Every once in a while, someone will post that they’re tired of politics, and just want to talk about trains. But are these folks naive? Whether they like to ride trains, or watch them roll by, how do they expect service to survive without the hard work that’s done every day in Washington, DC, by organizations like the National Association of Railroad Passengers, and by state advocacy groups in state capitols and with local elected officials?
I think most of us would agree that the current political environment can be poisonous and hyper-partisan. But support for passenger rail service is still one of the few subjects that finds support on both sides of the aisle….if you and I keep telling our elected representatives that passenger rail is important.
Please join NARP for our annual “Day On the Hill” if you can make it to DC in a couple of weeks. And if you can’t, contact your elected representatives, and show them how passenger rail affects your community.
Working together, we can make sure that the “Train Tree” stays healthy and growing!
Charlie Hamilton, NARP Council Rep. at Large (WA), is part of a team asking for input from us and others on the topic of Amtrak trains, stations, and passenger services being ADA compliant for those traveling passengers that may have limited mobility or other physical disabilities. These items can also include concerns that have been addressed through current ADA guidelines but which could be improved.
For example, Stephanie Weber, NARP Council Rep. (WA), offered the concern of passengers with impaired hearing having a difficult time understanding station announcements given by Amtrak employees. Also, there are stations that don’t have a visual train status information board for those to read that are unable to hear a PA system.
At your earliest convenience, if you have ADA topics relating to Amtrak trains, stations, and services offered that should be addressed, please contact us. Be specific so Charlie can accurately present your suggestions/concerns. Should you have any questions, please contact Charlie Hamilton.
UPDATE: Thanks so much for everyone’s continued input. We are collecting comments here, and in a number of other locations:
Amtrak Fans on Facebook
@AmtrakFansNews on Twitter
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Amtrak Riders on Facebook
January will see a new team in the White House. The Congress will still be divided. There haven’t been too many changes in state legislatures.
And the trains will still be running.
But now more than ever, we all need to work together to build bipartisan support for a robust passenger train network. Please join, donate to, and become actively involved in, the National Association of Railroad Passengers, and rail advocacy groups in your area.
And there are many other ways to help.
Trains don’t grow on trees. With your help, we can keep them running!
For now, seven races shift toward Democrats:
Florida’s 7th District (John L. Mica, R) from Tilts Republican to Tossup
Representative Mica (R-FL7) has been known for micro-managing Amtrak for several years, but he is now facing a real struggle in his bid for re-election.
The National Association of Railroad Passengers has a list of local transit measures on their website here, but they can’t endorse candidates because of their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. If anyone knows of candidates who are worthy of endorsement by passenger rail supporters, please post them here or on the Grow Trains Facebook page.
Don’t forget to vote for passenger rail supporters in the Senate, the House, in state legislatures, and locally!
Amtrak employees have a responsibility to report suspicious activities to the appropriate authorities.
But according to the Office of the Inspector General of the US Department of Justice, some transportation employees (including Amtrak employees) have been participating in a poorly-managed Drug Enforcement Agency program that pays “tipsters” for information with very little accountability.
But the report indicates that the DEA is as interested in cash as it is in drugs, thus potentially leading to questionable searches. It’s well-known in the train-riding community that such incidents happen frequently in certain places.
Balancing passenger safety with the needs of law enforcement is a tricky proposition at best. But this balance needs to be decided upon in the light of day.
Advertising. It’s everywhere.
It was originally about paying newspaper writers, radio and television artists, and bloggers. But today, you and I post our comments and our photos to social media and don’t get paid…unless we work for Facebook, or Twitter, or the other platforms we use.
Sure, it costs big money to run big social media sites. But maybe it’s time to think smaller.
We’re ready to start our own social media site, just for people who care about rail.
Here’s the idea. The site will have no advertising. It won’t claim ownership of the text and images you post. It won’t collect and sell your personal information. It won’t have subscriptions.
To pay for the small costs it will take to run the site, we’ll ask those of you who can afford it to provide voluntary donations.
Will you join us?
Amtrak’s announcement that retired Norfolk Southern executive Charles “Wick” Moorman will be the railroad’s next president has been greeted positively.
Railfans immediately started posting their wish lists for Mr. Moorman: resurrection of every route Amtrak ever had; return of old-style elegant food service; and so on…even a steam excursion program similar to Norfolk Southern’s.
Well, dream on. We’re pleased that Amtrak has selected a widely-respected executive. But Mr. Moorman is going to need our help to make our wishes come true. This fall, we need to vote for members of Congress, governors, legislators, and local officials who are willing to fund passenger rail.
So please, ask candidates if they support better trains, and let us know what you find out. Mr. Moorman needs our support.
I’ve seen a lot of posts like this recently. Train supporters are flying, because Amtrak is just not meeting their needs. Personally, I’m taking trains less and flying more this year.
This is bad news. We need to be making passenger trains more convenient, not less.
So now that the circuses in Cleveland and Philadelphia have done their jobs, it’s time to focus on electing candidates that support better infrastructure.
And we need to find and support candidates running for office at every level — US Congress, governors, state legislators, city and county council members — who recognize the importance of passenger rail.
Do you know candidates like that? Let us know! We’ll build a list of supporters, and share it soon.
Grow Trains is looking for candidates who support passenger rail.
It’s important to have strong supporters of passenger rail at all levels of government. So we’re looking for candidates running for election at any level, and they may be affiliated with any party.
Are you such a candidate, or do you know someone who is? Please tell us by completing the linked form.
We hope to publish a list of candidates we like soon. Thanks for your help!