Railroad toots through Columbia - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Railroad toots through Columbia


At one time Columbia was a railroad town - tracks running right through the heart of the city and over the Pearl River. These days it's not industry and multi-ton loads rolling down the tracks, it's a two-car passenger train.

It may be a bit shorter than the ones back in the old days, but that doesn't mean it's any less fun. The multicolored train runs the first Saturday of every month - just show up at the Columbia Expo Center with five dollars -  and can also be reserved for parties or special occasions.

The train with a yellow caboose that came all the way to Columbia from California boards at the Expo Center, takes about a three-mile trip to Pine Bluff Park in the city's downtown, and heads home.  And its not a bad way to spend a summer day.

"It's air conditioned, air conditioned,"said Eddie Ray Breakfield, the Marion County Railroad Authority Chairman. "South Mississippi, we got to have an air conditioner, we got a generator, we got an air conditioner. Try to keep it comfortable for the ride."

"We're trying to tie this back into some history and some recreation and have something a little different that maybe nobody can," said Breakfield. "This is the only other recreational line in the state. We're the only other railroad that carries passengers except, other than Amtrak."

Breakfield is working with the city on plans for the railroad's future; the hope is that the train will lead to a pedestrian bridge at Pine Bluff Park, ride there, picnic by Pearl River - and ride back. A little day trip right inside of Columbia.

If you're interested in taking a ride on the railroad, you can call William McNeese at (601) 408-7544, or meet the train at the Columbia Expo Center at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month.

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