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Passenger Trains > Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study


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Date: 04/07/21 00:53
Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: GenePoon

Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund Gulf Coast service without an Amtrak study

Progressive Railroading 

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is opposing Amtrak's proposed restoration of passenger-rail service between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, unless the railroad first completes an impact study.

 In a letter filed April 1 with the Surface Transportation Board (STB), Ivey urged regulators to require Amtrak to complete a study of the impact the service would have on freight traffic before the board considers the railroad's application.

 Last month, Amtrak asked the STB to force CSX and Norfolk Southern Railway to allow Amtrak to use the Class Is' tracks for a passenger-rail service between New Orleans and Mobile. The region has been without passenger service since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina damaged infrastructure there.

 Alabama has withheld funding for new Gulf Coast passenger service for several years "because of our concern that any economic benefit from new passenger-rail service will be outweighed by the potential harm to freight-rail service based on the current infrastructure," Ivey wrote to the STB. 

 "I am particularly concerned about the impact to the Port of Mobile, which has been critical to Alabama's substantial growth in exports in recent years," Ivey said.
 An operational modeling study would help identify additional infrastructure that may be necessary to support passenger service, "while both preserving through the existing level and quality of freight service and accommodating the anticipated growth of freight movement through the Port of Mobile and the region more broadly," the governor wrote.

 She added that she understood that Amtrak "refused to renew" an agreement with CSX and NS for a study that was close to being finished.

 "Without a completed operational modeling study, Alabama will not commit to providing any financial support to new Gulf Coast passenger service," Ivey said.

 In a request for comment, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said in an email that the railroad will respond directly to the governor.

 "The matter is before the proper authority, the Surface Transportation (Board), which is where CSX has said it would 'ultimately' be addressed," Magliari said. "The FRA Gulf Coast Working Group Report [page ES-4] includes CSX stating in 2017 this matter was destined for the STB." 


https://www.progressiverailroading.com/amtrak/news/Gov-Ivey-Alabama-wont-fund-Gulf-Coast-service-without-an-Amtrak-study--63136



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/21 01:23 by GenePoon.



Date: 04/07/21 02:45
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: sums007

This is why multi-state "corridors" won't work.  Pure and simple.  Looks good on paper, though.



Date: 04/07/21 05:08
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: Englewood

She might do better to ask for a study on how
the railroads have negatively impacted freight
transportation.

Makes you wonder who is whispering in her ear.



Date: 04/07/21 05:16
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: ctillnc

North Carolina and Virginia DOTs have an excellent relationship, and both are committed to passenger rail. On the other end of the spectrum, neither Alabama nor Mississippi nor Louisiana has a history of serious support for passenger rail post-1971.

Besides ongoing opposition from the Port of Mobile, only two counties in Alabama (Mobile and Baldwin) would significantly benefit from a New Orleans train. Those counties combined have only 13% of the state's population. Nobody in the rest of the state is enthusiastic about a train on the Gulf coast. 



Date: 04/07/21 05:34
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: steamloco

ctillnc Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> North Carolina and Virginia DOTs have an excellent
> relationship, and both are committed to passenger
> rail. On the other end of the spectrum, neither
> Alabama nor Mississippi nor Louisiana has
> a history of serious support for passenger rail
> post-1971.
>
> Besides ongoing opposition from the Port of
> Mobile, only two counties in Alabama (Mobile and
> Baldwin) would significantly benefit from a New
> Orleans train. Those counties combined have only
> 13% of the state's population. Nobody in the rest
> of the state is enthusiastic about a train on the
> Gulf coast. 

This is exactly correct, most of the population lives in the central and northern part of the state.



Date: 04/07/21 05:49
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: Lackawanna484

Over the years, the Port of Mobile, a powerful economic engine, has opposed the whole idea. There are threads going back years with their objections.

The Southern part of Alabama may have a small % of the state's population, but it has a significant share of the state's economic elites.  Several states seem increasingly interested in dictating to their citizens what's good for them.



Date: 04/07/21 05:51
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: altoonafn

At least part of this could have been avoid had Amtrak returned the Sunset Limited to Orlando after Katrina. 



Date: 04/07/21 06:01
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: joemvcnj

I suppose Amtrak's placing this route to Jacksonville in a legally "suspended' status, without the obligatory 180-notice of discontinuance, and keeping a dotted line on their map, would make any portion of it a shoe-in and grandfathered.

Amtrak got their political calculus wrong, again, and their arrogance has bitten them in the ass, again. Same reason putting back a 2nd frequency to Pittsburgh is so difficult. They never should have pulled it off in the first place. That's why this whole corridor thing of theirs, dependent on state DOTs, is headed nowhere. 

 



Date: 04/07/21 06:12
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: P

sums007 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> This is why multi-state "corridors" won't work. 
> Pure and simple.  Looks good on paper, though.

Yes, exactly.  Amtrak is a federal (i.e. NATIONAL) entity.  It needs to start acting like one again.



Date: 04/07/21 06:37
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: Lackawanna484

With Senator Shelby retiring, and Senator Tuberville in his first months, a lot of seniority is vanishing.

Posted from Android



Date: 04/07/21 06:44
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: jlcKS

This is Mobile to  New Orleans service not the restoration of the line to Orlando.   This is considered a brand new service and because it does to go all the way to Orlando as the Sunset and it has to be considered new service.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/07/21 06:44 by jlcKS.



Date: 04/07/21 07:08
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: joemvcnj

Going only as far as Mobile does not make it a brand new service, but partial restoration of an old one. That fact that it is not called Sunset Ltd or comes from LA is not relevant. Still and all, Amtrak blew their opportunity 15 years ago. 



Date: 04/07/21 07:33
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: jlcKS

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Going only as far as Mobile does not make it a
> brand new service, but partial restoration of an
> old one. That fact that it is not called Sunset
> Ltd or comes from LA is not relevant. Still and
> all, Amtrak blew their opportunity 15 years ago. 

Making it a state funded train that goes only from Mobile to New Orleans makes it a new train and also having put it in the studies as a new service like they did with the state supported trains like the Illinois, Virginia and North Carolina ones..   The Sunset is not a state funded train and is part of the National Network.



Date: 04/07/21 07:43
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: joemvcnj

jlcKS Wrote:

> Making it a state funded train that goes only from
> Mobile to New Orleans makes it a new train and
> also having put it in the studies as a new service
> like they did with the state supported trains like
> the Illinois, Virginia and North Carolina ones.. 
>  The Sunset is not a state funded train and is
> part of the National Network.

The issue is freight interference at Mobile of the the physical presence of a passenger train on CSX. It does not matter if the train is state-supported, studied to death, or goes to Florida, or not. 



Date: 04/07/21 08:12
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: nedzarp

Take the money, time and effort and give it to more progressive states. California, Illinois, Virginia, North Carolina, Washington etc.



Date: 04/07/21 08:37
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: Typhoon

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> jlcKS Wrote:
>
> > Making it a state funded train that goes only
> from
> > Mobile to New Orleans makes it a new train and
> > also having put it in the studies as a new
> service
> > like they did with the state supported trains
> like
> > the Illinois, Virginia and North Carolina
> ones.. 
> >  The Sunset is not a state funded train and is
> > part of the National Network.
>
> The issue is freight interference at Mobile of the
> the physical presence of a passenger train on CSX.
> It does not matter if the train is
> state-supported, studied to death, or goes to
> Florida, or not. 

The new service is supposed to be twice daily, vs tri weekly on the "suspended" Sunset.  Quite a bit of difference when it comes to "physical presence".



Date: 04/07/21 09:28
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: TAW

Englewood Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> She might do better to ask for a study on how
> the railroads have negatively impacted freight
> transportation.
>
> Makes you wonder who is whispering in her ear.

There are some folks in Montana, where passenger service restoration is desired, chanting the same mantra.

I guarantee that if the parameters of the study are runing freight trains longer than will fit in sidings and between crossings, and at totally random times and distribution, and the passenger train must run on time, it can't be done. The fact is that the way railroads are run now, double track wouldn't be enough to run the pittance of traffic they have and run apssenger trains on time, and it might not be possible on three tracks.

I worked on a job that involved new passenger service on a railroad that had too many trains and not enough track. The railroads always chant 'all we want is to be kept whole,' so I did a base case study that involved delays and hours of service relief of current traffic on current infrastructure, then compared to adding passenger trains and the infrastructure needed to run them on time (while letting the freight traffic sit). Uh oh...it turns out that 'kept whole' didn't mean that.

You can expect a 'study' of impact to demonstrate that the passenger trains are responsible for all the problems, after a made-up base case that shows that everything is just fine until those awful passenger trains show up.

Extracted from a post a decade ago:
That is the way it was when I was assigned to (not voluntarily and actually under protest because I had really become sick of all of it) Jerry Grinstein's scheduled railroad program. (Regardless of what anyone says or thinks of his time at BN, he knew that the daily chaos throughout the system was costing a lot and he set out to fix it in spite of a lot of internal opposition - a story big enough for a book someday.) That was a big bust for a lot of internal political reasons that will take a chapter in the 'someday' book. As part of that, I developed an operating plan for Everett - Vancouver that would accommodate the traffic. The capacity of that line is so low that there could be no deviation or improvising or it would all fall apart. I was assigned to work on developing the WSDOT rail program in those years. Since the railroad could not be run in its then current state, I designed the infrastructure improvements that WSDOT would buy (extend sidings at English, Bow, Ferndale and build a new siding at Swift, build a yard at Cherry Point to store cars that used to be stored in sidings) into the operating plan I developed for the scheduled railroad program. Unfortunately, railroad operations managers in the field can be a quite independent bunch who do whatever they want regardless of what HQ wants. Even after the operating plan was distributed, they continued to relieve every crew at least once and some twice. Yup, three crews to go 120 miles. Management performance evaluations were based on train starts. Hours of service relief cost was not important compared to train start cost and could be easily buried in the noise. It was the era of Precision Execution and freight train on time performance was below 25%. Then we added those horrid passenger trains. I went through some serious accusations and arguments about that down at the railroad. (I was still working for BN - they left me behind when they moved everything to Ft Worth and I wouldn't go, at which time I became one of those [ugh!] consultants.) Lots of people said some not very nice things and there were even some threats over promoting the new passenger service and making it happen. Then came Day 1. Field managers were instructed that the passenger trains would run on time or there would be extreme consequences. That brought about a degree of discipline I hadn't seen since about 1972. The new passenger trains' on time performance was 100%...and so was freight OTP. Hours of service relief for freight trains went from a dozen or more (for eight trains) to zero instantly. Yup, those passenger trains had a really terrible effect on freight.

TAW



Date: 04/07/21 09:55
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: Winnemucca

Englewood Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> She might do better to ask for a study on how
> the railroads have negatively impacted freight
> transportation.
>
> Makes you wonder who is whispering in her ear.

Or, she might ask for a study on how the freight railrioads have negatively impacted rail passenger transportation.

John Webb
Trinidad, CA



Date: 04/07/21 09:57
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: joemvcnj

Or how PSR negatively affects all rail operations and what are the impacts of adding 2 round trip freight trains per day. 



Date: 04/07/21 10:22
Re: Gov. Ivey: Alabama won't fund service without an Amtrak study
Author: TAW

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> The issue is freight interference at Mobile of the
> the physical presence of a passenger train on CSX.
> It does not matter if the train is
> state-supported, studied to death, or goes to
> Florida, or not. 

Just how does one interfere with a random distribution of trains that use main tracks as parking lots?

I was, let's say, assured, by the Port of Seattle, Port of Tacoma, Port of Lonmgview, Port of Kalama, and a lot of BN freight folks that the introduction of the Sounder and Cascades service would cause all four ports to go out of business, cause BN to go bankrupt, and ultimately result in the state confiscating the railroad. Those assurances, as it were, could become quite heated.

I'll leave the folks reading to compare those predictions with the results.

TAW



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