Tallahassee Prepares for Amtrak's Special Arrival

Posted at 5:48 PM, Feb 18, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- The historic Tallahassee railroad depot will welcome a passenger train for the first time in more than a decade Friday.

Amtrak is running a two-day inspection tour from New Orleans to Jacksonville, with the goal of trying to restore service along the Gulf Coast.

Officials are hoping for a huge turnout at the train station to show Amtrak and Congress that Tallahassee wants rail service.

Some local leaders boarded the train Thursday, with more joining them Friday, as the Capital City awaits the possible return of another way of travel.

"Maybe the most comfortable and enjoyable way I've ever been transported from place to place," said Jay Revell, executive director of Tallahassee Downtown.

Bringing back service has been in the works for years. Former mayor John Marks pushed for it while in office - and was just named to the Gulf Coast Rail Working Group.

"We got to crunch the numbers, figure out who pays for what, but we have to have - from the citizens of our community - their enthusiasm for the service," Marks said.

That enthusiasm is coming from not just the public but also local leaders. City Commissioner Nancy Miller said she has great memories riding the train when she was a child.

"That's something that stayed with me my whole life," Miller said. "It was a very special experience. I'm even sneaking my grandchild on the train with me tomorrow."

"It's been about seven years in the making, and I feel really good that now it's going to happen," Marks said.

The train will stop in Tallahassee for 10 minutes. It's scheduled to arrive at 2:37 p.m. on Friday.

A part of Railroad Avenue will be blocked off starting around 2:30 p.m. to make way for the train.

The public is encouraged to wear red, white and blue and make signs and posters for the event. The city is encouraging social media posts using the hashtags #TLHonTrak and #YallAboard.