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Amtrak and the Southern Rail Commission (SRC) next month will operate an "inspection train" between New Orleans and Jacksonville, Fla., to explore the possibility of reintroducing passenger-rail service along the Gulf Coast. Hosted by Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Boardman, the inspection train will carry elected officials, industry representatives, community leaders and federal stakeholders, Amtrak officials said in a press release. The train, which will travel through four states, is scheduled to run Feb. 18 and 19.The goal of the invitation-only trip is to examine existing CSX rail infrastructure and to better understand rail's economic, cultural and mobility opportunities, they said.The SRC recently released a study by Amtrak detailing the range of feasible service options, along with an analysis of ridership levels, projected revenue and associated costs for passenger trains between New Orleans and Orlando. The models in the study present a range of service options aimed at supporting economic resilience and projected population growth, Amtrak officials said.Amtrak suspended its Gulf Coast service east of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
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