Posts Tagged ‘Birmingham Alabama’

Alabama Studies Reinstating Gulf Breeze Route

November 20, 2018

Alabama officials are eyeing a return of Amtrak service between Mobile and Birmingham via Montgomery.

A consultant is conducting a study of intercity rail service on a route that has not had it since 1995 when the Gulf Breeze was discontinued.

The study is being conducted under contract by engineering firm AECOM. Funding the study is the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

An earlier study completed in 2014 examined the potential route and estimated one-way fares at $25-$30 per person.

During a public hearing in Montgomery, AECOM planning transportation manager Brian Smart said such decisions as the type of equipment used, train speed, and route choice hinge on demand for the service.

“We’re hearing demand. The population is increasing and with that comes changes in how people want to travel and how people get to work in south Alabama,” Smart said.

He said it takes 10-15 years to go from the feasibility study phase to the inauguration of service.

Getting to the latter depends on obtaining support from state, local and federal stakeholders.

The current study is expected to be completed by spring 2019 and then submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Planners are considering making the Alabama service a part of the Amtrak Crescent, which operates between New York and New Orleans.

However, it might also connect with or be an extension of a service that doesn’t exist but has been proposed between New Orleans and Jacksonville, Florida.

The Gulf Breeze during its lifetime was a section of the Crescent.

“If you connect to the main Amtrak line, you have access to go anywhere in the country, 500 destinations where you don’t have to drive or fly,” said City of Montgomery Planning Director Robert Smith.

Birmingham Amtrak Station Opens

February 5, 2018

Amtrak’s Crescent is now using the Birmingham (Alabama) Intermodal Facility with Greyhound bus lines expected to begin using it on Feb. 21.

The station opened on Jan. 30  at the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority’s downtown central station.

The facility also includes Olivia’s Transit Café and is located on three blocks along Morris Avenue between 17th and 19th streets.

Eventually, the facility will have a 300-space parking lot for travelers between 16th and 17th streets. Construction of the $32 million facility began in early 2014.

“This is such an exciting time. We know the community has waited a long time to see this day and the best is yet to come,” BJCTA Executive Director Barbara Murdock said in a statement.

BJCTA will conduct a grand opening ceremony on Feb. 23.

Birmingham Station to Open This Summer

March 7, 2017

An intermodal facility in Birmingham, Alabama, is expected to open this summer.

The $32 million Birmingham Intermodal Facility will serve Amtrak, Greyound and the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (MAX).

City officials say the three-block long facility between 17th and 19th streets could open as early as May or as late as June.

MAX buses could begin using its share of the facility between 17th and 18th streets in April. However, buses won’t begin using it until construction is completed on Morris Avenue, which is not expected to be until late summer.

The MAX bus terminal facility will feature at least one food vendor and a newsstand is expected to open in the intermodal facility.

Construction of the facility began in 2014. Birmingham is served by Amtrak’s daily New York-New Orleans Crescent.

Crescent Stations to Receive Upgrades

December 20, 2016

The Southern Rail Commission said on Monday that three Alabama cities will receive funding to upgrade their Amtrak stations. All are served by the New York-New Orleans Crescent.

Amtrak 4The Commission said the grants are part of $2.4 million in federal funds to be spent for station upgrades in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.

The grants include $139,500 for Anniston, $150,000 for Birmingham and $314,457 for Tuscaloosa.

In Anniston, city officials say they will use their grant to extend the platform by 400 feet, to allow Nos. 19 and 20 to load and unload baggage and bicycles.

City manager Kent Davis noted that the Chief Ladiga Trail has been extended into Anniston and cycling signs have been placed on city streets.

The city also has going a project to build a new trailhead and parking lot serving Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail.

“If we make Amtrak more bike friendly as well, it could bring in more cyclists,” Davis said.

The lengthened platform is expected to eliminate the need for double stopping.

The city is in talks with Norfolk Southern, which owns the property on which the platform extension will be installed.

Amtrak to Get New Digs in Birmingham

October 10, 2016

A new intermodal terminal in Birmingham, Alabama, that will also serve Amtrak will open its first phase this December.

Amtrak 4Local MAX buses will be the first to use the downtown hub, a $32 million three-block facility along Morris Avenue.

Amtrak, Greyhound Bus Lines and Megabus will begin using another part of the facility – located between 16th and 17th streets – in March 2017. Construction of the terminal began in 2014.

“For the first time in a long time we will have a modern Amtrak facility instead of a hole in the ground (at 19th Street) that we currently have now for our terminal,” said Birmingham Mayor William Bell.

Officials have said the new terminal will bring the city and regional public transit systems together at one location.

Taxis and Uber drivers will be able to wait along Morris Avenue and pick up passengers while a Zyp bike share rack will be located off Morris Avenue.

A newsstand is expected to open in the Amtrak and interstate bus station.

Birmingham is served by Amtrak’s New York-New Orleans Crescent.