random thoughts on railroad photography, railfanning, technology, and such

Entries in Railroads (3)


2010 National Train Day Events Map and Listing

National Train Day celebrates America’s love for trains with events across the country. This year marks the third annual celebration with large-scale, family-friendly events that provide opportunities to explore interactive, educational exhibits that bring to life the rich narrative of how trains have transformed America and will continue to do so in the future. 

It is a rare opportunity for you and your kids to get an up close and personal look at various aspects of railroading and railroads, both past and present, in America. This is a day that rail organizations, societies, companies, and communities share the magic and their love for trains.  

I put together the following map to help you identify those celebrations and events that will be happening in your neighborhood so you can take advantage of this opportunity and make your plans today: 

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Information from Amtrak: 

National Train Day Exhibits and Festivities

As part of National Train Day, each major market event will feature live entertainment, interactive and educational exhibits, kid‘s entertainment, food demonstrations, model train displays, and tours of notable private railroad cars, Amtrak equipment, freight, and commuter trains. Train enthusiasts attending National Train Day events will enjoy the following exhibits:

  • Trains Move our Economy Exhibit: Discover how upgrades to Amtrak‘s infrastructure and expansion of intercity and high-speed corridors will create jobs and establish a greener, world-class rail transportation system.
  • Go-Green Express: Eco Exhibit: Learn about how Amtrak is providing greener options for travel, including energy efficient locomotives, reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and alternative fuel trials.
  • National Park Service Trails & Rails Exhibit: National Park Service, Trails & Rails, Volunteers and Rangers will be stationed throughout the event to meet with the public and highlight how trains have historically impacted the National Park Service and explain its current partnership with Amtrak.
  • Culinary Exhibit: Explore the history of dining on trains, view live-cooking demonstrations from Amtrak chefs and sample meals offered in Amtrak‘s dining cars.
  • Train Equipment Displays: At the newly expanded train displays, get up close and personal with Amtrak equipment to experience first-hand the modern amenities and accommodations offered by passenger rail. Then get an inside peek at how passengers traveled in generations past by touring a variety of historic train cars and privately-owned luxury coaches.
  • Model Train Displays: Delight in the craft of model train displays and take a closer look at these miniature masterpieces.
  • Amtrak Brand Display – Enjoy the Journey: Learn more about Amtrak‘s range of connectivity, routes, train technology, amenities and onboard offerings.
  • AmtraKids Depot: Enjoy magicians, face painters, arts and crafts, interactive games and giveaways at the AmtraKids Depot.
  • Snapshot Station: Snap a photo in front of custom train-themed backdrops for a fun National Train Day keepsake.

Most major market events will also feature experiential exhibits that narrate each region‘s rich history with trains. These exhibits include:

History of Baseball‘s Travel on Trains (Philadelphia)

  • In the early days of America‘s favorite pastime, trains helped baseball teams travel across the country to meet their rivals on the diamond. On National Train Day, Philadelphia‘s 30th Street Station will feature an exhibit showcasing memorabilia, photos, video and audio depicting the memories of former players from a variety of leagues. A prominent sports personality will host a panel discussion with former players. Photos from the recent ‗Amtrak Series‘ will also be displayed.

 The Blues Journey and Connection to the Railroad (Chicago)

  • Train travel played an important role in the emergence of blues as a major American art form and the development and migration of the sound from the Mississippi Delta north. On National Train Day at Chicago‘s Union Station, Big Bill and Larry ―Mud‖ Morganfield, the sons of celebrated blues musician Muddy Waters, will be joined by legendary Mississippi Delta blues musician Bobby Rush to perform train-themed blues songs. This will be the last stop in a five-state tour aboard Amtrak, originating in Muddy Waters‘ birthplace in Mississippi. The Chicago Blues Museum will also display a special blues exhibit at the station with a brief historical presentation by the museum‘s curator, Gregg Parker. 

Railroad Bracero Exhibit (Los Angeles)

  • During World War II, thousands of Mexicans came to the U.S. to work legally under the ―Railroad Braceros‖ program to build and maintain our nation‘s passenger railroad system. At National Train Day in Los Angeles‘ Union Station, an exhibit will honor the Hispanic contributions to the national railroad. Steve Velasquez, associate curator, National Museum of American History, will present on the braceros and their role in railroad history.
  • Sunday

    National Train Day - Discover and Learn About Railroads and Trains

    On May 8, 2010, in cities all across the land, there is going to be a celebration of America’s love for trains.  Amtrak is hosting, with participation from cities and organizations, the 3rd annual National Train Day to commemorate the 141st anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad completion on May 10, 1869.

    The press release from Amtrak describes the event as:

    “National Train Day celebrates the train‘s impact on our country and provides an opportunity for Americans to further understand the influence rail has on the future of transportation in America,” said Emmett H. Fremaux, vice president, marketing and product management, Amtrak. “With a greater national focus on energy efficiency in travel, trains are already a leading alternative with 20 percent more fuel efficiency than commercial airlines and 28 percent more efficiency than car travel per passenger mile.”

    “Trains have always been an important part of this country‘s fabric and with the spotlight on green and increasing options for intercity and high-speed rail growth, it‘s clear that they will continue to drive innovation in transportation.”

    In four of Amtrak’s gateway cities, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and Chicago, Amtrak will host free events from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.  These events will consist of live entertainment, interactive and educational exhibits, kid’s entertainment, food demonstrations, model train displays, and tours of private railroad cars, Amtrak equipment, freight and commuter trains.

    In other cities, perhaps one near you, there will be similar activities and opportunities.  More are being added each day so check the National Train Day’s Other Cities web page as May approaches. 

    This is a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with some nice pieces of railroad equipment and locomotives as well as a chance to meet with railroaders and railfans from your area.  I have been to the previous two events in Los Angeles, California, and, in both cases, you could climb into the cab of several locomotives.  Very cool to see.  Kids, like me, seem to really enjoy the displays.

    A good time is sure to be had by all and you can learn more about railroads and their contributions to America’s past, present, and future.  Keep checking the National Train Day web site since events and cities will be added as May draws closer.

    I’ll be at the Los Angeles and San Bernardino events.  See you there!

    Andrew J. Russell’s famous Champange Photo taken at Promontory Summit May 10, 1869


    Wow, Even CNBC?

    What is it with the news media and railroads?

    Railroading has been around for a long time now yet it seems that the media rarely gets their facts straight. More often than not, it seems, the reports contain inaccurate or completely wrong information.

    Now I can understand that when a small-town newspaper or media outlet reports on a railroad-related story that there might be a mistake or two in the story. The reporter might not be railroad-savy. You see this often.

    I do have an issue when a major news organization makes a error when reporting a railroad news item. They are suppose to have a very talented staff of writers, and more importantly, vast resources and good editors. At the very least, they certainly can “Google” like the rest of the world.

    I was surfing the web today and came across this article from CNBC about Berkshire Hathaway acquiring BNSF Railway. The title is, mistakenly, “Berkshire Hathaway Gets Antitrust Clearance to Buy Burlington Northern.”. It should read: Berkshire Hathaway Gets Antitrust Clearance to Buy BNSF Railway Company, which is the right name of the company.  Burlington Northern is the old company.  But, it doesn’t end there. Here is the graphic they chose to put with their image of Warren Buffett.  It is the old Burlington Northern logo and not the current logo of the BNSF Railway Company!

    The logo of the old railroad company, Burlington Northern

    The real logo for the BNSF Railway is shown here:

    I would be happy to verify facts for any media company, for a small fee, of course. Contact me here.