History and Accomplishments
NARP is the only organization that acts as a voice for train passengers—particularly Amtrak customers, but also commuter rail and rail transit riders—on Capitol Hill, before the US Department of Transportation, and before Amtrak management. We are a source of straightforward factual information, presented in layman’s terms, that is relied upon by lawmakers’ staffs and by reporters. For example, in the three days following the December 1st Metro-North derailment, NARP’s phones were ringing off the hook with reporters, and members of the public, seeking information about the causes of the tragedy, and what could be done to prevent such accidents. This is because of NARP’s hard-earned reputation as a reliable source for such facts, presented without spin and without jargon.
NARP has also provided consistent backing for every positive development in American intercity passenger train service since the creation of Amtrak. It is our network of grassroots supporters, and affiliated state-level passengers’ organizations in nearly all of the continental states, that has allowed the voice of travelers clamoring for more service to be translated into successes like the Capitol Corridor, Cascades, Downeaster, Piedmonts and Carolinian, Hiawathas, Blue Water, Pere Marquette, Illini and Saluki, Heartland Flyer, and other routes that brought passenger service to a level not seen since the days before Amtrak, and in some cases (like the Capitol Corridor) a higher level of train service than the corridor enjoyed before Amtrak.
NARP is the only national organization that consistently advances the cause of Amtrak’s national network trains. Our concerted efforts have saved routes like the Texas Eagle from what once seemed to be certain demise, and we have kept Congress and Amtrak from eliminating or severely cutting back on food service and sleeping cars on the national network trains. NARP is the only organization with a broad vision for an expanded passenger train network—one that rivals the Interstate Highway System in scope, and serves more of the country than any other advocacy organization’s vision.
NARP is guided by our firm belief that all Americans—from New York City to Hutchison, Kansas; from Seattle to Jackson, Mississippi—deserve the choice of safe, reliable, convenient, affordable, and enjoyable passenger train service. We know that providing more routes and frequencies of trains composed of modern equipment will give Americans greater mobility and nurture local economies, all while reducing the energy use, pollution and land consumption associated with our current, very inefficient fly-or-drive-only transportation system. Because only NARP represents the interests of urbanites, suburbanites and rural residents alike, in all parts of the country, NARP is uniquely positioned to be the umbrella under which a diverse coalition of Americans comes together and gives federal and state elected leaders the political backbone necessary to break the mold that has given us the subpar transportation system we have, and to finally make the investments to put modern, clean, safe and dependable passenger trains within reach of all Americans.
- Provided material support, communications, and other assistance as requested to Hoosiers for Passenger Rail in its successful effort to win state funding to preserve Amtrak’s Hoosier State, threatened by the 2008 Passenger Rail Investment & Improvement Act’s requirement for more state funding for Amtrak routes of 750 or fewer miles.
- Provided material support, communications, and other assistance as requested to Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail in its successful effort to win state funding to preserve Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian, threatened by the 2008 Passenger Rail Investment & Improvement Act’s requirement for more state funding for Amtrak routes of 750 or fewer miles.
- Worked on campaign to restore passenger rail service to the Gulf Coast, helping publicize and organize rallies in Tallahassee, spearheaded by NARP member Bart Bibler.
- 2011-2013: Co-hosted three consecutive Transportation and Infrastructure Conventions (in DC) and Transportation and Infrastructure Summits (in Irving, TX), including two consecutive speaking engagements by Chairman Bob Stewart in Irving.
- April 2011: NARP inaugurates the Academic Award, which has since been presented to three leading intellectuals in the public transportation field: Chris Barkan, Vukan Vuchic and Anthony Perl.
- March 2010: Assisted member Allan Thomas in preparing testimony for a hearing of the New Orleans City Council’s Economic Development Committee regarding restoration of New Orleans-Florida Amtrak service.
- Joined with local advocates to successfully push the development of Downeasterservice to Freeport and Brunswick, ME, and a Northeast Regional train to Norfolk, VA.
- NARP joined many other national and state advocacy groups to encourage people throughout the country to tell their California friends to call their legislators. Government officials are finally finding solutions to the challenges that have discouraged high-speed rail development for so long. A single-seat, Los Angeles-San Francisco ride is planned thanks to use of existing tracks in the terminal cities.
Accolades for NARP's Work
“When [NARP] comes to Washington, you help embolden us in our efforts to continue the progress for passenger rail. And not just on the Northeast Corridor. All over America! High-speed rail, passenger rail is coming to America, thanks to a lot of your efforts! We’re partners in this. ... You are the ones that are going to make this happen. Do not be dissuaded by the naysayers. There are thousands of people all over America who are for passenger rail and you represent the best of what America is about!”
--Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation, 2012 NARP Spring Council Meeting
“We would not be in the position we’re in if it weren’t for the advocacy of so many of you, over a long period of time, who have believed in passenger rail, and believe that passenger rail should really be a part of America’s intermodal transportation system.”
--Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation, 2011 Spring Council Meeting
“The National Association of Railroad Passengers has done yeoman work over the years and in fact if it weren’t for NARP, I'd be surprised if Amtrak were still in possession of as a large a network as they have. So they've done good work, they're very good on the factual case.”
--Robert Gallamore, Director of Transportation Center at Northwestern University and former Federal Railroad Administration official, Director of Transportation Center at Northwestern University, interviewed November 17, 2005, on The Leonard Lopate Show (with guest host Chris Bannon), WNYC New York.
“Saving the Pennsylvanian (New York-Pittsburgh train) was a local effort but it was tremendously useful to have a national organization [NARP] to call upon for information and support. It was the combination of the local and national groups that made this happen.”
--Michael Alexander, NARP Council Member, April 6, 2013, at the Harrisburg PA membership meeting of NARP