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Update on Alabama's Passenger Rail Progress

The last step to restoration of passenger rail service between Montgomery and Birmingham was initiated in October, when the Southern Rail Commission completed an application to the Federal Railroad Administration for a $950,000 grant to complete environmental studies of the rail corridor.

Passenger service can “launch in the next six to nine months easily when the grant is awarded,” says Bill McFarland, one of the five Alabama representatives on the board of the Commission.

The Southern Rail Commission is a three state-compact — Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama — leading efforts to restore passenger rail service to the South.

The only passenger service up and running in Alabama now is Amtrak’s Crescent route, with Alabama stops in Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Anniston. 

The Commission also has a grant application before the FRA for a corridor study for passenger service along the Gulf Coast, from New Orleans to Jacksonville. That passenger line, running through Mobile, was active until 2005, when Hurricane Katrina knocked it out. 

A corridor study for passenger service between Mobile and Montgomery is pending completion. It is the second phase of the study already completed for the line between Montgomery and Birmingham.

Jan 15, 2015 08:55 am
 Posted by  cyndean

I live in Satsuma, Alabama where we have two railway lines that come through our city along US 43. It would be so awesome to board a train in Satsuma and ride across the river north to Montgomery and other cities in our state. I wish the City of Mobile would get on the ball and bring shopping, entertainment, restaurants, movie theaters, doctors/dentist offices, etc. and something for families to do and other venues to downtown Mobile. We are a city on the bay with nothing to do. I can envision myself boarding a train in Satsuma with my little folding cart to go shopping, see the dentist, eat lunch and whatever else I want to do and enjoy the train ride back to Satsuma at the end of a wonderful day. Mobile is sitting on a goldmine next to a river and a bay but nothing to do. The city has some entertainment downtown but very little of it is family orientated plus you have to drive your car and find and pay for a place to park! We need train service to and from Mobile, via Interstates 10 and 65 and Highways 43,90. I know it will never happen in my life time but I sure would like to see the comeback of train service here in the deep south! Thank You, Cynthia Hill, Satsuma, Alabama

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