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Mobile Station. Linchpin of the Southeast.

Updated: Mar 31

Mobile needs a new station.

In a recent report, the route between New Orleans and Mobile is ready to roll minus one critical element, a station in Mobile Alabama. 

Historically passenger trains have stopped in two locations. The Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio Passenger Terminal was located on the north end of the CBD and acted as a terminus station for the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio Railroad. This location was decommissioned in the middle of the 20th century and is now an office complex. The other was the old Amtrak station which was decommissioned following Hurricane Katrina. It sits on the Mobile waterfront right next to the convention center. 

Today there are plans to construct a temporary facility next to the convention center, (there is still a platform that can be used) which will allow the return of passenger service to the area sometime in 2024. Despite the frustration of the lack of a station, this does give the people of Alabama a real say in what the modern train station should look like from the ground up. 

Where should it be placed?

Who should it be designed to serve commuters or long distance?

Will people need to drive there or should it be able to be walkable

Should it have shops and restaurants

Do we even need a building?

Once the station is completed Mobile will be a critical interchange point connecting the east and the west.

With the introductions of new routes through the Corridor ID program, FRA Long distance and the Amtrak Connect US plan,  Alabama passenger rail access will be significantly increased. Today there is currently one daily trip going through the center of the state. For those who have used the Crescent, you know it is one of the most inconsistent services on the Amtrak network and only serves a fraction of Alabama's population.  

Once all the new services have started, there will be a total of nine services (six long-distance and three short/ regional) that will cross the state from every direction. Every major city in the state ( with the possible exception of Huntsville) will have a new rail connection. 

In Mobile, new long-distance routes will connect Florida in the east, Montgomery in the north, and the new regional route to New Orleans, Mobile, which has not had a station in almost twenty years, could see a minimum of 12 departures per day!

With all these additional departures a new station will need to be able to cope with the major increase in volume. A simple side platform will just not do. Here are three things we think should be included in the new station.

  1. Multiple wide, level boarding, platforms. Right of the back the station should, at minimum be a double-tracked platform that would allow two trains to sit at the platform at the same time, allowing for bi-directional departures. Looking into the future having multiple platforms will allow the possibility of even more services, including commuter/regional rail.

  2. A modern and spacious indoor waiting area. With so many trains coming from different far-flung locations, many passengers will use the station as a transfer point. Having an indoor facility complete with large restrooms, food options, shops, and even a lounge, would make the transfer experience more enjoyable.

  3. Easy access to downtown. Whether passengers are waiting for their next train or Mobile is their destination, having easy access to downtown is critical to making the traveling experience easy. So when the station is built bike share, public transport connections, designated motor vehicle pick-up areas, and obvious walking paths all must be included.

Let us know what you think! Comments will be posted in our news section and on our social media pages

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