June 1982

The 97th Congress adopted P. L. 97-213 which enabled the formation of an Interstate Rail Compact.

• Approved by Louisiana, Mississippi & Alabama legislatures
• Allows contiguous states to become members

The founding members of the Southern Rail Commission. 

The founding members of the Southern Rail Commission. 


August 1983

The Louisiana-Mississippi-Alabama Rapid Rail Transit Commission is formed.

Commission undertakes feasibility study for proposed commuter service linking New Orleans to Baton Rouge, Slidell and Mobile in anticipation of World’s Fair.


May 1984

The Gulf Coast Limited service begins operation during the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans carrying hundreds of passengers a day during the 8-month long exhibition. The line ran between New Orleans, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama. It was funded by Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and ceased operation in January 1985.

The New Orleans skyline looms behind the 1984 World's Fair, on May 23, 1984. In the lower left is Centennial Plaza, which commemorates the 1884 Cotton Exposition.

The New Orleans skyline looms behind the 1984 World's Fair, on May 23, 1984. In the lower left is Centennial Plaza, which commemorates the 1884 Cotton Exposition.


1985 to 1993

No passenger rail service.

Rail Commissioners proposed the “Sunbelt Corridor” crossing North Louisiana, central Mississippi and central Alabama.  Amtrak conducted a favorable route evaluation contingent upon contract to carry mail for US Postal Service which was never secured.


1986

City of New Orleans grants funds to Rail Commission to conduct feasibility study for rail service between New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast and between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The New Orleans Regional Rail Transit Program identified alternative alignments and operating scenarios.


1990

Alabama Rail Transit Commission secured agreement with National Railroad Passenger Corporation to split the Amtrak southbound Crescent at Birmingham – called Gulf Breeze.


April 1993

The Southern Rail Commission successfully negotiated the extension of the historic Sunset Limited Amtrak line to from Los Angeles, California to Jacksonville, Florida via New Orleans — creating the first truly transcontinental rail line in American history.

The Sunset Limited rounds Pensacola Bay — a portion of the route created by the Southern Rail Commission.

The Sunset Limited rounds Pensacola Bay — a portion of the route created by the Southern Rail Commission.


November 1996

The Sunset Limited service to Miami is discontinued.


October 1997

The Sunset Limited service is extended to Orlando, Florida.


July 1998

The Southern Rail Commission worked with Congressional Delegations to designate the Gulf Coast Corridor as part of the FRA High-Speed Network, included in the TEA-21 reauthorization.


May 2005

Hurricane Katrina devastates the transportation infrastructure of the Gulf Coast.

Damaged tracks located north of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Damaged tracks located north of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.


August 2005

The Southern Rail Commission completes comprehensive passenger rail corridor plans that included route selection, capital improvements, operating plans, simulation modeling, ridership forecasts, costs estimates, and environmental history.

• Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans, Louisiana
• Lake Charles, Louisiana to Meridian, Mississippi


August 2006

CSX restores freight service; passenger rail service remains suspended to date.


2009

Amtrak submits Gulf Coast Service Plan Report to Congress


June 2012

The Southern Rail Commission hosted the “Bring Back Amtrak” public event in Tallahasse, Florida and sponsored the “Gulf Coast Passenger Rail Summit” in Mobile, Alabama.


April 2013

The Southern Rail Commission drafted letters from all "on-route" mayors to Federal legislators and
Committees in charge of rail encouraging them to restore gulf coast passenger rail operations to a daily level of service. Additionally, the SRC drafted resolutions for Mississippi, Alabama and Florida TPOs/RPOs to restore gulf coast passenger rail operations to a daily level of service.


April 2013

The Southern Rail Commission created a new strategic plan and corporate branding to signify a renewed commitment to advocate for comprehensive passenger rail in the Southeast United States.


April 2014

The Southern Rail Commission submitted an application to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) for $1,016,000 in TIGER funding. The funding would support a $1,270,000 planning project to assess the feasibility of and intermodal needs for restoring suspended intercity passenger rail operations to a daily service level along the Gulf Coast.