- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - For the first time since Hurricane Katrina, a passenger train will make stops along the Coast.

The Sun Heard reports (http://bit.ly/1Q0YvMS) Thursday’s run is a one-off trip to assess the CSX rails and the interest in restoring passenger rail service along the northern Gulf of Mexico and into central Florida.

Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich says it’s a great opportunity to showcase the thousands of hotel rooms, a half-dozen casinos resorts, and MGM Park all nearby.

The Amtrak train will roll out of New Orleans at 8:45 Thursday morning and make its first Coast stop in Bay St. Louis at 10:10 a.m.

After a 10-minute stop, it will leave for Gulfport, where it’s expected at 10:50.

The train will be in Gulfport only 10 minutes, but the city is throwing a party nonetheless with a pep rally, live music, a display from the Railroad Museum and refreshments. Wicker, Mayor Billy Hewes, Gov. Phil Bryant and Hancock Bank President John Hairston are scheduled to speak.

At Biloxi, the train will stop at the multi-modal transit center on the Coast, where riders will find an outdoor cafe, second-liners and a jazz band are lined up for the Biloxi stop at 11:21.

The train will make a final Mississippi stop in Pascagoula at 12:06 p.m. then continue on to Mobile and Attmore, Alabama. The tour continues Friday with Florida stops in Pensacola, Crestview, Chipley, Tallahassee, Madison and Jacksonville.

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