Four cities on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are getting new train platforms or repairs to existing stations ahead of the return of passenger rail service in January 2022.
"Amtrak recently dispatched a full team to assess the remaining work underway on stations along the Mobile to New Orleans route to ensure they are ready for passenger rail service to start in 2022," David Handera, Amtrak vice president of stations and accessibility during a meeting of the Southern Rail Commission "Amtrak will work with the cities on a phased approach to initially modify the existing platforms and complete all needed repairs in the path of travel".
A company official says Amtrak passenger service along the Gulf Coast is on track to return in 2022 — and could possibly come in the early part of next year.
WLOX spoke with Knox Ross, the chair of the Mississippi Southern Rail Commission, who said "It’s exciting news for the Mississippi Gulf Coast but there is still some work to be done. We’ve been working hard since 2016, to secure funding & working hard to get station stops ready in Mississippi,” said Ross. “Now, Amtrak has been working with host railroads to do this, and they’re far along enough with that to say they intend to bring the trains back in 2022. We don’t know exactly when that will happen but they’ve announced their intention to do so and we’re very excited about that.”
The route will connect Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans, with four stops in Mississippi: Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pascagoula.
“We’ll be working on schedules & improvements that have to be made to the infrastructure,” said Ross. “We’ll be working on the station stops themselves, the platforms and so forth to get them ADA accessible.”
The Mississippi Gulf Coast is 62 miles of scenic coastline that offer an incredible variety of attractions, excursions and activities - from outdoor adventures such as kayaking, boating, fishing and hiking to a wide variety of museums, festivals, world-class gaming and championship gulf courses.
With passenger rail service able to make stops in South Mississippi, city leaders on the Coast said they are looking forward to welcoming new people and new business.
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