Y'all aboard! Festive crowds, high hopes greet rail dignitaries

As the first Amtrak train rolled into downtown Mobile for the first time in more than 10 years Thursday, Jim Gilbert and Tim Lloyd stood watching and waving the American flag.

It was a patriotic moment for the two Mobile men who want to see passenger rail return to the Gulf Coast, specifically Amtrak.

"We're not getting less people here but more people and you can't keep expanding lanes on the interstates," said Gilbert. "This is needed."

They joined a group of onlookers near the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center to welcome an Amtrak inspection train to Mobile as part of a two-day, four-state voyage that government and rail officials are undertaking to examine the conditions of a CSX freight line. The line would be utilized by Amtrak if passenger rail is reauthorized along the Gulf Coast from New Orleans to Jacksonville and Orlando.

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