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Alabama's Rail Future

When people think of Alabama they do not think of great passenger rail. As of today, this is a correct assessment. Currently there is one long distance Amtrak route, the Crescent. It stops at three stations twice a day with one train heading north to Atlanta and beyond and one headed south towards New Orleans. The Crescent has one of Amtrak's worst on time records and is constantly delayed for various reasons. Overall, it is a pretty abysmal situation for a state that has a similar GDP per capita as Japan.

However there are plans in the works to dramatically improve the passenger Rail situation in Alabama.

Amtrak is planning on introducing three new routes to the state as part of their Connect US initiative. The first route, which will hopefully be running in 2023, will link Mobile to New Orleans with a twice a day round trip. It will supplement the Crescent by adding two short distance trips between Atlanta and Birmingham. And lastly, Amtrak will be adding a new route between Atlanta and Montgomery via Auburn. This plan does not include the suspended service to Orlando which Amtrak is trying to reinstate.

In addition to Amtrak, there are a few additional routes which are currently under study which would do wonders to connect cities within Alabama as well as provide additional long distance interstate trips. These include a new long distance route known as the I-20 Corridor, which will connect Atlanta to Dallas via Birmingham and a short distance route that connects Mobile to Birmingham via Montgomery. This route, if they could extend it to Huntsville, would provide lots of options for travelers to connect to other routes within the state, shortening trip times.

Would you ride the train in Alabama?

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