Philadelphia, May 28 and 29
30th Street Station I used to live only a few blocks from 30th Street Station, and late at night, when it got quiet, you could clearly hear the sounds of steel wheel against steel rail, and the blowing of horns that echoed softly across the yard and into the neighborhood. Recently, Trains magazine named 30th Street one of the finest stations in the country, noting that the Main Hall retains its original layout and furnishings from when it was completed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1933.
One of the things we all really enjoy about volunteering on the Exhibit Train is meeting the people who come aboard. Some are new to trains, and have lots of questions about how Amtrak works—where we go, what the cars are like, etc. Veteran train travelers love to share their stories of adventure, and I certainly enjoy traveling vicariously through their memories. I spoke with a couple at length about their recent trip from Virginia to New Jersey—after years of driving back and forth to see a relative, they decided to give the train a try. They took a Northeast Regional to Philadelphia, and then transferred to a New Jersey Transit train bound for Atlantic City. From their excited description, I could tell that they had caught the train-travel bug and we had a fun time exchanging stories.
No More Gas Pains While on their layover, they wandered down to Track 1 to take a look at the Exhibit Train, and it was a great opportunity to explain how Amtrak was established by Congress in 1970 to run a national passenger rail system. When we were talking about driving and the price of gas, I led them over to an old advertisement from the 1970s that is still quite relevant today. Produced during that decade’s oil crisis, it endorses train travel as a relaxing and affordable alternative to driving—Amtrak is a “soothing cure-all” that will take care of the pain brought on by high gas prices. Over 40 years, Amtrak has produced lots of colorful posters with illustrations and photographs, and they’re on display throughout the 3 exhibit cars.
Speaking of traveling, this week we also had a colorful display on Trails and Rails that was located next to the Chuggington Kids’ Depot. For over a decade, the National Park Service and Amtrak have worked together to bring the experience of our country’s wondrous natural and historic sites to train travelers. All over the Amtrak network, park rangers and volunteers board our trains to talk to passengers about parks that are close to rail stations—including places such as the Erie Canalway and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. In fact, many of our national parks were first made accessible to the American people via rail.
Well, they say that the railroad never stops—we’ve got to start packing up in Philadelphia so we can move onto Perryville, Maryland, located where the mighty Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay. Hope to see you this weekend!