As spring chugs along, Amtrak will soon be celebrating the seventh annual National Train Day on May 10, 2014. Started as a way to spread information about trains and the role that they still play in America’s transportation system, National Train Day is expected to be celebrated in 210 locations throughout 43 states as well as the District of Columbia. Los Angeles’s historic Union station will begin its celebration earlier, on May 3, as part of the historic passenger terminal’s 75th anniversary.
Being 16 percent more efficient than planes and 34 percent more efficient than cars, Amtrak trains are an ecologically friendly travel alternative. Not only do Amtrak trains use less energy per passenger than cars and airplanes, Amtrak now “plugs in” their locomotives at layover facilities in order to minimize diesel emissions during the train’s idling time. In addition to these measures, Amtrak also offers ways for individual passengers to offset their carbon footprint through a partnership with CarbonFund.org by way of donation.
Started after the Rail Passenger Service act in May of 1971, Amtrak’s still carries 31.5 million passengers a year and if trends continue, by 2040 ridership could reach 43.5 million. Cheaper and faster than shuttle planes, a third of Amtrak’s ridership comes from east-coast commuters traveling between New York, Boston and D.C.
If you’re interested in participating in National Train Day, head over to Amtrak's official site to search the interactive map for events near you. You can even start your own event if there’s nothing in your area.