JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - A record number of people decided to ride the rails this year rather than take an airplane.
Twenty-eight million people chose Amtrak as their preferred method of travel. More than 700,000 seats were booked over the Thanksgiving holiday – also a record.
The City of New Orleans serves Jackson twice daily, going south in the mornings and north in the evenings, between Chicago and New Orleans. Ridership is up 15.2 percent this fiscal year over last.
Photographer Jim Duncan boarded the train at Jackson Thursday and traveled to Hazlehurst, talking to passengers about why they rode the train this holiday season.
"It's more comfortable than taking the airplane, and it is a lot easier on you than driving," said Robert Lewis of Chicago.
Cody Hall of Lafayette, Indiana said, "It's really relaxing and a lot easier than airports and you get to see a lot of the country that you wouldn't get to see otherwise."
"Well, with the baby it's making it a lot easier, we can relax we can kick back, and when we get there, to new orleans, we will be refreshed and go out and have some fun," added William Watter of Peoria Illinois.
We also found people boarding the train in Jackson for entertainment in New Orleans. A man originally from New Orleans, who moved to Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, is going back to visit his family for Christmas.
His wife, Jane Streets of Brandon said, "We were looking for something where nobody had to drive and we didn't have to worry about parking and we had marital moments."
"The train, you have so much freedom, rather than riding a bus. On a train, you can walk, you can look at the scenery, you have got the chance to stretch your legs," said Melvin Green from Jackson.
So, more and more people are riding the trains. It only costs $23.00 to ride to New Orleans from Jackson and it only takes about four hours.
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