Rutland on track for May Train Day
By Gordon Dritschilo
Staff Report | March 21,2014
STAFF FILE PHOTO
The Amtrak Ethan Allen Express makes its way, slowly but surely, through Rutland. The city’s go-to railway get-away will doubtless be celebrated on Train Day, May 10.
New York Penn Station. 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Union Station in Chicago. Union Station in Washington, DC. Union Station in Los Angeles. James M. Jeffords Rail Passenger Welcome Center in Rutland.
Amtrak announced Thursday that Rutland would be one of 17 locations to host activities for National Train Day, an event the railroad began six years ago to “celebrate the many benefits trains bring to the nation.” The event takes place May 10.
“We’re the only one in the Northeast,” said Thomas Donahue, Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce executive vice president. “The next closest is Penn Station. ... It’s another thing for Rutland that says this is a great community and good things are happening here, counterbalancing some of the negative press we’ve had lately.”
Donahue said the event would consist of “train activities” for adults and children, though beyond tours of Amtrak equipment being brought in for the occasion, the nature of those activities was vague as they were still being “worked out.” Donahue said there would also be a number of displays brought to the station.
“How they’re going to fit it all into the station, I’m not sure,” Donahue said. “I’m envisioning this spilling out.”
Marc Magliari, a Chicago-based Amtrak spokesman, said Rutland drew the event organizers’ attention through the communities efforts to improve service along the Western rail corridor.
“There’s some competition within the company about, ‘I want it in my town — I want it in my town,’” he said. “The discussion was had and Rutland won out.”
In addition to whatever Amtrak brings in, Donahue said there will be locally generated displays. Toward that end, he said he was reaching out to organizations such as Rutland Railroad Historical Society and Vermont Railway.