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Congressman Cohen Receives 2023 Golden Spike Award

April 25, 2023

This year’s Golden Spike, awarded by the Rail Passengers Association, recognizes the Congressman’s many years of fighting for a better Amtrak network and passengers’ right to quality service.

For Immediate Release (23-4)
Contact: Madison Butler ([email protected])

Congressman Cohen Honored for Work on Behalf of America’s Rail Passengers

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee received the Golden Spike Award today for his work on behalf of America’s rail passengers. This year’s Golden Spike, awarded by the Rail Passengers Association, recognizes the Congressman’s many years of fighting for a better Amtrak network and passengers’ right to quality service.

Congressman Cohen has been a vocal champion of the idea that people don’t give up the right to be treated with respect simply because they board a train or an airplane—an idea that is too often ignored when management looks to cut corners. Many of these cuts fell disproportionately on coach passengers and Amtrak communities in the Midwest and Western states in recent years. However, thanks in large part to Congressman Cohen’s work, we’ve seen these service reductions largely rolled back.

The Congressman has also been a longtime advocate for launching a Memphis-to-Nashville Amtrak route, which will provide an important transportation and economic connection between the two cities. Thanks to the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), which he supported, Tennessee now has the ability to apply for federal grants to get this service off the ground.

"I am honored to be recognized by the Rail Passengers Association for my work on behalf of America's rail passengers, and to be presented with their 2023 Golden Spike Award,” said Congressman Cohen. “Rail travel isn’t just an essential mode of transportation, it’s also a vital economic engine for our communities. I firmly believe that every passenger has the right to quality service—including access to the dining car—and respect, and under bills like the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act we’re finally seeing long-overdue investments that are making our railways safer, faster, cleaner, and more efficient. As we continue to push for improvements in our Amtrak network and the launch of the Memphis-to-Nashville route, I am committed to ensuring that passenger rail remains a reliable and enjoyable experience for Memphians and all Americans.”

“Congressman Cohen has the sincere thanks of all American passengers for his advocacy for more and better Amtrak trains,” said Jim Mathews, President & CEO of Rail Passengers Association. “He provided critical oversight of Amtrak during a critical period when the railroad was cutting service and jobs in response to declining travel in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. His support for the BIL has helped put the U.S. passenger rail network back on solid footing.”


About the Golden Spike Award

Dating back to 1967, Rail Passengers’ Golden Spike honors work done to advance the cause of a robust national rail system in the U.S. It has been awarded to elected officials, advocates, and even celebrities who have made important contributions to passenger rail service. Notable past recipients include former Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi and former Transportation & Infrastructure Chair Peter DeFazio.

About Rail Passengers Association

The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization serving as a voice for the more than 40 million rail passengers in the U.S. Our mission is to improve and expand conventional intercity and regional passenger train services, support higher speed rail initiatives, increase connectivity among all forms of transportation and ensure safety for our country's trains and passengers. All of this makes communities safer, more accessible and more productive, improving the lives of everyone who lives, works and plays in towns all across America.