Here’s when Amtrak hopes to launch passenger train service across MS Gulf Coast

Amtrak is working hard to restore passenger train service between New Orleans, the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Mobile later this year, officials said Friday.

“Looking forward to successes and ribbon cuttings,” Nicole Bucich, Amtrak vice president of network development, said at the quarterly meeting of the Southern Rail Commission in Bay St. Louis.

Crews are running test trains along the corridor, Bucich said, and many tasks are going on at the same time.

One of the preparations is deciding what food should be served on the trains, she said. Amtrak is working with the the states and taking suggestions to make the food service their own in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The idea is for passengers to experience the Gulf Coast when they get on the train.

How passengers are perceived when they get off also will be important, the commission said. Trains will stop at Bay St. Louis, Gulfport, Biloxi and Pascagoula in Mississippi.

The commissioners commented on how many people attended Friday’s meeting and the enthusiasm that continues for the start of Amtrak service.

An Amtrak Inspection Train in 2016 was met by crowds all across the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Work has continued since then, but talk of restoring the service began even before Hurricane Katrina in 2005 destroyed part of the infrastructure.