Traveling to the Coast by train isn’t a bad idea

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Train travel may not be the first choice for many these days, but discussions about reopening the passenger rail along the Gulf Coast will continue this year in a series of meetings.

Interest in the possibility of reviving the line was sparked last year and several cities on the route received federal grants to add some life back into the forgotten stations.

The line, which has been closed since Hurricane Katrina, would run from New Orleans to Florida, stopping in many major Mississippi cities on the way.

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While Picayune wouldn’t be on that route, it wouldn’t be too far to catch a train down to Slidell and onto the Coast, or vice versa.

Trains often get a bad reputation as being one of the slowest forms of travel, but improving our country’s infrastructure could lead to faster railcars.

It’s also a way to reduce congestion on the country’s busy and deteriorating highway system.

Traveling by train is a fantastic way to see the country while stopping at cities both big and small to get a unique taste of other places. With airline prices rising, the ease of taking a passenger

train may grow to be a more appealing travel option.

That is until driverless cars become more accessible to the average American.

But just as importantly, improving Picayune’s connection to the Gulf Coast line could provide a large bump in economic development for Pearl River County.

Our railroad lines are already being used to haul loads to and from New Orleans, but enabling access to Mobile and the resources coming through that port city could increase our local economy. Tourism might even see a boost if the added passenger rail works out.

Among other cities, a meeting is scheduled for Thursday in Gulfport with the Southern Rail Commission, which has been seeking political support for the project.