Liveblogging National Train Day

The first annual National Train Day is underway at stations all across the country today.  Amtrak originally conceived the event to make a marketing splash in four of their biggest cities, but thanks to the tireless work of rail advocates and civic boosters working on the local level, communities all across the country are celebrating National Train Day as a call to action to increase train travel options in cities large and small.  Google News current shows 255 articles on the event, a sign of the great interest it has generated.

NARP Vice President Jim Churchill and I are staffing our table at Washington Union Station today.  I’ll be updating this entry as the day progresses.  If you’re in the area, please feel free to stop by!  And if you have photos or tidbits from other events, please feel free to e-mail me at mmelzer (at) narprail.org.

UPDATE, 10:32 AM: Amtrak President and CEO Alex Kummant opened the event with a brief speech thanking the event partners, including NARP.  AAR President Ed Hamberger remarked on the environmental need to move more goods as well as passengers by rail.  But the crowd was mostly anxious to get a photo with Al Roker!

UPDATE, 11:19 AM: The turnout so far is great, with many families who are not traveling.  The line to tour an Acela trainset and private cars is stretching well into the station.  Amtrak’s ARTE environmental mascot and Screech, the Washington Nationals mascot, are greeting fans.  Amtrak also has computers with Microsoft Train Simulator in Acela mode set up.

—Matthew Melzer

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