“If You Can’t Be Right, Be Wrong at the Top of Your Voice.”

Whoever said that must have been the inspiration for CSX and Norfolk Southern. The two freight railroads are bitterly opposing Amtrak’s efforts to run one—yes, that’s right—one round-trip passenger train a day between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama.

In lengthy written testimony presented to the Surface Transportation Board in Washington, lawyers for the two railroads claimed that giving access to two daily Amtrak trains would “devastate freight operations.” 


Amtrak’s train, the Crescent, travels from New York to New Orleans and back every day and the freight railroad dispatchers don’t appear to let that particular train “devastate” their freight operations. The Crescent runs several hours late 67 percent of the time.

But wait! There’s more! In their testimony to the Surface Transportation Board, Norfolk Southern and CSX said the proposed agreement is “ absent conditions requiring Amtrak to build adequate infrastructure to support the new service.”

So before the freight railroads will allow one round-trip passenger train a day, Amtrak will have to provide funds to pay for  . . . what, exactly? 

It’s time—in fact it’s long past time—to put an end to this nonsense. Let’s hope that the turn-around will begin with the Surface Transportation Board because the board members recognize deliberate distortions and selfish arrogance when they hear it.