CSX, NS say Gulf Coast passenger service would ‘devastate’ freight operations

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west point

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Other than Tallahassee the gulf coast route just does not have any passenger potential and never did during the Sunset service. Lack of on time service did not happen. Instead of trying to upgrade what 472 miles from Mobile to Jacksonville use another route. The old Gulf Breeze took 15+ hours New Orleans <> JAX. Now the 2004 Amtrak Sunset took 17:00+ both ways. The Crescent takes 13 hours NOL <> ATL. ATL <> JAX was 8:30 on SOU RR and 7:45 on ACL. ATL - JAX miles are either 354- or 349- miles CSX, & NS.

If you combine the NOL - ATL - JAX it only will take 21 hours by way of ATL. That would connect with an extended Palmetto at JAX. The Amtrak Sunset lost an average of 3 - 6 hours when operating NOL < > JAX for whatever reasons. Now that service saves ~120 miles of new route. ATL is all signaled with PTC. Plus, Flomaton - Chattahoochee is 200 miles of non-signaled track and a request to turn off signals on toward JAX has surfaced. Fewer new miles should reduce the capital costs of implementing the service

IMO The under demand on Crescent NOL <> ATL could be better filled. As well thru cars could be implemented for those passengers that want to travel beyond JAX <> NOL and beyond. Another plus would be if the possible DFW/ FTW <> Meridian service connecting to the Crescent would add a lot of potential passengers both toward Carolinas / Virginia / DC and South Georgia / Florida.

Of course, this kind of service requires the solution of the ATL new passenger station.
 

tricia

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Other than Tallahassee the gulf coast route just does not have any passenger potential and never did during the Sunset service. Lack of on time service did not happen. Instead of trying to upgrade what 472 miles from Mobile to Jacksonville use another route. The old Gulf Breeze took 15+ hours New Orleans <> JAX. Now the 2004 Amtrak Sunset took 17:00+ both ways. The Crescent takes 13 hours NOL <> ATL. ATL <> JAX was 8:30 on SOU RR and 7:45 on ACL. ATL - JAX miles are either 354- or 349- miles CSX, & NS.

If you combine the NOL - ATL - JAX it only will take 21 hours by way of ATL. That would connect with an extended Palmetto at JAX. The Amtrak Sunset lost an average of 3 - 6 hours when operating NOL < > JAX for whatever reasons. Now that service saves ~120 miles of new route. ATL is all signaled with PTC. Plus, Flomaton - Chattahoochee is 200 miles of non-signaled track and a request to turn off signals on toward JAX has surfaced. Fewer new miles should reduce the capital costs of implementing the service

IMO The under demand on Crescent NOL <> ATL could be better filled. As well thru cars could be implemented for those passengers that want to travel beyond JAX <> NOL and beyond. Another plus would be if the possible DFW/ FTW <> Meridian service connecting to the Crescent would add a lot of potential passengers both toward Carolinas / Virginia / DC and South Georgia / Florida.

Of course, this kind of service requires the solution of the ATL new passenger station.
Also requires better calling times for the Crescent at ATL and points north. The schedule revision implemented earlier this year is a deal-killer for many or most of us north of ATL, and changing trains (or boarding to head for Florida) close to midnight in ATL would also be a deal-killer for many.
 

Seaboard92

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Well there is a way to fix the Atlanta station situation but its a bit unconventional.

Move the station to where Atlanta Union Station once was. That land is still there it's a flat parking lot for CNN. And there is plenty of land for an off mainline stop.

But now we have a problem Amtrak's Crescent has to back up across the EX Seaboard, Atlantic Coastline, and Louisville & Nashville diamond then go forward again crossing the same lines again. But what if we did this innovative idea.

Reroute the Crescent back on it's original route down the Atlanta & West Point, Western Railway of Alabama, and the Louisville & Nashville down to New Orleans via Montgomery and Mobile. That now gives you a national network train on the corridor allowing you another train that the states won't have to pay for.

But now our problem is that we are losing Birmingham.

So lets create a new route that drops down the Silver Star route from New York to Columbia via Richmond and Raleigh. At Columbia route it onto the EX Southern R Line to Augusta. From Augusta we can either take the direct route via the EX Georgia Road or we can go via the EX Southern to Macon then to Atlanta. Now we have a train headed the right way. Then it crosses the junction heading to Birmingham and Meridian. Then send it west to the Metroplex terminating it in Fort Worth.

That would give us so many good city pairings. NEC-DFW, ATL-CLB, ATL-RGH, ATL-RVR, MOB-NEC, MGT-NEC, MOB-ATL, MGT-ATL.

And it solves Atlanta allowing us to add all of the state supported regional trains, and the long desired Midwest-Florida train.
 

west point

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Seaboard too complicated. Just have CSX duck under at Howell that way NS can fly over CSX then station works and make all 4 MTs will be used by both RRs from Union station / terminal station locations to Howell.
 
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me_little_me

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Seaboard too complicated. Just have CSX duck under at Howell that way NS can fly over CSX then station works and make all 4 MTs will be used by both RRs from Union station / terminal station locations to Howell.
ATL is a case of where a relatively little track work would pay many long term benefits. Like the previously mentioned idea to create a passenger route to enter Chicago and bypass the freight congestion, a little bit goes a long way.
 

DonNewcomb

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We here in Baton Rouge are hoping that if the train runs from Mobile to NO the next logical step is NO to Baton Rouge, it would increase our tourism and we here in BR always go to NO, ....
Tourism is the reason Mississippi is supporting the restoration of Gulf Coast service. You need to get your political types (Mayor, Legislators, Governor, etc) to support the idea.
 

George Harris

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finally! Back in Mississippi
Still not seeing where the 23 miles of new track is coming from. If I were engineering this thing, i would stringline the train movements and make all the siding located appropriately and about 3 miles long each with either No. 20 or No, 24 turnouts on each end (45 mph or 55 mph) Allow 60+ mph passenger speeds in the sidings. The other need would be 4 gate and median barrier protection at all grade crossings. Then you can have a 79/60 or even 79/70 mph speed limits and the line should flow more freely than ever for all traffic. NS should be at most a very minor player in this whole venture. What also needs looking at is ways to speed up the last few miles into NOUPT. The coast trains should be able to "put the pedal to the metal" as soon as possible when out the gate in New Orleans. Same on Mobile end, but probably simpler to resolve there. Don't see how the Port of Mobile would be much affected by anything done on this line.
 

neroden

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I don't want to sound negative here but the fact of the matter is that the freight railroads do not want Amtrak running on their tracks.
Yeah, for the most part, and this is 'cause their management are jerks and idiots who don't know which side their financial bread is buttered on. Which is why we should take their heckling out of the picture by buying the tracks. Since most of them are Wall Streeters, make a decent offer, threaten them with serious trouble with the government if they don't take the offer, and they'll take the offer. Proven to work in Massachusetts and Virginia, among others.

One of the things I liked about Wick Moorman, when he was at NS, is that he knew which side his financial bread was buttered on. He advocated for government to buy the tracks and for freight railroads to be tenants. Eliminates a bunch of high-cost maintenance from the books of the private railroad, transfers some of those costs to government in reality and not just on paper, makes the railroad "asset-light" in a way which makes it look better to Wall Street -- and ends all this stupid fighting with governments, which currently puts the private railroads in a bad regulatory position by making political enemies.
 

cirdan

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We here in Baton Rouge are hoping that if the train runs from Mobile to NO the next logical step is NO to Baton Rouge, it would increase our tourism and we here in BR always go to NO, a lot of people commute from here and then we always go there to party and that drive on I-10, gets vicious sometimes, they turned it down at first but we might have a chance now.When I lived in Lakeland Fla long ago we used to take the train to Orlando, just because we could.Just think school trips for kids on the train . Wow what a treat
wasn’t there talk some years back about setting up Baton Rouge to NOL as a stand-alone corridor . That might make more sense than embedding it into a longer route with all the pass me on delays and vagaries that would imply . Also schedules could be set up to be practical to commuters, tourists etc rather than dependent on things at the other end of some longer route
 

cassie225

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There was talk about setting up Baton Rouge for commuters some years back, but the powers that be turned it down even though the little people thought it was a great idea. They would rather build bridges that go to no where snd I mean literally,when we moved back here my hubbie showed me a beautiful bridge that was built that no one used because it led to no where. That’s Louisiana lol
 

AmtrakMaineiac

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the things I liked about Wick Moorman, when he was at NS, is that he knew which side his financial bread was buttered on. He advocated for government to buy the tracks and for freight railroads to be tenants. Eliminates a bunch of high-cost maintenance from the books of the private railroad, transfers some of those costs to government in reality and not just on paper, makes the railroad "asset-light" in a way which makes it look better to Wall Street -- and ends all this stupid fighting with governments, which currently puts the private railroads in a bad regulatory position by making political enemies
Sounds similar to Network Rail in the UK. That aspect seems to be working for them; they also went further and privatized the train operations which did not turn out so well and are now moving back toward government operation of passenger service.
 
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