Amtrak returning to service along the Gulf Coast

It’s been a long wait, but Amtrak is set to return to the Coast!

An agreement has been reached between CSX Transportation, Amtrak, and the Alabama State Port Authority.

According to the Surface Transportation Board, the negotiating parties requested the case to be held in abeyance while executing the conditions identified within the settlement agreement.  Those terms however, were not disclosed.

This agreement means passenger rail service will finally return to the Gulf Coast for the first time since Hurricane Katrina.

Amtrak plans to run trains between Mobile and New Orleans with stops in Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi and Pascagoula — but no word yet on when that service will begin.

It’s no surprise that the businesses surrounding those depots are delighted it’s full steam ahead. Gulfport’s Museum of History director Betty Shaw has been eagerly awaiting this news.

Apart from wanting to add more exhibits about the city’s railroad industry, she’s ecstatic more visitors will be able to hop off and enjoy downtown Gulfport.

“I think we here in downtown in Gulfport are a well-kept secret. I don’t think locals realize we have great restaurants and retail and even us here in the 1904 depot.”

Right now, the museum is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m.  3 p.m. If there’s more foot traffic in the area from the train they will extend their hours.

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