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Natchez, Brookhaven train line under discussion

December 5, 2014

MEADVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Southwest Mississippi officials are proposing a passenger train line starting in Brookhaven and passing though Meadville, Bude and Roxie on its way to Natchez.

The Natchez Democrat reports (http://bit.ly/125uLbY) the train line was discussed Thursday in a meeting of officials from Adams, Franklin and Lincoln counties.

State Rep. Bobby Moak, D-Bogue Chitto, says he’s readied a bill for the 2015 Legislature Wednesday to authorize the Mississippi Development Authority to take out bonds for the purchase of passenger cars for the proposed line. A similar died in committee during the 2014 session.

Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said the BrookhavenNatchez train could be an “excursion line” for people taking day trips.

“When we have our tricentennial in 2016, day trippers are going to be needed because we are out of rooms,” Brown said. “Sixty-five percent of the population in the United States is within 500 miles of Brookhaven, within driving distance.”

Meadville Mayor Lane Reed said the effort to get the passenger line started has been a partnership between the leaders of all the areas that will be affected by it.

“We have realized that what is good for Natchez is good for Meadville, and what is good for Bude and Brookhaven is good for Franklin County and Roxie. This (passenger line proposal) has been talked about all over the state, but nobody has the resources we have in Southwest Mississippi,” Reed said.

Brookhaven has a railroad depot, while Natchez has a federal transportation hub, Reed said. Bude and Meadville likewise have historic ties to the railroad.

Some details remain, including what organization will ultimately run the passenger line. Another is how the passenger cars will get from one end of the line to the other.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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