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franklin county times

Meridian's railroad history

By By Erin Hilsabeck / staff writer
June 27, 2004
In the mid-19th century, railroads were a new, fast way of moving people and products, and tracks were built as fast as possible.
In 1855, the Mobile and Ohio Railroad was the first railroad built in this area, said Mick Nussbaum, director of the Meridian Railroad Museum.
Trains have been in Meridian longer than most other modes of transportation, longer than any resident living today.
Carriers like the Alabama and Vicksburg, the North East and South West Alabama, the Alabama and Mississippi Rivers and the Meridian and Deep Water railroads frequently charged throughout the southern United States.
The Civil War brought changes, both good and bad, to rail lines.
Wartime shortages of iron caused delays in track construction, but the railroad served as a vital link for the Confederate army to move products, said Joey Armstrong, general manager for M &B Railroad LLC.
November 1883 marked the passage of the first passenger train traveling between Meridian and New Orleans. The trip took seven hours.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, railroads continued building, merging and moving goods in and around Meridian.
Wars in Europe brought delays and changes, but southern railroads remained.
Today, Meridian is still an active railroad city. While highways and airways are popular methods of travel and transport, railroad carriers are again growing, Carmichael said.

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