At long last, train to stop in Marks 5/15/2015

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 15, 2015

At long last, train to stop in Marks

By John Howell
Amtrak officials are expected to make an announcement soon about a new passenger station stop in Marks.

Amtrak’s City of New Orleans passes through the Quitman County seat twice daily, once northbound and once southbound.

Local officials began receiving word about the stop this week from  a source not authorized to make a media announcement.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

No date for the beginning of service has yet been made available. Construction of a railside passenger facility compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act will be required before service at Marks can begin.

Quitman County officials, led by Quitman Chancery Clerk Butch Scipper, have been trying to make Marks a passenger stop since the passenger service left Batesville in 1995. Amtrak then shifted its Memphis-to-Jackson route away from the “Grenada” line that allowed passenger stops in Batesville, Grenada, Winona, Vaiden and Canton before arriving in Jackson.

The shift to the present route, the “Valley” line though Marks that follows Delta terrain from Memphis to Yazoo City, has offered stops only at Greenwood and Yazoo City during its Memphis-Jackson passage. Passengers in northwest Mississippi have been forced to Memphis or Greenwood to access rail passenger service for almost 20 years.

Assuming that Amtrak’s City of New Orleans remains close to its present schedule when the Marks stop is added, the southbound train would arrive around 8 a.m. The northbound train would arrive around 8:30 p.m.

The ticket price for one-way coach fare from Marks to New Orleans would probably be close to the current coach fare from Greenwood to New Orleans, starting about $50.

Ticket prices for one-way coach fare from Marks to Chicago, based on the current Greenwood ticket price, would probably start around $100.