No one expected the crowds. No one.
But there they were. Hundreds upon hundreds of folks who had come out to their train stations along the Gulf Coast to welcome a train, a special train, a train that had been missing from their communities for over 10 years.
This train was full of national, state and local politicians, government officials, Amtrak officials, mayors, county commissioners, city council members, business representatives, chambers of commerce staffers, members of Congress and even one U.S. Senator, Roger Wicker, Republican of Mississippi. Yes, you heard correctly, a Republican. Really.