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Steps taken toward first expansion of passenger rail in decades

Amtrak and SRC submit a planning grant that will expand long-distance passenger rail service along the I-20 Corridor and in the Deep South.

Today, the Southern Rail Commission and Amtrak announced their application for a Federal-State Partnership for Intercity Passenger Rail Grant from the Federal Railroad Administration for the I-20 Corridor—the first concrete steps to expand long-distance passenger rail service in decades. This grant would fund planning efforts for a new passenger rail service from Fort Worth, TX, across Mississippi and Louisiana, to Atlanta, GA, and is a critical step in bringing connectivity to communities along the route. 

“This route will be one more arrow in the economic quiver for small and midsize communities across the Deep South,” said Beth Osborne, Director of Transportation for America. “We thank Amtrak for their leadership in moving this expansion forward, and we applaud Canadian Pacific for setting an example by serving as a willing and strong partner throughout this process. We look forward to seeing the completion of this route, which has been a long time coming, and hope for similar results in the greater Northwest and Mid-Atlantic, as well as all other underserved parts of the country.”

The I-20 Corridor has been previously studied twice for passenger rail and was determined to be an excellent candidate. The corridor includes numerous underserved and historically disadvantaged communities that will benefit from better transportation options. The rail line would link communities along the route to universities and larger cities, opening the door to attracting a bright young workforce, increasing economic opportunity, and bringing a sense of place to their downtowns. Amtrak’s decision to move forward with plans for the expansion comes before the FRA’s long-distance rail study, which was mandated under the 2021 infrastructure law, demonstrating tremendous initiative to move the project forward.

Partnerships between freight companies and passenger rail providers have been pivotal in moving this expansion along. Freight railroad Canadian Pacific acquired the route from KC Southern, and they’ve proven to be a willing and supportive partner to passenger rail. They will work to implement service for at least one round trip per year within two years, and two round trips within four years.


  1. Myth Dispulsion

    1 year ago

    Is there enough of a market for this effective Crescent branch? (Do supporters care?)

    “at least one round trip per year within two years,
    and two round trips within four years”

    That’s not much service to make a big effort to promote and try to get running?

    Do you mean one trip, later two, per week, if not as some might want, per day?

  2. Don gay

    1 year ago

    A great idea for Texas. Wish Texas Eagle would get fixed now. Route for Heartland Flyer to KC too

    • Judith Kay McGee

      1 year ago

      Concerning the Heartland Flyer, it would be great to see northbound service reinstated from OKC to KC. It’s been a long time coming.

  3. Lee

    1 year ago

    Excited to see more passenger rail opportunities coming to the south!!

  4. Joseph Freedman

    1 year ago

    I have traveled almost all of Amtrak’s routes, including the Texas Eagle, the Crescent, and the Sunset Limited. I live in Philadelphia, PA. A route from Atlanta to Fort Worth would restore Amtrak service to the mid-South, which since the 1970s has lacked for good rail transportation. I do not see why it would not be welcome and much used. It would give more choices to both Southerners and others traveling through the U.S.

  5. mh

    1 year ago

    Maybe when I retire in five+ years, I’ll be able to take an all-rail trip around the country and go everywhere I’m curious about. This is unlikely to be completed by then, but it’s a start.

  6. John Chambers

    1 year ago

    This is a logical expansion of Amtrak service in the south. An east west line with proper connections should do well. This would open a more direct route for eastern United States passengers to get to Texas destinations and with a good connection or through routed cars from the Cresent provide an easier trip than having to go to Chicago and change trains there.