LASTA began negotiations with the NOPB to obtain permission to run 745 between the French Quarter and Audubon Park. Our presentation to the eighteen-member Belt Commission was very well received, and a seven-member subcommittee was appointed to investigate the idea further. LASTA worked with Mr. Duplechain and this subcommittee over several months and were able to provide reassurance about, among other matters, liability, alternate plans in case of breakdowns, and examples of cordial relations between tourist and host railroads in other cities across the country. The final decision of the subcommittee was made in the summer of 1998.
They expressed interest in the project; however, they cited increased freight business in the city as a paramount cause for not granting us track rights. They correctly pointed out that the feasibility study’s estimate of revenue was based on six runs a weekend and that we would be in serious financial difficulty if they were forced to deny runs because of freight obligations.