• 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 electricron
 
eolesen wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:08 am Interesting. Apply that same logic at the gulf ports during times Amtrak is scheduled and I think you have a decent compromise to discuss.
Again, what seems reasonable in New Jersey may not be reasonable in Mississippi. One size does not fit everyone. Per Wiki for the Portal Bridge
"As of 2015, the only regularly scheduled commercial traffic on the river is a barge full of sludge traveling from Bergen County Utilities Authority complex in Little Ferry to a sewage treatment plant in Newark. For the last four months of 2014, of the 90 times the bridge was opened, 75 were to provide service to the sludge barge. All sludge has been trucked since 2016."
Four months is the equivalent of 120 days. Bridge is opened for ship traffic less than once a day back then. Since 2016, 90 openings in 120 days has been reduced to 15 times in 120 days with the elimination of the sludge barge traffic, or opening the bridge fir ship traffic once every 12 days.

Now consider how often the 7 drawbridges between New Orleans and Mobile are opened for ship traffic.
(1) Almonaster Avenue Bridge over New Orleans Industrial Canal (Bascule)
(2) Fort Macomb railroad bridge (Swing)
(3) Rigolets Pass Bridge (Swing)
(4) John Cane Bayou Bridge (Swing)
(5) Bay St. Louis Bridge (swing)
(6) Biloxi Bay Bridge (Swing)
(7) Pascagoula River railroad bridge (Bascule)
Seven drawbridges adds complexity than having just one.
Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, not the Department of Transportation, regulates all drawbridges over navigable waters. The regulation consists to two major parts, (A) generic nation wide and (B) specific drawbridges. Not every drawbridge is listed in part B.
Under part (A) drawbridges must open immediately for ships once signaled.
Under part (B) drawbridges can have their own regulations for how early to signal, their own set schedules, etc.
I'm not so sure the Coast Guard will want to set up a specific part B regulations for 7 individual drawbridges for just 4 trains a day service. :(
  by eolesen
 
And thats why CSX is asking for so much money.... 14 bridge approaches (approx 30-45 miles of track in swamps) and 28 control points to maintain that 80% on-time obligation, plus presumably PTC over the full 150 miles of the route.

Amtrak's response seems to be "don't use the line for 8-12 hours a day"... except that's a 33-50% taking.

Also... some reporting says 17 bridges, not 7. Don't know which one is correct. If it's 17, then that's closer to 100 miles of approaches... might as well double track the line at that point.
  by electricron
 
eolesen wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 7:52 pm And thats why CSX is asking for so much money.... 14 bridge approaches (approx 30-45 miles of track in swamps) and 28 control points to maintain that 80% on-time obligation, plus presumably PTC over the full 150 miles of the route.

Amtrak's response seems to be "don't use the line for 8-12 hours a day"... except that's a 33-50% taking.

Also... some reporting says 17 bridges, not 7. Don't know which one is correct. If it's 17, then that's closer to 100 miles of approaches... might as well double track the line at that point.
17 drawbridges all the way between New Orleans and Orlando, just 7 between New Orleans and Mobile.
  by electricron
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 9:10 am
electricron wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 8:11 am 17 drawbridges all the way between New Orleans and Orlando, just 7 between New Orleans and Mobile.
How many of that was to just New Orleans to Jacksonville?
To break it down, 17 between New Orleans and Orlando, 4 between Jacksonville and Orlando, 6 between Jacksonville and Mobile, 7 between New Orleans and Mobile.
To second check, 4+6+7=17
  by STrRedWolf
 
electricron wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:01 pm To break it down, 17 between New Orleans and Orlando, 4 between Jacksonville and Orlando, 6 between Jacksonville and Mobile, 7 between New Orleans and Mobile.
To second check, 4+6+7=17
So 13 to get to Jacksonville, and possibly meet up with the Silver services. Interesting.
  by Ridgefielder
 
electricron wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 5:46 pm
eolesen wrote: Sat Jul 31, 2021 9:08 am Interesting. Apply that same logic at the gulf ports during times Amtrak is scheduled and I think you have a decent compromise to discuss.
Again, what seems reasonable in New Jersey may not be reasonable in Mississippi. One size does not fit everyone. Per Wiki for the Portal Bridge
"As of 2015, the only regularly scheduled commercial traffic on the river is a barge full of sludge traveling from Bergen County Utilities Authority complex in Little Ferry to a sewage treatment plant in Newark. For the last four months of 2014, of the 90 times the bridge was opened, 75 were to provide service to the sludge barge. All sludge has been trucked since 2016."
Four months is the equivalent of 120 days. Bridge is opened for ship traffic less than once a day back then. Since 2016, 90 openings in 120 days has been reduced to 15 times in 120 days with the elimination of the sludge barge traffic, or opening the bridge fir ship traffic once every 12 days.
Seems to me that if we're looking for an NEC comparison here it's not Portal but Thames River, with a couple shipyards and the Navy base upstream of the bridge.
  by David Benton
 
Wouldnt it be better to look at the number of boats (openings) , and therefore potential for disruption. I.e if a bridge opens once a week for boats , vs several times a day , then it is less of a disruption.
  by west point
 
Wonder if draw span openings are like New Haven - BOS. Are some of the spans open except for trains and others closed until a boat needs to pass ? Note it may be seasonal for any span ? Now at NOL definitely different.
  by Pensyfan19
 
Looks like an all clear ahead!

https://www.progressiverailroading.com/ ... ase--64265
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has denied a motion from CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway to dismiss Amtrak’s request for the board to require the two Class Is to allow Amtrak to relaunch a Gulf Coast passenger-rail service.

In a ruling dated Aug. 5, the STB said its decision denies the Class Is’ motion to dismiss, denies as moot a request for an interim order regarding track access by Amtrak, establishes a procedural schedule and appoints an administrative law judge to resolve disputes in the matter.

Earlier this year, Amtrak announced plans to introduce passenger-rail service starting Jan. 1, 2022, between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. The region has been without passenger service since Hurricane Katrina damaged rail infrastructure there in 2005.
  by lordsigma12345
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 6:30 pm
electricron wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 12:01 pm To break it down, 17 between New Orleans and Orlando, 4 between Jacksonville and Orlando, 6 between Jacksonville and Mobile, 7 between New Orleans and Mobile.
To second check, 4+6+7=17
So 13 to get to Jacksonville, and possibly meet up with the Silver services. Interesting.
Jacksonville isn't going to happen anytime soon -while it’s true this was a long distance route that wouldn’t technically need state money to resume, the bottom line is federal money is only going to likely fund the current routes - any new service regardless of length is going to have to come out of the corridor program and that means state support. There would need to be political interest and dollars behind it from Alabama and Florida - Alabama’s state government outright opposes this corridor and would have to get on board with it in order to extend east and then, of course, Florida also. Extension to Jacksonville or Orlando would probably not be Sunset east or CONO east would most likely be a coach only extension of the NOL-Mobile service.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Pensyfan19 wrote: Fri Aug 06, 2021 6:54 pm Looks like an all clear ahead!

https://www.progressiverailroading.com/ ... ase--64265
The Surface Transportation Board (STB) has denied a motion from CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway to dismiss Amtrak’s request for the board to require the two Class Is to allow Amtrak to relaunch a Gulf Coast passenger-rail service.

In a ruling dated Aug. 5, the STB said its decision denies the Class Is’ motion to dismiss, denies as moot a request for an interim order regarding track access by Amtrak, establishes a procedural schedule and appoints an administrative law judge to resolve disputes in the matter.

Earlier this year, Amtrak announced plans to introduce passenger-rail service starting Jan. 1, 2022, between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama. The region has been without passenger service since Hurricane Katrina damaged rail infrastructure there in 2005.
Associated Press report, basically. Same here: https://www.al.com/news/mobile/2021/08/ ... rvice.html

Announcement from STB and link to decision: https://prod.stb.gov/news-communication ... /pr-21-34/

Going through the filing...
  • Decided on the 5th, actually, but published yesterday.
  • Amtrak filed on March 16th and it's been back and forth between it, CSX, NS, USDOT, FRA, and interested parties.
  • Congress in 2015 ordered creation of the Gulf Coast Working Group, which in 2017 said "Run the trains, Frank."
  • GCWG also estimated the cost of needed improvements to run New Orleans to Mobile service was aproximately $100M.
  • CSX objected, revealed it conducted it's own study in 2016, and estimated $2B. Amtrak objected because CSX did it themselves (was not independent).
  • In an attempt to resolve the issue, a Rail Traffic Controller study was commenced in Jan 2020 with a hard cut-off of Jan 2021. It did not conclude and was aborted.
  • Amtrak pushed the issue. CSX and NS objected, thus the STB filing.
  • STB dismisses CSX/NS's claims that "it's not ready to be tried before the STB" with essentially "Enough of your stalling, we're holding a hearing."
  • STB tells the parties "We hear your concerns but you need to express them during the right hearing. This ain't it."
  • STB tells CSX/NS "Nice try on the environmental review ploy, but this doesn't clear the bar for one. It's four trains, not a doubling of traffic, on existing lines that ran them before. It's a restoration. Plus, since no property's being transfered, no historic report is needed. "
  • STB sets down a procedural schedule, and employs Administrative Law Judge Thomas McCarthy from the Federal Mine Safety & Health Review Commission to overhear any discovery disputes. It also reminds Amtrak, CSX, and NS that discovery is very broad and not to hold anything back. Send copies of filings and documents to him on hard copy and email his clerks.
So, the schedule:
  • Discovery -- now until Sept 20th
  • CSX/NS opening evidence -- Sept 20th to Oct 20th.
  • Amtrak replies -- Oct 20th to Nov 19th.
  • CSX/NS rebuttals -- Nov 19th to Dec 9th.
  • Proposals on hearing format by Dec 16th.
Hmmm... I see the passenger trains not starting in January 2022...
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