Amtrak to stop in Hope, Arkansas - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Amtrak to stop in Hope, Arkansas

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HOPE, AR (KSLA) -

An ArkLaTex city heard for the first time in years the sound of "All Aboard!" Thursday, thanks to the opening of a new train depot for Amtrak Texas Eagle.

Amtrak passenger trains make trips through the ArkLaTex daily, but on Thursday, the early morning train stopping in Texarkana was special. The train was loaded with nearly 150 passengers from Hope, Arkansas.

"Well, I always wanted to ride Amtrak, and this was a dream come true," says Verna Bass, Hope, Arkansas resident.

For years, this train has traveled the rails through the city of Hope. But, as of Thursday, the train is making stops. The Thursday morning ride from Hope to Texarkana inaugurated the service.

"The city started because of the railroad. And now we feel it has come back to Hope," says Mark Keith of the Hope Chamber of Commerce.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says, "We don't add a stop unless it makes business sense. and this stop makes business sense."

City officials in Hope say the idea to re-open the train depot has been in the works for nearly 20 years, during the presidency of Hope's favorite son, William Jefferson Clinton.

Hope Mayor Dennis Ramsey says, "Senator (Dale) Bumpers called down here and said, 'Hey, Hope needs to be an Amtrak stop.' And it sort of began not really in earnest but sort of began laying the ground work."

The hold up, Ramsey says, was finding the necessary funds to finance the project. Among the passengers on Thursday were members of the Hope Red Head Society.

"It is so nice to be part of the history of our community," says Carroll Spencer, Read Head Society member.

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