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Home > Archives > Passenger service representative with schedule, 1971.

Passenger service representative with schedule, 1971.

Black and white photograph showing Passenger Service Representative Tricia Saunders holding the national schedule issued on July 12, 1971. Image dates to summer 1971.

Passenger service representative with schedule, 1971.

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. She also solicited feedback from fellow employees.

Here, Saunders holds the second national timetable. She wears a uniform that predates the official uniforms created by designer Bill Atkinson and unveiled in early 1972. Looking back at her career, Saunders concluded: “It’s hard work, but rewarding…You can’t compare passenger railroading to anything else. You have to love the public and be understanding.”

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