dgvrengineer wrote: ↑Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:50 pm
Are we sure the change to terminate the run at the airport precludes a stop downtown? My take is rather than have the train sit in the downtown station until it's return trip, it will stop downtown, then terminate at the airport to await it's trip back to NO.
My initial post about the Brookley Field terminus was made from memory of viewing the presentation live. The video of the talk has now been posted, but appears to only be available to folks who registered for the conference. At the risk of over-interpreting what was a relatively casual presentation by several Southern Rail Commission (SRC) board members I re watched the video and provided relevant quotes from Stephen McNair below:
"The downtown [Mobile] passenger site (the legacy site) is where the platform is going to be when service returns until perhaps it is moved to an airport site. For the time-being, at least a platform will be downtown."
"With the downtown platform being where the dropoff point is going to be for the time-being, there is a real push locally to have the primary station at Brookley field. For more of an intermodal facility facility there, and the airport authority really wants to make that happen. Its part of [the airport authority's] master plan and it opens up many grant opportunities for the authority. And, quite frankly it moves the platform about a mile further west out of downtown which means that Amtrak would not cross the north-south access point where coal trains come in from Birmingham and so it creates an environment where Amtrak really is out of the way of port activity but it supports the airport, so its a win win. But we will need FRA approval on where, exactly, the platform will be on the Brookley campus. But that negotiation [of putting the main station [main station are my words not McNair's] at Brookley] was also part of receiving verbal commitments for funding at the local level."
"A lot of people might say, "that doesn't make any sense, wouldn't you want the station to be downtown?". Well, in order to receive the funding, sometimes you can't get exactly what you want. And so that is why putting the station at Brookly may secure all of the operating, and possibly infrastructure funds [airport authority infrastructure grants were implied as the source of this funding] that we need. But it creates something new and exciting for the greater downtown ecosystem of having trains, planes and automobiles together all within a half-mile radius." [he said earlier that he viewed Brookley Field as a "downtown" airport so the SRC appears to be rationalizing the Brookley end point as close enough to downtown.]
That was pretty much everything that was discussed about Mobile. While the text above looks a bit garbled, they are a faithful recreation of what was said. There is certainly some ambiguity here about the permanence of the downtown platform, but it appears (to me) that the city of Mobile (who is the only financial contributor to the service in Alabama so far) has made their funding commitment on the condition of passenger service not interfering with with port freight service in any way.
The only visuals used in McNair's presentation were two unadorned Google Maps satellite images. One was of downtown Mobile and the other was of Brookley field and I-10. There were two other speakers from the SRC (John Robert Smith and Knox Ross), but neither discussed the details of routing or Brookley field.