Chicago, America’s Railroad Capital, is set to host the 50th anniversary gathering of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) from November 2nd to 5th. Founded in 1967 in the Windy City, NARP is the largest advocacy group for train and rail transit passengers in the US. NARP began in the era of private railroad companies divesting themselves of passenger services, and the organization’s lobbying efforts contributed to the launch of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, or Amtrak, in 1971.
The November event, entitled Railnation Chicago and hosted at Millennium Knickerbocker hotel, will offer a two-day symposium of passenger rail presenters, followed by two days of rail-related activities. The list of invited speakers is impressive. They include newly-appointed Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson, the former governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, Trains Magazine editor Jim Wrinn, passenger rail writer Bob Johnston, and the CEO of VIA Rail Canada, Yves Desjardins-Siciliano.
Activities for attendees are varied. Concurrent to the rail displays at the conference, on the weekend there will be tours of the refurbishing Union Station, the Museum of Science & Industry, and the Pullman State Historical Site. The following video from CBS gives an indication of the upcoming changes planned for Chicago’s Union Station:
For official event information about NARP’s Railnation conference, see the link RAILNATION. This writer is pleased to share that he will be attending the event on behalf of the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (see CAPT), which advocates for passenger rail in Northern Ontario.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)