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Home > Archives > Inaugural Lake Cities arrives in Detroit, 1980.

Inaugural Lake Cities arrives in Detroit, 1980.

Black and white photograph from the August 1980 issue of Amtrak NEWS.

Inaugural <i>Lake Cities</i> arrives in Detroit, 1980.

Starting with Washington, D.C. in February 1979, Amtrak held a series of “Family Days” celebrations in cities across the country. The events quickly blossomed into opportunities to invite the public to learn about the company and show off new equipment. A celebration that took place at Detroit's Michigan Central Station on the weekend of August 2-3, 1980, attracted more than 30,000 participants.

A crowd of spectators cheered the arrival of the inaugural Lake Cities (Chicago-Detroit-Toledo). Employing Turboliner equipment, it “arrived promptly at 12:20 [Sunday] and sliced through a red, white and blue ribbon stretched across the tracks” by U.S. Representative Carl Pursell and Detroit Deputy Mayor Richard Simmons. On display to the right of the Lake Cities is P30CH diesel locomotive No. 702.

The spirit of Family Days lived on in a new Amtrak tradition: National Train Day. Inaugurated in 2008 and celebrated each May, National Train Day marked the way that trains—intercity passenger, commuter and freight—drive the nation’s economy and connect us to one another. Attendees enjoyed displays of historic and modern equipment, live entertainment, fun kids’ activities and train rides.