St. Charles Herald-Guide

Rail service could link New Orleans, Baton Rouge

Our View - June 7, 2012

Rail service between New Orleans and Baton Rouge through St. Charles Parish has been envisioned for some time but so far nothing has come to pass.

But money has been set aside to study the possibility further.

The two cities are the major metropolitan districts in Louisiana and being only 70 miles apart seems to be a natural for a rail link. The railroad tracks are already there, capable of moving their load at 80 mph. It could save much time, road wear, car expenses and gasoline. And it could save many residents the exhaustion of travelling on the busiest highway in the state.

Some 50,000 commuters regularly travel between the two cities to go to work and return every day. What a relaxation it would be for them to board the train, sit down, read the newspaper and get off within an hour at their destination.

Baton Rouge Metropolitan Planning Organization and the New Orleans Metropolitan Planning Organization have each reportedly approved spending $105,000 and the Baton Rouge Area Foundation about $90,000 for a study of the proposed route. Local governments between the two cities are being explored to see if they would be willing to support it also.

Train travel is very popular in the northeastern states. Ken Wells, a journalist formerly of Houma, told us he started writing popular novels while commuting from New Jersey to his job at the Wall Street Journal in New York City.

Considering the cost of highway travel these days, and the rattling of nerves on busy automobile thoroughfares, itís worthwhile to look into the possibility of carefree train travel. It may be time to give our highways a break.