A passenger rail service could be coming to Auburn.
Amtrak has unveiled a proposed map of new and enhanced routes billable to President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure and jobs plan.
For 45 years, Auburn was a stop on the Washington, D.C., to New Orleans line for passenger train service of the privately owned Southern Railway, The Crescent, but the train discontinued in 1970. Today, Alabama has three Amtrak stations: Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and Anniston.
The Auburn Heritage Association erected a historic marker honoring the passenger train at the intersection of North College Street and Mitcham Avenue in 2016, where the 4-6-2 Pacific Engine stopped twice daily, with one train going north and one train going south. A seafood restaurant, The Depot, now occupies the historical train station building.
The Crescent was a part of a group of three trains that connected travelers from Washington, D.C., to New Orleans. The section stopping in Auburn traveled from Atlanta to Montgomery daily.
Passengers could once more make the same Montgomery to Atlanta trek with a stop in Auburn if the infrastructure plan is approved by Congress. AL.com’s Mike Cason reports that a few of Alabama’s congressional representatives oppose Biden’s infrastructure plan.
Amtrak revealed its “2035 Vision“ — including the proposed Auburn stop — following the announcement of the American Jobs Plan. The railroad system hopes for 20 million more passengers by 2035 than the 32 million served across the U.S. in fiscal year 2019, an Amtrak Connects US flyer states.
To support the new and improved routes, Amtrak says in the same flyer it needs increased federal funding, expanded access to current infrastructure and new enforcement tolls for preference over freight trains.
Amtrak, created by Congress, not only provides passenger rail service to the U.S., but has rights to access all existing rail lines for passenger trains.