Thoughts on a Fantasy Gulf Coast Transit System
I had started this idea before Hurricane Katrina hit and literally tore into
the Mississippi Gulf Coast, including some of the areas I would serve with my
fantasy line. The impacts of the hurricane have not diminished my thoughts
on the subject, and if anything may present an opportunity of sorts.
In the early 2000's, MDOT initiated studies in conjunction with CSX railroad on the feasibility of moving the CSX tracks away from the immediate coast and further inland, from southwest of Waveland to east of Moss Point. The reasoning behind the study is because of numerous at-grade rail crossings along the existing tracks (over 100 in Harrison County alone), heavy traffic congestion during train passages (due to the lack of overpasses over the railroad), and the need for an additional east-west corridor in Gulfport and Biloxi. Though not mentioned and considered in the studies, a very recent reason supporting relocation would be to move the tracks inland in order to limit potential hurricane damage, given that Hurricane Katrina did considerable damage even to the raised-up portions of CSX's track. 5 corridors were studied initially, ranging from paralleling I-10 to a corridor as far north as southern Stone County. 3 corridors were presented in an environmental assessment, one along I-10, one along the northern edge of the Gulfport/Biloxi urban fringe, and one in southern Stone County (testing the northernmost practical limits of relocation). I have not heard yet what the status of the EIS studies is.
Another corridor being planned is the MS 601 corridor. MS 601 is being proposed as a freeway-grade corridor running from the Port of Gulfport north to I-10 near Canal Rd, and possibly up to US 49 north of Lyman. If this corridor gets built, it would take a large chunk of traffic off of US 49, perhaps enough to where the road could be rebuilt with a transit component.
These pages show my thoughts on what a LRT system might look like along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, utilizing the existing CSX corridor (assuming a new CSX corridor is created further north) and the US 49 corridor (assuming the MS 601 freeway gets built). This fantasy "Gulf Coast LRT" system comprises of one long east-west line stretching from Bay St. Louis to Moss Point and one smaller north-south line in Gulfport, representing the area with the greatest north-south population concentration (along the US 49 corridor).
Froggie's Fantasy Rail Routes:
Page last modified 02 December, 2005