New Orleans maintains superb rail connections to virtually any part of the country, with the midwest being especially well served. The federal government classifies freight railroads based on revenue, with Class I railroads being those that have the highest revenue. There are currently seven Class I railroads in the United States, and six have a line passing through New Orleans, more than any other deep water port in the U.S. Each of these railroads maintains an intermodal terminal in different parts of the metropolitan area, which allows for train to train and truck to train transfers of materials. Many trains in New Orleans deliver goods to or from the port. For 100 years, this transfer of goods has been facilitated by the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB). This city-owned railroad connects with all other railroads and provides direct service along the “front belt” railroad tracks of the Port of New Orleans, allowing for dock to rail transfers. The NOPB also serves industrial property along either side of the Industrial Canal. The Huey P. Long Bridge, owned and operated by the New Orleans Public Belt, is the southernmost rail crossing of the Mississippi River and is therefore a critical component of the entire country’s rail infrastructure. Despite the quality of rail access to New Orleans, some improvements are needed. There are a number of bottlenecks in the network that add considerable delays. Many at-grade crossings impede the flow of traffic, reduce quality of life in neighborhoods, and create safety hazards; and the location of critical rail infrastructure complicates hurricane evacuation routes and proposed transportation infrastructure in the region. To address these concerns, the six Class I railroads, the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and the Regional Planning Commission prepared the New Orleans Rail Gateway Study in 2007 to identify needed capital improvements. Among the proposed improvements were more coordination of facilities to improve the management of train movements; expansion of rail marshalling facilities at railroad terminals; reduction of dangerous at-grade crossings; and removal of barriers to the construction of a proposed light rail route from downtown to the airport.
Article above from the Transportation Planning brief which can be found here: http://www.nola.gov/getattachment/3821a858-c9c1-499a-964a-5c0ec83a65f4/Vol-3-Ch-11-Transportation/
Click here for a PDF on why improvements are needed:
Click here to view the website of the coalition against the middle belt option:
The “New Orleans Rail Gateway” (NORG) and infrastructure within Jefferson and Orleans Parishes needs to be upgraded to efficiently handle today’s traffic volumes and support economic growth. The NORG stretches from Avondale and via the “Huey P. Long” Bridge extends through the City of New Orleans. It is the fourth largest rail gateway in the country and is a key link in the national transportation system. The system provides a vital link in the east/west distribution of freight rail traffic and allows access to Mexico and Canada. It services the Port of South Louisiana and the Port of New Orleans. It also services six of the seven national Class 1 railroads and Amtrak.
An engineering/environmental study is underway to identify various rail and roadway improvements, or “Program of Projects”, that will reduce vehicle congestion, improve emergency evacuation, improve vehicle and pedestrian safety, and correct rail and roadway physical and operational deficiencies. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared to evaluate the “Program of Projects” beneficial and adverse affects on the social, economic, and physical environment and identify measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse community and environmental impacts. The “Program of Projects” will improve the quality of life for residents, increase Regional competitiveness, and promote economic growth. In addition, the railroads stand to benefit from more efficient operation and added capacity for future growth.
This study is a public-private partnership between DOTD, the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission and six Class 1 railroads represented by the Association of American Railroads.
More information can be found at: http://www.dotd.la.gov/administration/public_info/projects/norg/
The January, 2014 article from the Mid City Messenger can be found here: http://midcitymessenger.com/2014/01/13/we-wont-be-railroaded-coalition-gains-steam/
INFO BELOW ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED AT FSJNA.ORG IN FEBRUARY, 2012
CLICK HERE for the February 9, 2012 article in the Times Picayune.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and the Federal Railroad Administration will conduct open forum meetings on upgrades to the New Orleans Rail Gateway Program in Orleans and Jefferson parishes.
Notice is hereby given that the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development and the Federal Railroad Administration will conduct open-forum public meetings for:
State Project No. H.005168
Federal Aid Project No. DE-9208(500)
New Orleans Rail Gateway Program
Jefferson and Orleans Parishes, Louisiana
You may mail your comments to the address listed below:
New Orleans Rail Gateway
c/o The Hawthorne Agency, Inc.
818 Howard Avenue, Suite 300
New Orleans, LA 70113
Information on the Program can also be viewed at http://www.dotd.la.gov/administration/public_info/projects/NORG/.
For more information and to download a map of the proposed project, please visit the link below: