The 50th anniversary gathering of the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) opens tomorrow, November 2nd in Chicago, Illinois. Dubbed Railnation Chicago, the event runs until Saturday, November 5th. NARP is the largest advocacy group for train and rail transit passengers in the US.

Railnation logo

Founded in the Windy City in 1967, NARP began in the era when private railroad companies were divesting themselves of passenger services. The organization’s lobbying efforts would contribute to the creation of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, or Amtrak, in 1971.

Hosted at the Millennium Knickerbocker hotel, Railnation Chicago offers a two-day symposium of passenger rail presenters, followed by two days of rail-related events. Among the list of numerous confirmed speakers, newly-appointed Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson, Ian Jeffries of the Association of American Railroads, and Trains Magazine editor Jim Wrinn will present. Some of the various talks include “Designing Transport is Designing Cities”, “How Advocates Can Envision the Future”, and “A View From the Rail Industry Press”.

There is an assortment of activities for attendees in the latter half of the conference. In addition to rail displays at the gathering, on the weekend there will be tours of the refurbishing Union Station, the Pullman State Historical Site, the Museum of Science & Industry, and the railroad collections of the private Newberry Library. Amtrak will also have a display of equipment and tours.

The following video from NARP gives an introduction to the benefits of train travel and includes a guest spot from passenger rail advocate and actor-musician, Dan Aykroyd:

For official event information about NARP’s 50th anniversary gathering, see the link Railnation. This writer is currently en route to the event – yes, I’m posting this from a train! (I’m aboard the Michigan Wolverine service from Detroit to Chicago). I am happy to say that I attending Railnation Chicago on behalf of the Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (see the link CAPT), which advocates for passenger rail in Northern Ontario.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

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