FEMA Considers Expanded Use Of Trains In Hurricane Evacuations

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The expanded use of passenger trains to evacuate the sick and elderly in advance of hurricanes across the Gulf Coast is under consideration.

However, an assistant administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency says it won’t be easy. Glenn Cannon told a congressional subcommittee that rights of way for most railroads are privately owned by freight companies. And he says there’s no congressional mandate to use railroads for evacuations.

Amtrak was hired after Hurricane Katrina to be on hand to evacuate people with special needs if another disaster hit.

Cannon says FEMA is now working on disaster plans for other Gulf Coast cities based on the New Orleans model.