In an effort to continue building on five straight years of record ridership, as well as the recent publicity given to train travel by Barack Obama, Amtrak is dubbing May 10th 'National Train Day.' The day will feature events in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Washington D.C. and a handful of smaller cities around the country. The festivities in D.C. will be hosted by Al Roker and will include a performance by singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles. The Harlem Globetrotters will be performing in Penn Station, and several stations, including Penn and Washington's Union Station, will have "equipment displays"--giving the public the chance to walk on Amtrak's trains, particularly the plush, sleek, modern (by American standards) Acela. All this in the hopes that more people will be encouraged to give the train a try.
Amtrak will be spending $2.2 million to run and promote train day. That would be fine were it not for the fact that it is currently underfunded, and the Bush administration wants to decrease Amtrak's funding. Will train day be successful? Will record gas prices enable Amtrak to see record ridership this year?
See Also: ::Obama Appeals to Crucial Train Swing Vote, ::Amtrak Train Runs Out of Fuel, Perhaps a Wake-up Call For America?, ::Another Reason We Have Roads Instead of Rails, ::AGV: New Super-Duper-Fast Train From France, and ::Summer Train Travel: In Your Future?