Christmas train display - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Christmas train display

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By Bert Case - bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – For more than 35 years, there has been an electric train display in downtown Jackson for the holidays.

Since 1974, with the exception of one year, it has either been at the Old Capitol or the William Winter Archives and History Building. 

It is the mythical village of Possum Ridge. It is what people saw in small towns, particularly in the Mississippi delta in the 1940's, 50's and 60's.  

There is a first class replica of the famed Illinois Central passenger train, the City of New Orleans, which ran the length of Mississippi from the Tennessee line to the Louisiana line, right through the center of the state from 1947 until Amtrak took it over in 1971.  

It still runs as an Amtrak train. There is a replica of the Gulf, Mobile and Ohio passenger train, known as the Rebel, which ran through the center of the state from the Tennessee line to the Louisiana line and on to New Orleans. Both trains ran through Jackson.  Rebel service was between 1935 and 1954. 

Stacy Everett, Director of Education for Archives and History says the display helps to educate children. 

"They love it. They start looking at things a little differently, having trains as a major form of transportation, you know transporting goods as well as people."

 There is also a replica of a Southern Railroad steam engine. Director of exhibits, John Gardner runs the trains. 

"My mother brought me to the old capitol when I was a little kid, back in the late 70's, to see them run, and so it's just a part of my childhood."

The exhibit will only be open through Thursday at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building.

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