Image by Christopher & AmyCate
People have been riding the rails for centuries. Traveling by train is one of the oldest and smartest ways to travel. It’s a very environmentally-friendly form of transportation while at the same time provides a relaxation and view of the world that you can’t get from any other angle.
This year National Train Day has something extra special to celebrate. It’s Amtrak’s 40th birthday! America’s railroad has been providing intercity and high speed rail service for four decades. That’s forty years of being a staple when it comes to environmentally-friendly forms of transportation. Whether it’s for a weekday commute, a weekend getaway or even a cross-country vacation, taking the train is once again taking shape as the green way to get where you are going.
Now in terms of National Train Day, whether you’ve taken a ride on a train before or not, that doesn’t matter. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend a National Train Day celebration. Major events are being held in cities such as Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Other events can be found here (or you can hold your own).
Each major event will include entertainment, interactive exhibits, etc. In Los Angeles (where my family and I will be attending National Train Day) they are scheduled to have:
- An East Meets West Exhibit
- A California Missions Exhibit
- An Amtrak High-Speed Rail Display
- Train Equipment Displays
- Model Train Displays
- An Amtrak 40th Anniversary Display
- AmtraKids Depot
- and more.
Needless to say, we are all looking forward to it. We’re planning on taking the train right into Union Station and checking out all that National Train Day has to offer.
To give you a little history on Amtrak, check out this official Amtrak video reflecting on its first 40 years. The video shows some incredible footage along with interviews which provide insight into the history of America’s railroad:
If you’re interested, you can also check this video out for a behind the scenes look at Amtrak’s Exhibit Train:
Now of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t cover a few of the environmentally-friendly actions Amtrak is taking to make this already green form of transportation even greener:
- They have recycling programs for bottles, cans and newspapers.
- They’ve already cut their diesel fuel use by more than 5% and have steps in place to reduce idle time for diesel locomotives.
- They use bio-lubricants (maybe they need a little Green Plus® too).
- They have “electrified” lines that take advantage of electric “plug-in” technology.
- They are a member of The Climate Registry (TCR) and as such are committed to tracking, managing and cutting down their greenhouse gas emissions.
- They encourage and support freight rail transportation, especially since American railroads move an estimated 40% of the nation’s freight yet only generate 2.2% of all transportation related greenhouse gas emissions.
- They also have employee training and awareness programs to raise employee understanding and participation in making Amtrak even more environmentally-friendly.
Also, next time you make plans to travel, keep in mind that traveling by rail uses less fuel than traveling by car or plane.
Riding the rails is truly an energy efficient way to travel. So, hop on board a train this Saturday and help celebrate National Train Day! Then figure out how you can fit the train into your environmentally-friendly transportation plans. See you there!