Students speak out for passenger rail
November 14, 2013
Written By Logan McLeod
Since I started working in the passenger rail industry I continue to hear this ignorant and unsubstantiated claim that only a certain demographic rides trains and thus they’re not worth investing in. The truth is that passenger rail is part of everyday American lives wherever it exists in this nation. If it’s present in your town, city, or state; believe it’s being used by many of your fellow citizens no matter the age or race.
This “astonishing” observation is the recent work done by Purdue’s Student Government to help save the Hoosier Train in Indiana. These remarkable students knew that this disastrous possibility would not only affect their surrounding community, but also their entire student body at Purdue University. They organized quickly to produce a resolution that unanimously passed in their Student Senate and moved to action. Micah Matlock gave a Power Point presentation at the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce meeting that struck a chord with key mayors and congressional representatives of the area. With the help of Joe Krause, a dedicated NARP member and rail advocate, we communicated and coordinated a way for these student rail saviors to be properly recognized for their achievement. Bob Stewart presented these students with the Student Passenger Rail Citizenship Award at the Midwest High Speed Rail Association’s National Conference Meeting in Indianapolis.
NARP Chairman Stewart presents the award to Purdue Student Body President Kyle Pendergast.
Now, NARP is working with Mary Washington University’s Max Devilliers to support his petition to press for more VRE trains on the weekends. Please go on our Facebook page and help Max by signing his petition, and look for a future co-sponsored event where NARP and MWU students come together and raise VRE’s awareness that there is a need for a weekend service along with Maryland’s weekend service on the Penn. Line starting December 7th. All train passengers should applaud these young advocates of rail and should look to follow in their footsteps. Passenger Rail is not a partisan issue nor is it something that applies to one particular group. It’s a mobility issue for the nation as a whole. Now is the time to come together and press for a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want.
"When [NARP] comes to Washington, you help embolden us in our efforts to continue the progress for passenger rail. And not just on the Northeast Corridor. All over America! High-speed rail, passenger rail is coming to America, thanks to a lot of your efforts! We’re partners in this. ... You are the ones that are going to make this happen. Do not be dissuaded by the naysayers. There are thousands of people all over America who are for passenger rail and you represent the best of what America is about!"
Secretary Ray LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation
2012 NARP Spring Council Meeting