Mississippi’s Senator Wicker has worked to bring rail travel back for nearly a decade.
After more than 17 years, the ability for passenger rail travel is returning to the Gulf Coast through Amtrack.
On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced that Amtrak, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern Railway and the Alabama State Port Authority reached an agreement to restore passenger rail service between New Orleans and Mobile.
Efforts to restore passenger rail to the area by Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker have been ongoing since at least 2015.
“Today’s agreement is a long overdue win for Mississippi’s Gulf Coast communities, businesses, and job creators,” Wicker said. “Residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast have been without passenger rail service since Hurricane Katrina, and restoring it has been a top priority of mine. Now, more than 17 years after Katrina, I am pleased to have a commitment from all parties involved that Amtrak trains will return. This decision demonstrates what I have long believed — that freight and passenger rail can thrive together.”
In March 2021, Amtrak filed a petition before the Southern Transportation Board to reinstate passenger rail service on the Gulf Coast, throwing their full support behind the effort. This agreement will resolve the case pending before the Surface Transportation Board.
Over the last year, Amtrak has sought to require CSX Transportation Inc. and Norfolk Southern Railroad to allow additional intercity passenger trains, consisting of two roundtrips per day, over the companies’ rail lines between New Orleans and Mobile.