Amtrak Sunset East Reactivation Proposal (Including City of New Orleans Extension)

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bostontrainguy
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Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by bostontrainguy » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:09 pm

WASHINGTON — The Federal Railroad Administration is soliciting applications for $24 million in grant funding to “initiate, restore, or enhance intercity passenger rail service.” “We’re encouraging applicants to leverage federal Restoration and Enhancement grants to support large-scale, intercity passenger rail improvements,” FRA Administrator Ronald L. Batory said in a press release. Notably, the list of projects to receive funding priority in funding includes “applications that …restore service over routes formerly operated by Amtrak, including routes in the Gulf Coast region between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Orlando, Florida,” a description tailor-made for the ongoing efforts of the Southern Rail Commission to restore service on that route.

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Rockingham Racer
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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by Rockingham Racer » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:53 am

Four states involved. Would the four have to decide which ONE is going to apply? Or do all four have to apply?

Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:59 am

The source for Mr. Trainguy's report is TRAINS Newswire and dated Nov 6

CHTT1
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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by CHTT1 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:06 pm

Southern Railway Commission has been focusing on two-a-day Mobile-New Orleans service. Full restoration of the Sunset East would soak up all $24 million. I think the money will be spread around to several projects around the country, rather than spending the whole pot on the restoration of a long distance route of dubious value.

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Tadman
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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by Tadman » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:06 pm

I'm much more encouraged about the idea of a 2x MOB-NOL route than a Sunset East revival. There is a fair amount of industry and tourism on the gulf coast down here.
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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:47 pm

They had me fooled with their officious title. but guess what; they are just another train advocacy group.

Like I do any others, take 'em with a good grain of salt - better yet, a C112, Covered Hopper, full of salt:

https://www.southernrailcommission.org/

However, I should note that I wholly concur with any Local initiative to develop, and fund, reasonable and practical Corridors such as Mobile-New Orleans.

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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by prokowave » Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:26 pm

So is this 24 million in addition to the 40ish million already committed to restoration of the NOL-MOB corridor? The last I heard that project was already in motion although there was still some question over whether Alabama would contribute its share of the match.

I could see the 24 million being used to extend it further to Pensacola, which would be a logical stopping point, allowing the SSL to be run without additional equipment.

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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:58 pm

Guessing that $24m will get sucked into a black hole vaguely named “maintenance base” or “ADA improvements”, meaning “a few improvements and a lot of pork.”
prokowave wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:26 pm
So is this 24 million in addition to the 40ish million already committed to restoration of the NOL-MOB corridor? The last I heard that project was already in motion although there was still some question over whether Alabama would contribute its share of the match.

I could see the 24 million being used to extend it further to Pensacola, which would be a logical stopping point, allowing the SSL to be run without additional equipment.
I really don’t see a DeSantis-led government contributing a Florida penny to an Amtrak project, especially one that takes Floridians solely away from Florida.

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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by lordsigma12345 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 7:34 am

I don’t see the prospects of any new Amtrak service in this country, of any kind, without state investment regardless of the distance rule - I just don’t think congress has the appetite to add federal funding for a new route. I think the chances of them doing “Sunset East” again are slim to none. The NOL - MOB will come first. Nothing more will come unless Florida comes to the table with some money and it would surprise me if they do. Personally I think they should be expected to cough up some dough if they want to restore rail to the panhandle - Florida benefits from three long distance routes including two train frequencies from many stations simply due to the distance rule which is more service than some state supported corridors get. I think it would be fair to ask them to pony up some cash to get this one back. If that were to occur I’d expect a MOB - ORL day train to fill in the gap- or maybe a NOL - ORL overnighter, but I personally don’t think extending Sunset again is the way to go. If it was me I’d make it a different train. The old sunset was just too long a route and OTP becomes unmanageable.

The original proposal I had heard was the NOL - MOB two train a day corridor and eventually a single NOL - ORL Train. However so far haven’t seen much involvement from Florida other than local folks in the Tallahassee area stating they want rail service back, hence you aren’t seeing the latter mentioned these days.

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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by jonnhrr » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:46 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:58 pm
I really don’t see a DeSantis-led government contributing a Florida penny to an Amtrak project, especially one that takes Floridians solely away from Florida.
Presumably the train runs in both directions which means it is probably likely to bring more people into Florida than it takes out, given the number of tourist attractions there. Usual shortsightedness from politicians.
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bostontrainguy
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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by bostontrainguy » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:36 pm

jonnhrr wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:46 pm
mtuandrew wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 4:58 pm
I really don’t see a DeSantis-led government contributing a Florida penny to an Amtrak project, especially one that takes Floridians solely away from Florida.
Presumably the train runs in both directions which means it is probably likely to bring more people into Florida than it takes out, given the number of tourist attractions there. Usual shortsightedness from politicians.
Excellent point. This will bring people INTO Florida. There is a lot to do here and there are major expansions planned.

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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by gokeefe » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:26 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:47 pm
They had me fooled with their officious title. but guess what; they are just another train advocacy group.
I'm afraid you should have read a little further Mr. Norman. SRC is in fact a quasi-governmental agency with a multi-state mission and official partnership agreements with the respective state government bodies corporate and politic.
gokeefe

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Re: Amtrak Sunset East Reactivation Proposal (Including City of New Orleans Extension)

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Tue Nov 12, 2019 7:47 pm

Duly noted; Mr. O'Keefe.

But I still hold that the only Corridor is Mobile-NO., and thst agency is advocating restoration of the entire Sunset East, which was simply a "Politico Train".

Those that pushed it, i.e. Sen. Lott, are now on K Street.

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Re: Amtrak Sunset East Reactivation Proposal (Including City of New Orleans Extension)

Post by mtuandrew » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:35 pm

Messrs. O’Keefe and Norman: Senator Jones (AL) seems like he would be in favor of such a route and willing to push for it.

—————

jonnhrr & BTG: I know that and you know that, and Florida’s governor knows that. Doesn’t matter though - a train that ends in Pensacola does little for the state’s mobility at large.

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Re: Looks like the Sunset Limited East may be coming back

Post by eolesen » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:35 am

jonnhrr wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:46 pm
Usual shortsightedness from politicians.
Correction -- assumed short-sightedness because the current FL Gov is a Republican....

I'm not sure that's a safe assumption, either. Brightline is changing minds about how to make rail work, and without massive subsidies.

Hint: not all conservatives are against rail, especially where it makes sense.

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