• Amtrak New Gulf Coast Service - New Orleans to Mobile AL

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by west point
 
IMO routing the Gulf coast train to Montgomery - Auburn - LaGrange - ATL is great. Have the Crescent continue to Birmingham - Meridian and then to finally end at Dallas / FT. Worth. Gulf coast train would connect to Crescent at Atlanta. Gives station ATL and north access to New Orleans. Any south of ATL on revised Crescent run thruway from Meridian.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
I'm not completly sure what "ground is broken" with this Times article, but it seems to focus in large part on the difficulties encountered with the proposed NO-Mobile service:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/06/us/a ... d=em-share

However, here is the Fair Use quotation that represents the best takeaway:
. Freight companies own a majority of the United States’ railroad tracks, but federal law requires them to give Amtrak access and preference for use.
RPSA70, which remains controlling legislation, does not give Amtrak the right to inform a Class I "we're going to start running a train from A to B tomorrow. Get ready" but rather it says that the parties will negotiate in good faith......"
  by NH2060
 
So Amtrak -a federal agency- is going to *force* CSX -a private company- to make them use their tracks however they please?

I don’t see that playing out well in court. If it doesn’t you might as well say goodbye to any chance of Amtrak returning to the Gulf Coast.

And if it does succeed that could all but certain open up a giant Pandora’s box to the federal government interfering in the operations of privately owned railroads.
  by Ridgefielder
 
NH2060 wrote: Wed Mar 17, 2021 9:02 am So Amtrak -a federal agency- is going to *force* CSX -a private company- to make them use their tracks however they please?

I don’t see that playing out well in court. If it doesn’t you might as well say goodbye to any chance of Amtrak returning to the Gulf Coast.

And if it does succeed that could all but certain open up a giant Pandora’s box to the federal government interfering in the operations of privately owned railroads.
Amtrak is allowed to do this as part of the now-decades-old deals by which CSX and NS predecessor roads (in this case, the Louisville & Nashville and the Southern Railway) offloaded their obligation to provide passenger service onto the Feds.

Also, while I'm not a lawyer I suspect that this may be somewhat of a special case in that, technically, Amtrak never abandoned service between New Orleans and Mobile. The Sunset Limited was "suspended" between New Orleans and Orlando in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina washed out the line, but it was never officially discontinued.

For what it's worth, the Federal Government has been involved with the railroads since 1832, when the Feds first contracted with a railroad to carry the US mail. Hence the ability of railroads to take private land with eminent domain. It's not quite the same as the Government walking in the front door of a Walmart and forcing them to sell a certain brand of T-shirt or something.
  by Kilgore Trout
 
I am not a lawyer, but isn't the phrase "Amtrak has a right to use these railroads’ tracks" just referring to the pre-existing agreements? Re-asserting a previous arrangement does not sound the same to me as "[using] their tracks however they please". I imagine Amtrak is trying this strategy because they think they might win due to the unique suspended status.
  by Jeff Smith
 
IIRC, didn't CSX and other roads get Katrina rebuild money as well? I mocked the fact that NPRC kept the eastern portion of the Sunset on their maps as "suspended", but keeping that in their pocket was a smart thing to do. They've done similar with the Florida service; they agreed to forego the Ocala CSX routing on the Palm to get priority on the route along Palatka, Deland, and Winter Park (I've actually used the Palatka stop)
  by NH2060
 
As someone stated in a prior post the legislation that established the NRPC said Amtrak should be allowed to “reasonably negotiate” with the private freight carriers.

Doesn’t sound like that’s what is going on with Amtrak, CSX, and NS. It sounds like Amtrak has decided “we’re doing this whether you like it or not so suck it up”.

If the Sunset Limited were to be re-instated on its old 2005 schedule and was *legally* “suspended” not “terminated” (or if it was... whatever the passenger train equivalent of “landbanking” is) that would be one thing. They should have the right to start up again whenever they want with an advance notice to the freight RRs for dispatching purposes.

But an entirely new service pattern would need to be reasonably negotiated by all parties involved.
  by Literalman
 
For many years after the Florida extension of the Sunset was discontinued, there was a huge banner in Washington Union Station promoting the transcontinental Sunset service.
  by David Benton
 
Ignoring previous agreements / rights, the railroad has a monopoly in owning the only railroad between those points. Someone wanting to start a rail service has to use those rails . Plenty of precedent in telecommunications and power industries. the government can and does intervene with private companies , just because you own something does not mean you can do whatever you like with it .
  by Roadgeek Adam
 
Rockingham Racer wrote: Wed Mar 24, 2021 8:05 am Not a word in there about CSX and NS objections. We'll see.
Because the article is from March 5 before Amtrak's appeal.
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