Alabama Currently Blocking Amtrak Plans Between NOLA and Mobile
During the seemingly never-ending months that have been the coronavirus pandemic I, like a lot of you, have been searching for ways to quell my wanderlust. I like to travel and pandemic lockdowns have really quashed a lot of the plans I've had for not only the year 2020 but 2021 as well.
One of the ways I have been beating boredom is to watch travel videos on YouTube. Most recently I have been spending a lot of time exploring train travel across these United States. I like the pace of train travel. You get to see a lot of the country without having to do the driving and passenger accommodations have certainly improved.
If you weren't aware, Amtrak, America's Railroad does provide service to Lafayette. However, a portion of the rail service that many of us want to explore has been interrupted by Hurricane Katrina. Yeah, that hurricane from 2005. That storm damaged a lot of track that Amtrak uses between New Orleans Louisiana and Mobile Alabama. In fact, that route has been shut down since the 2005 storm.
Efforts to re-start rail service between NOLA and Mobile have been consistently rebuked by the state of Alabama. Just this week Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a statement saying the State of Alabama will oppose Amtrak's use of freight lines between the two cities unless a study is done to explore the potential impact the passenger line will have on the freight lines.
Amtrak has petitioned federal regulators to force CSX and Norfolk Southern to allow passenger service on their tracks that link the two Gulf Coast communities. There will also need to be station upgrades at stops in Mississippi and in Mobile too. Amtrak says it has the funding to make the needed improvements on their end, they just need the use of the rails to bring back passenger service.
Should they get the clearance to begin using the freight line's rails we could see a resumption in passenger service between New Orleans and Mobile restarted as early as January of next year.
I guess if there is a drawback to rail travel it would be the lack of Buc-ees along your route. But if you do find yourself driving through Texas or LA (Lower Alabama) you can satisfy your cravings with these, our favorites from America's largest gas stations.
10 of Buc-ee's Best Snack Options for the Open Road