The State of Alabama is criss-crossed by over 3,750 miles of track. Twenty-seven railroad companies operate within the state hauling 193 million tons of cargo annually.
Alabama has only one Regional/ Class II railroad: Alabama & Gulf Coast Railway (AGR). The AGR operates over 429 miles of track from Columbus, MS to Pensacola, FL and from Kimbrough, AL to Mobile, AL. In Alabama, the AGR operates 344 miles of track hauling paper products, coal, cottonseed, and lumber with a system wide volume of 58,000 carloads annually.
Today there are 22 Class III railroads operating in Alabama. Some of these companies operate line haul services, others operate only within switching yards, and others are privately owned lines serving a single company. Many Class III railroads took over track taken out of service by larger Class I railroads.
Since January 2002, there are eleven high speed rail corridors that have been designated by the FRA under ISTEA and TEA-21. One of these, the Gulf Coast High-Speed Rail Corridor, has two of its three segments located in Alabama. One is the Sunset Limited route between Mobile, AL and New Orleans, LA. The other is the corridor from New Orleans to Atlanta, GA.
The existing freight routes in these corridors are among the highest density in Alabama for CSX and NS, respectively. Corridor planning under FRA guidance has been completed for the New Orleans to Mobile segment and between Lake Charles, LA and Meridian, MS. Corridor planning from Meridian to Atlanta is of great interest to the Southern Rail Commission along with reinstatement of former passenger service, such as the Gulf Breeze and the Gulf Coast limited.
- Critical evacuation route from gulf coast cities
- Creation of 500 jobs in linking Birmingham to Montgomery
- Capital investment will break even after five years
- Provides alternative modes of travel to casinos, conventions and other tourist destinations
- Relieves high congestion on highways as more than 5 million people annually visit the beaches of southern Alabama
- Serves the workforce of growing industries such as gas, petrochemical, aerospace and shipping