American Railroads

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Location: Middleburg (Jacksonville), Florida, United States

Published in Trains magazine, Railfan & Railroad, Passenger Train Journal

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sunset’s future is today’s topic for Kummant

New Amtrak CEO Alex Kummant is expected to meet with Gulf Coast officials today which will eventually lead to restarting Sunset Limited service between New Orleans and Orlando. The service ended following Hurricane Katrina’s devastation on CSX tracks from New Orleans, across Mississippi and into Alabama.
Responding at a House Subcommittee on Railroads hearing yesterday to a question from Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., Kummant said, “We are meeting with the Southern Rapid Rail Transit Commission” on Friday.
“We have to come up with relevant, reliable service – even the service on the eastern portion of the Sunset was three times a week, and at night. I know that a number of the stations have yet to be rebuilt, so there are some challenges there.”
He added, “We are reaching out to the states, and we need to work through that.”
The Southern Rapid Rail Transit Commission (SRRTC), is a tri-state group of business leaders and professionals in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
At a recent meeting, Amtrak government affairs officials were there, as were consultants. The SRRTC was vocal in denouncing the plan to remove CSX from the Mississippi Gulf Coast, according to a source.
The SRRTC has been described as supporting two round trips a day between New Orleans and Mobile, Ala. That short distance is about 145 miles. The distance to Jacksonville is 622 miles, and to Orlando is769 miles.

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