AMTRAK TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL TRAIN DAY Events scheduled in Washington, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles
WASHINGTON – To raise awareness of the vital role rail plays in our nation’s transportation system, Amtrak announced today that it will celebrate its first annual National Train Day during six weeks of celebrations culminating on Saturday, May 10, 2008. “With ridership growing to record levels, we continue to see a strong demand for rail travel as a link between growing communities,” said Alex Kummant, President and CEO of Amtrak. “Passenger and freight service is on the rise, and there’s never been a better time to celebrate the railroad industry and passenger rail service in the U.S.” Amtrak’s celebration of National Train Day will begin six weeks prior to May 10 with special promotions, events, partnerships and an advertising campaign. On May 10 Amtrak will host events at four of its largest stations, Washington, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where visitors may take part in a variety of activities including live musical performances, exhibits, trip planning, VIP appearances and trip giveaways. Serving as spokesperson for National Train Day is television personality Al Roker. Mr. Roker will experience, first-hand, the benefits of rail travel when he travels from New York to Washington, by train, for the day’s festivities. “I’m thrilled to be a part of Amtrak’s National Train Day because as a native New Yorker, I can attest to the vital role trains play in our everyday lives,” Roker said. “Whether it’s a quick business trip or a leisurely vacation, the train is a great way to get there.”
Growing Popularity Al Roker is not alone. Amtrak’s ridership and revenue have never been stronger. During fiscal year 2007, more than 25.8 million passengers traveled on Amtrak, setting a record for the most passengers ever since Amtrak began operation in 1971. Total ticket revenue for fiscal year 2007 was more than $1.5 billion, an increase of 11 percent over the previous year. It was the fifth straight year of increases for Amtrak, and the trend continues. For the first quarter of fiscal year 2008, more than 7 million passengers traveled on Amtrak, an increase of 11 percent, and revenue was up 14.6 percent to more than $434 million. “Increasingly Americans are turning to rail to complement other modes of transportation,” said Kummant. “With more than 500 stations in 46 states, Amtrak is a relevant transportation option for many Americans whether they live in small towns or in large metropolitan areas.”
Travel Green More than just a convenient way to travel, Amtrak is also energy efficient. Traveling by rail contributes less per passenger mile to greenhouse gas emissions than either cars or airplanes. According to U.S. Department of Energy data, Amtrak is 17 percent more efficient than domestic airline travel and 21 percent more efficient than auto travel on a per-passenger-mile basis. When combined with all modes of transportation, passenger railroads emit only 0.2 percent of the travel industry’s total greenhouse gases. In addition, Amtrak is a charter member of the growing Chicago Climate Exchange, the world’s first legally-binding integrated greenhouse gas reduction and trading system. When Amtrak joined the Exchange in 2003, it committed to cutting diesel emissions by 6 percent by 2010. This represents the largest percentage of reduction committed to in the United States on a voluntary basis and is the first commitment made by a transportation company. By choosing to travel by rail, Amtrak passengers are already a step ahead because the carbon footprint generated by their trip is smaller than that of most other modes of transportation.
Heritage and Future The date of National Train Day, May 10, holds special meaning as it is the anniversary of the completion of the first transcontinental railroad at Promontory Point, Utah in 1869. At Promontory Point, the east coast and west coast were connected for the first time by rail. From Promontory Point in 1869 to the creation of Amtrak in 1970 to the launch of Acela Express in 2000, Amtrak employees across the country will celebrate the history of train travel while looking towards the future on National Train Day. For more information on National Train Day and planned events, visit NationalTrainDay.com. Event details will be announced as they become available.
About Amtrak Amtrak provides intercity passenger rail services to more than 500 destinations in 46 states on a 22,000-mile route system. For schedules, fares and information, passengers may call 800-USA-RAIL or visit www.amtrak.com.Posts: 2236 | From: Evanston, Ill. and Ontonagon, Mich. | Registered: Feb 2007
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The first thing that came to my mind when I saw 'May 10' was 'Promontory'.
Amtrak is not being accurate though. Promontory Point is at water level on a reach of land projecting from the north shore of the Great Salt Lake.
The completion of the first transcontinental railroad (a friend calls this 'the Golden Spike Hoo Hah.') took place at Promontory Summit way up the mountain from the lake. It's as windswept and desolate of a place as any I've ever been to this side of Saudi Arabia.
Confusing Promontory Point and Summit is a common mistake and one that continues to be repeated almost everytime the story of the first transcontinental railroad is told.
Any railfan would enjoy visiting the NPS welcome center at this most historic site. The museums in Sacramento and wherever are great but to fully comprehend what an incredible feat linking east and west by rail for the first time was, you need to stand at Promontory Summit. Look east. Look west. Listen to the wind. Walk a few hundred yards away from the other tourists. Be alone for a few moments. Look at the landscape. Not much has changed here in the last 150 years. The railroad came. The railroad went. Promontory Summit abides.
-------------------- David Pressley
Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!
Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes. Posts: 4203 | From: Western North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2004
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I wonder what sort of celebrations they will have during those 6 weeks? Has anyone heard anything? I am sure the Coast Starlight relaunch will have something to do with it...
Posts: 82 | From: San Lorenzo, CA | Registered: Mar 2006
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I haven't heard any announced yet. I sure hope they email everyone who has opted-in to the www.NationalTrainDay.com website.
Posts: 1082 | From: Los Angeles, CA. USA | Registered: Aug 2003
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David-I agree the NPS Golden Spike Historic Site is well worth a visit. The museum and the reenactment of the meeting of the engines and driving the spike are well worth the trip.
The thing that impressed us the most was the few miles of original roadbed the NPS has opened to vehicle travel. Driving through the cuts in this high plateau and looking out on the desolate landscape makes you appreciate how much of a feat this was over a century ago.
Amtrak should take the opportunity to put some of their cars on display in Washington or even a traveling road show of the equipement to make the public more aware of Amtrak.
Posts: 2394 | From: Camden, SC | Registered: Mar 2006
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There used to be a thing called "Amtrak Family Days", and it was sort of a traveling exhibit of Amtrak equipment and entertainment held at major stations. I remember attending Amtrak Family Days a couple of times in Portland at the beautiful depot in that beautiful city back in the 1980's.
This sounds like it could be a reincarnation of Amtrak Family Days, except at just a small handful of cities and on one specific day.
Posts: 56 | From: Orange County, CA | Registered: Jun 2007
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