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Home > Archives > Amtrak Expo '74 postcard, 1974.

Amtrak Expo '74 postcard, 1974.

Color paper postcard featuring an overview of the Expo '74 fairgrounds in Spokane, Wash. This card is one of a set produced by Amtrak with various images of trains and interiors.

Amtrak Expo '74 postcard, 1974.

Amtrak put its best face forward at Expo ‘74 held in Spokane, Washington during the summer of 1974. The Expo focused attention on the nascent environmental movement through the theme of “Celebrating Tomorrow’s Fresh New Environment.” This seemed especially fitting as Amtrak ridership hit its highest mark that year with 18.5 million passengers. Many were new riders who decided to give the train a try due to the 1973-1974 OPEC Oil Embargo and resulting shortages in gasoline.

The city transformed two islands in the river—covered with railroad tracks and industrial buildings—into festive fairgrounds. Ten nations, including the Soviet Union, Germany, Canada and Japan, opened exhibitions. One of the most popular landmarks was the tower of the 1902 Great Northern Railroad depot—it was spared while the rest of the structure was demolished to make way for the fair buildings.

Attendees learned about Amtrak through a mock-up of a rail car that included seating and dining areas. Amtrak employees were on hand to answer questions about Amtrak, accommodations, destinations and train travel in general. Over the course of six months, more than 1 million people visited the Amtrak display—approximately 20 percent of all fairgoers.

Postcards were often sold on board trains and in stations, or provided as a complimentary gift to sleeping car passengers.

From the Ann Owens Collection.