specific question during his confirmation hearing by Senator Wicker and said he was open to prescribing terms and conditions to the freight railroads. Begeman has not shown any particular interest in passenger rail but has often sided with shippers against freight railroads, which is a similar issue.

So I think Amtrak is likely to get what it wants at the STB. Expect the dishonest, lawbreaking sore losers at CSX and/or NS to file frivolous lawsuits -- though they would be wise not to, with the Biden administration, majorities of both houses of Congress, and significant numbers of Senate Republicans (led by Senator Wicker) ready to pass a law specifically to make Gulf Coast service happen (which could overrule any court).
 

neroden

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What, no comments? Did I really say everything there is to be said about this?

Has Amtrak ever before gone to the STB (or before that the ICC) to demand its right to be hosted?
 

Dakota 400

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significant numbers of Senate Republicans (led by Senator Wicker)
I was unaware that Senator Wicker was that strong of an Amtrak supporter. How are you defining "significant numbers"? Do you have a number in mind?
 

MARC Rider

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I was unaware that Senator Wicker was that strong of an Amtrak supporter. How are you defining "significant numbers"? Do you have a number in mind?
Sen. Wicker might not be an Amtrak supporter in general, but I suspect he supports the idea of a train serving his state, especially if there's local support for it.

Many Americans don't realize how provincial our national legislators are -- all of them, regardless of state or party.
 
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Just-Thinking-51

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This is just another step towards this service starting. As the OP stated the lawsuit by the freight railroads come next. The light at the end of tunnel is not a train, it’s a bunch of lawyers using there phone to slow or stop this project.
 

me_little_me

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This is just another step towards this service starting. As the OP stated the lawsuit by the freight railroads come next. The light at the end of tunnel is not a train, it’s a bunch of lawyers using there phone to slow or stop this project.
A good reason to speed up. Would get positive news for Amtrak. "We run down sleazy lawyers!"
 

jis

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I was unaware that Senator Wicker was that strong of an Amtrak supporter. How are you defining "significant numbers"? Do you have a number in mind?
More of a Gulf Coast Service supporter. I suspect that to the extent that brings Amtrak along, that too. ;) I don;t think we ever heard a peep from him when the Crescent lost Diner service, and even now that it is not scheduled to get it back.
 

NES28

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I will remind people of the case in the late 1980s where Amtrak took ownership of the Connecticut River line from the Boston & Maine RR by eminent domain when it refused to maintain it to safe passenger train standards. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the action. After the line was upgraded Amtrak sold it to the Central Vermont.
 

DonNewcomb

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I was unaware that Senator Wicker was that strong of an Amtrak supporter. How are you defining "significant numbers"? Do you have a number in mind?
What @MARC Rider said. Wicker may not give a hoot about Amtrak routes in California but he wants Mississippi to get its "fair share*" of whatever is passed out.

*Where "fair share" means "as much as possible".
 

John Bredin

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What @MARC Rider said. Wicker may not give a hoot about Amtrak routes in California but he wants Mississippi to get its "fair share*" of whatever is passed out.

*Where "fair share" means "as much as possible".
Which is better than the governors (Walker, Kasich, etc.) who refused federal funds for significant network-expanding improvements to passenger rail service because the funds were (approved by Congress but) associated with Obama.
 

neroden

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"Significant" == "more than one" in this case, meaning enough to put riders into legislation even if a couple of Democrats aren't on board with it. And yes, Wicker is primarily interested in Gulf Coast service; very parochial. He's got a few others on board.
 
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Frankly, I just don't see the service being restored, much as I would like to see it come back. Did I read that the governor of Alabama said she was opposed to it? Or liked the idea but wasn't going to throw any money at it? I've been watching everything about this route ever since it was discontinued (or "suspended," as the Amtrak timetable states, lol) for nearly 20 years now. I don't think the stations across north Florida could produce sufficient ridership: Pensacola, Crestview, Chipley, Marianna, Tallahassee, Lake City. A single train Los Angeles>Miami would be amazing, or even to Orlando, but ... I just don't think it's in the cards.
 

jis

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Even if service is restored all the way to Florida, it would likely be either an extension of the CONO or a new route rather than an extension of the SL.
Yup. Literally no one, except maybe a few railfans mostly for sentimental reasons, want a thrice a week service to be extended. They all seem to prefer daily service that does not depend on a delay prone trans-continental service running miraculously on time..
 
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zephyr17

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Well, even on the recently released plans, it's still shown on the map as "suspended", so maybe ... sometime in the future ...
It shows suspended because Amtrak never did the 6 month notice of discontinuance required to formally discontinue it by the National Rail Passenger Act of 1970. It's been that way since Katrina. Keeping it suspended means it isn't officially discontinued and Amtrak is in technical compliance with the Act that created it, though violating its intent. Amtrak has repeatedly demonstrated it has absolutely no intention of reviving the service and intends to leave it in "suspended" status forever.
 

jis

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I don't think anybody including CSX, the short line that CSX sold most of the route to, FRA, Federal DOT, STB, the Southern Rail Commission, Senator Weicker or anyone else really believes that the Sunset East will ever get reinstated at this point. The Israelis call such things "establshing facts on the ground". It is well known that it often works too well
 
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neroden

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I don't think anybody including CSX, the short line that CSX sold most of the route to, FRA, Federal DOT, STB, the Southern Rail Commission, Senator Weicker or anyone else really believes that the Sunset East will ever get reinstated at this point. The Israelis call such things "establshing facts on the ground". It is well known that it often works too well
The real issue is that Pensacola, the cities in the Florida Panhandle, and the state government of Florida, doesn't seem to care. If they were raising enough of a ruckus, it would come back. That seems to be how it works.
 
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