Amtrak Crescent train crosses Lake Pontchartrain

Photos: Amtrak

Amtrak Crescent train crosses Lake Pontchartrain.

USA: Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission are to apply for federal funding to study a proposed passenger service linking New York and Dallas/Fort Worth via Atlanta.

The partners envisage that the service could be provided by extending a section of the New York – Atlanta – New Orleans Crescent service from Meridian in Mississippi through Louisiana and Texas. The coalition of regional stakeholders believes that a rail service could provide an attractive alternative to car travel on the congested Interstate 20 corridor, given that regional air services are also shrinking.

I-20 corridor

The national passenger operator has been exploring the idea with its local partners for more than 20 years, but said that the prospect of federal funding through Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act had provided a new opportunity.

‘Amtrak will work with our partners to seek the funds needed to study expansion and improvement options where strong stakeholder support exists and initial analysis shows opportunity’, explained Vice-President of Network Development Nicole Bucich on March 10. ‘This application is the first step in determining the feasibility of this concept and the benefits and challenges.’

SRC Chairman Knox Ross said ‘this has the potential to be the first new Amtrak service of its kind in more than 25 years and it would come in an area that has long been under-served by passenger rail. Now that we have a way forward for new state-sponsored corridor service between New Orleans and Mobile, the I-20 route has been identified by the SRC as its next priority.’