Gulf Breeze (train)
|Service type||Inter-city rail|
|First service||October 1989|
|Last service||1 April 1995|
|Start||New York City, New York|
|Service frequency||Daily each way|
|Train number(s)||519, 520|
|Class(es)||Standard and first class|
|Seating arrangements||Reserved Coach Seat|
|Catering facilities||Dining Car
|Baggage facilities||Checked baggage available at stations north of Birmingham|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
|Track owner(s)||CSX Transportation|
Amtrak introduced the Gulf Breeze in October 1989 as an adjunct to the Crescent (New York–New Orleans). Costs of operation were split between Amtrak and the state, with the latter contributing about $1.3 million per year. Annual ridership in FY 1994, the last full year of operation, was 7,737. In December 1994 Amtrak announced that the Gulf Breeze would be discontinued as part of a broad cost-cutting measure which saw other services eliminated or reduced. The last Gulf Breeze ran on 1 April 1995, and was replaced by bus service.
Later that year attempts were made under the auspices of the Southern High Speed Rail Commission to resurrect the Gulf Breeze as a Mobile–New Orleans service, sharing part of the Sunset Limited's route. This was eventually realized as the Gulf Coast Limited, a joint effort between Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana which operated 1996–1997.
The Gulf Breeze originated in New York City as the Crescent, but split at Birmingham and ran south through Montgomery to Mobile on the Gulf of Mexico, while the Crescent continued southwest through Mississippi to Louisiana. At the time Mobile was served also by the Sunset Limited (Orlando, Florida–Los Angeles, California).
The Gulf Breeze served the following communities:
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Montgomery, Alabama
- Greenville, Alabama
- Evergreen, Alabama
- Brewton, Alabama
- Atmore, Alabama
- Bay Minette, Alabama
- Mobile, Alabama
Of these, Birmingham is still served by the Crescent, while Mobile and Atmore were served by the Sunset Limited prior to Hurricane Katrina, which saw the shortening of that line to New Orleans. The remainder no longer have passenger rail service.
- Diehl, Stan (15 Dec 1994). "CUTS BIRMINGHAM TO MOBILE LINK RAIL SERVICE PRUNED NATIONWIDE". Birmingham News.
- "AMTRAK ELIMINATES GULF BREEZE TRAIN SERVICE; REPLACES WITH THRUWAY BUS SERVICE". PR Newswire. 3 Apr 1995.
- "The little train route that could gets the go-ahead". Coast Business. 10 Apr 1995. p. 7.
- Durantine, Peter (13 Nov 1989). "Orient Express-Style Train Launches Washington to Chicago Run". Washington Business Journal. p. 31.
|A Gulf Breeze headed by an F40PH northbound near Flomaton, Alabama in December 1990.|