May 10th marks the first edition of National Train Day, a celebration of trains, tracks, mass transit, and efficient travel. The date is significant as the anniversary of the joining of the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railways in Utah 1869 – which created the US’ first transcontinental railroad.
The train became more than the go-to mode of transport for people and goods. It was a proud achievement of engineering vision, technical ingenuity and sweat. It was a cultural force that sparked the creative imaginations of storytellers in songs, movies and novels. Railways provided jobs for thousands of Americans. The train station became a focal point of every community, from New York City’s Pennsylvania Station to the tiny stations that dotted rural America.
Now, 139 years after the golden spike connected east and west, there’s never been a better time to take the train. Huge crowds and the frustrations that go with them burden our highways and airports. And at a time when we all share the same pressing concerns about ecology and energy conservation, trains are a more energy-efficient mode of travel than either autos or airplanes. Riding the rails is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Not to mention meet interesting people and see breathtaking scenery.
Even Pat Sajak and Vanna White are getting in on the action with segments during Wheel of Fortune all this week promoting train travel and National Train Day. A special Wheel of Fortune train car will be making the run between Chicago and Milwaukee from May 4th throough 15th.
The main party-hubs for the event will be in New York’s Penn and Union stations, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Chicago. On tap at each location will be live music, exhibits, VIP appearances, and trip giveaways. Amtrak is also offering promotional packages with lodging to bring visitors by train to these four locations.
- All Aboard the Train that Never Stops!
- Union Pacific’s Greened-Up Trains
- Hydrogen Powered Train for Ontario
- North Carolina All Aboard Rail System
- U.S. Train Travel on the Rise