Track maintenance affects Amtrak schedule

This is the back porch of the train station where passengers can wait under cover on weekends. The bulletin board to the right is where Amtrak notices are posted, The asphalt path is what passengers take to reach the tracks. Photo by Will Sullivan

This is the back porch of the train station where passengers can wait under cover on weekends. The bulletin board to the right is where Amtrak notices are posted, The asphalt path is what passengers take to reach the tracks.
Photo by Will Sullivan

Norfolk Southern Railway is again conducting track maintenance on the route between New Orleans and Atlanta, Ga.

The yearly maintenance schedule this year falls on Monday-Thursday, Jan. 6-9, Jan. 20-23, Jan. 27-30 and Feb. 3-6.

While freight traffic will continue to roll over the tracks, the passenger-carrying Amtrak trains that also use those Norfolk Southern tracks, and are more dependent on meeting its schedules, will not run on those dates, say both Amtrak in a press release and Norfolk Southern media spokesperson Susan Terpay from Chicago.

Amtrak will continue to carry passengers as scheduled Friday-Sunday, Jan. 10-12, Jan 24-26, Jan.  31- Feb. 2 and from Feb. 7 until the next maintenance interruption, the release says. The train known as the Crescent travels the route every day. The northbound train has the technical designation of Train 20 and the southbound train technically is Train 19. The northbound train passes through Picayune at about 8:15 every morning, and the southbound train comes through about 5:30 every evening.

Chad Frierson, a city of Picayune employee who is over the Intermodal Center, which contains the Amtrak Station and a railway museum, said track maintenance is something Norfolk Southern does every year.

“Usually they (Amtrak) send out a flyer, but I haven’t seen one this year,” Frierson said.

He said Amtrak also normally posts that information on a glass-enclosed bulletin board outside of the building, between the station and tracks along the path passengers walk and carry their luggage to and from the train. But, as Frierson pointed out Thursday, so far nothing had been posted on that bulletin board.

Terpay said the maintenance was part of Norfolk Southern Railway’s efforts to maintain its infrastructure, covering various portions of a track every 25-30 years.

Frierson said he didn’t think that the schedule change would affect most local travelers, because the station gets only 10-15 outgoing passengers on week days.

“We aren’t open on the weekends, but we can see where people have come here to take the train on weekends,” Frierson said.

Frierson also said the city is trying to get a grant to provide more parking at the station, build outside restrooms for people who come to catch the train on weekends or who get off and are waiting to be picked up, and other amenities for passengers and for local residents.

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