Study underway to examine feasibility of re-establishing Amtrak service across north La.

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SHREVEPORT, Louisiana — A 12-month study is finally underway to examine the feasibility of re-establishing Amtrak Passenger Rail Service from Shreveport-Bossier City to Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Kent Rodgers, North Louisiana Council of Governments executive director, tells The Times (http://bit.ly/1nQU5vk ) the study will look at the condition of existing railroad tracks between the cities, potential stops, hours of operation and the cost to operate the service.

Rodgers contends that the addition of passenger rail service through the north Louisiana corridor can have a positive impact on economic development as well as offer residents an alternative method of transportation.

"It's a great opportunity for this area to have that rail service. The initial linkage would be the Shreveport to Dallas-Fort Worth area then from here to Vicksburg and then from Vicksburg to Meridian," he said.

The Louisiana study is one of three studies that will look at the extension of passenger rail service from the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area to Meridian, Mississippi — where Rogers said travelers can connect to trains going to New Orleans or Atlanta. Existing Amtrak passenger service in Texas turns north at Marshall, according to the Texas-Louisiana Rail Coalition. Shuttle buses carry passengers to the Shreveport-Bossier area from there.

The Texas Department of Transportation and Amtrak conducted a study that looked at the feasibility of extending service from the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area to Shreveport-Bossier City. Rogers said Mississippi will pick up the last leg of the corridor and examine whether it is feasible to have service between Vicksburg and Meridian, Mississippi.

Rodgers said many of the rail lines throughout the region belong to Kansas City Southern Railroad and carry freight traffic.


Information from: The Times, http://www.shreveporttimes.com

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