This is a form of campaign
ing. A whistle-stop campaign is characterize
d by lots of brief
visits to small towns and hamlet
s. Short speeches are made to several dozens of citizen
s, hands are shaken, babies kissed
. Then, the whole entourage
!) packs it up and heads down to the next town.
The original whistle-stop campaign was undertaken as a rail journey. In an era before the Eisenhower Interstate System or ValuJet, rail transport was the best way to move from one town to another, in a given region. The candidate would pull into the local train station, step out to the fully-bunted end of the last rail car, and make his (or her) plea from the make-due platform. The train whistle is, of course, the origin of the term.
Candidates still do this, but it usually involves a bus, anymore.