Passenger Train Between N.O. and Baton Rouge Moves Closer to Reality

NEW ORLEANS – On Oct. 26, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an agreement that may clear the way for the return of intercity passenger rail service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. He was joined at a signing event at the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal by Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Eric Kalivoda and Amtrak Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gardner.

“An Amtrak line connecting Louisiana’s capital to the largest metropolitan area in the state will have immense economic benefits for both cities and the parishes in between,” said Edwards. “Not only will this service potentially reduce the number of vehicles on the roadways which will result in less congestion, but it will also connect communities through employment opportunities and allow for more transportation options for festivals, sporting events, and concerts.”

Stakeholders, including the Southern Rail Commission, have been working since 2008 to restore the service, which has been absent for more than 50 years.

“Baton Rouge lost passenger rail service in 1969, two years before Amtrak began,” Gardner said. “This is a step toward correcting a gap in the Amtrak national network that is more than 54 years old.”

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Officials estimate the service could be back in operation by 2027. The as-yet-unnamed route, which is expected to last between 75 to 90 minutes, could stop in Baton Rouge, Gonzales, LaPlace, the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, an as-yet-identified stop in Jefferson Parish and the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal.

Amtrak will use tracks currently in place along the I-10 corridor and owned by Canadian Pacific Kansas City and CN railways. 

Infrastructure upgrades may begin in 2024.

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Sunni LeBeouf

Black History Month Spotlight This Black History Month, Cox Communications is proud to recognize Sunni LeBeouf for her prolific record of professional achievement, civic philanthropy,...

The last passenger train between Baton Rouge and New Orleans was the Southern Belle.

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