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Home > Archives > Passenger service representative talking with passengers, 1970s.

Passenger service representative talking with passengers, 1970s.

Black and white photograph showing Passenger Service Representative Tricia Saunders talking with passengers and taking notes aboard a train; image dates to 1972 or later.

Passenger service representative talking with passengers, 1970s.

Amtrak had very few direct employees in its first years, as most functions continued to be contracted out to the predecessor railroads from which the company had taken over intercity passenger rail operations. Prior to being hired by Amtrak on April 28, 1971–as one of the company’s first employees–Tricia "Patty" Saunders had worked two seasons for the Seaboard Coast Line, whose rail network covered the lucrative Florida market. She and her coworkers put on fashion shows, singalongs and other entertainments for passengers.

In her first Amtrak position–as a passenger service representative–Saunders was “the eyes and ears of Amtrak.” She assisted customers on the train, listened to their complaints and compliments regarding Amtrak service, talked about future company initiatives and passed on ideas for improvement to management.

Saunders wears a uniform created by designer Bill Atkinson and unveiled in early 1972. Pieces such as hot pants, a floor-length skirt and pants could be mixed with various tops and sweaters according to the season.

Photographer: Unknown for Amtrak. From the Tricia Saunders Collection.