Happening Now

New Gulf Coast Train: Now The Hard Part

May 10, 2024

By Jim Mathews / President & CEO

Last week I told you that we’re entering the trickiest part of getting new train service finally in place between New Orleans and Mobile, once we got past a public hearing that happened this past Monday to win approval for Amtrak’s temporary platform in downtown Mobile, Ala.

Our colleagues leading the charge in Mobile – Friends of Amtrak-Mobile – were there for the Board of Zoning Adjustment’s hearing this week, and they report that the Board approved the platform unanimously, and with no real public opposition. That started a 15-day clock for getting a zoning special exception to start building the platform, so if no naysayers come out of the woodwork between now and then, and the Federal Railroad Administration approves Amtrak’s environmental fast-track procedures this month, by May 23 everyone should have the approvals to start construction.


The Mobile City Council will have to vote in favor of the City’s lease agreement for the property where the platform-station will sit. They’ll also have to re-approve the Federal Restoration and Enhancement Grant matching funding that the previous Council approved a couple of years ago.

Everyone is hoping the City Council will announce a schedule for a vote this month, so that final approvals can be secured in June. That would be enough time to complete the platform so that service could start before the end of this year. There are seven voting members on the City Council. The last time this issue came up for a vote, the Council voted 5 to 2 in favor, and the hope is that the upcoming vote will turn out the same way.

Do us a favor and support our Friends of Amtrak-Mobile, who are doing their best to make sure that we don’t face the situation of one single City Council member singlehandedly blocking a project of national significance. And the next few weeks will be critical for everyone who cares about getting more trains everywhere to step up and help to make this happen in Mobile.