MARKS, MISS. – Community officials and civic leaders were joined by representatives from surrounding Quitman County, the state and Amtrak on October 7, 2016 to break ground for a new Amtrak station on the route of the daily City of New Orleans (Chicago-Memphis-New Orleans). Marks is located in northwest Mississippi between existing stops in Greenwood and Memphis. The station, expected to open in 2017, will consist of a platform and shelter.
The celebration kicked off with the singing of the “Star Spangled Banner” by a local high school chorus, followed by remarks from Mississippi Transportation Commissioner (Northern District) Mike Tagert and others. Officials then joined together to turn the soil, marking the start of the construction project. The station is largely being funded through a grant from the Federal Highway Administration, administered by the Mississippi DOT, and a local match from Quitman County provided through the Mississippi Development Authority.
Marks has sought to become a stop on the City of New Orleans for many years. In 2014, local leaders attended an Amtrak-sponsored Civic Conversation in Memphis – a forum for community and state officials focused on building, preserving and upgrading existing Amtrak-served train stations.
The station groundbreaking took place during the annual Quitman County Mules & Blues Festival, which celebrates the area’s rich heritage related to the Civil Rights Movement and Blues and Gospel music. Quitman County is part of the larger Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, which “fosters preservation, perpetuation and celebration of the Delta’s heritage through a climate of collaboration and sustainable economic development.” It focuses on themes including “The River and the Land it Embraces” and “Growing More than Cotton: The Delta as a Wellspring of Creativity.”
In fiscal year 2016, nearly 249,000 customers rode the City of New Orleans, which serves 22 communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois.