A long-in-the-works project to bring Amtrak trains back to the route, once known as the Gulf Coast Limited, was previously aiming for completion by the end of 2023.
But Amtrak and partner organization the Southern Rail Commission now say the Gulf Coast Corridor Improvement Project won't be ready to "begin twice-daily service" until "next year."
A grant of nearly $200 million awarded by the federal government last month should help the Gulf Coast project across the finish line, though an official launch date in 2024 hasn't been announced yet.
Amtrak is already running "familiarization trips" for the route, according to the Southern Rail Commission, but there are still "numerous steps that must be completed before new service between New Orleans and Mobile can start."
Local Mobile TV station WPMI reports that items remaining on the to-do list include the construction of a "new platform in Mobile that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act."
Amtrak has, however, already built four of the five new stations planned for the route, according to WPMI. Those stops are in the Mississippi cities of Pascagoula, Biloxi, Gulfport, and Bay St. Louis.
Several partnership agreements among the various city, state, federal, and commercial entities concerned need to be finalized as well.
The sooner passenger rail service is restored to the region, the better transportation options will be for residents, who have had to do without Amtrak for going on two decades, as well as tourists in search of easier access to the Gulf Coast's beaches, casinos, seafood, historical attractions, and other charms.
At least this delay gives you time to learn how to say "Mobile" right.