Louisiana takes a major step towards reconnecting Baton Rouge and New Orleans by train after over 50 years.

On Thursday, Governor John Bel Edwards recently signed a pivotal service development agreement aimed at re-establishing intercity passenger rail service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The agreement represents a long-anticipated milestone for a project initially set in motion back in 2008.

Governor Edwards, who has wanted this his whole tenure, said, “All eight years I’ve been governor, I’ve been working to reestablish rail service between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.” This project is now one step closer to becoming a reality, offering travelers an efficient, environmentally-friendly alternative to the congested highways.

The proposed passenger service should start as early as 2027, beginning with one daily round trip between the two major cities, about an hour. As demand grows, additional services and stops along the route will be introduced.

The project is partly funded by a $20 million settlement from the Road Home Program, marking a significant milestone in resurrecting passenger train services, which ceased in 1969. Eric Kalivoda, Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Development, emphasized that this venture represents a broader trend in Louisiana’s infrastructure progress, providing a safe and reliable transportation system for both commuters and tourists.

Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner also expressed the public’s growing desire for passenger train travel, highlighting that polls consistently show strong support for Amtrak as a preferred travel choice. The proposed route is estimated to take 75 to 90 minutes, with specific schedules and fares to be announced closer to the service launch.

Amtrak will utilize existing tracks owned by Canadian Pacific Kansas City and CN railways, which run along the I-10 corridor connecting New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Infrastructure enhancements along the route are set to commence next year. Moreover, this new route will eventually connect with the New Orleans to Mobile corridor, scheduled to open in 2024, further expanding Louisiana’s passenger rail network. These routes will complement the existing Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, and Crescent lines in Amtrak’s Louisiana route schedule.