Trails and Rails volunteers return to Amtrak trains


Two men sitting at table in lounge car with various books
In September 2005, Nationwide Park Service volunteers Paul Scott and Randy Anderson show maps within the Empire Builder lounge automobile on a Trails and Rails program traversing Glacier Nationwide Park. That program has been discontinued, however this summer time the practice will characteristic segments between Seattle and Leavenworth, Wash., and from St. Paul to Columbus, Wis. (Bob Johnston)

WASHINGTON — The Nationwide Park Service has relaunched its informative Trails and Rails program on Amtrak trains for summer time 2022 after a two-year hiatus, however some beforehand featured segments will now not be lined.

Trails and Rails volunteer Andy Selden presents a Junior Ranger pin to a younger Empire Builder passenger headed to Wisconsin Dells, Wis., in August, 2014. (Bob Johnston)

Volunteers apply by way of the Nationwide Park and Nationwide Historic websites that sponsor the lecturers, who board trains and speak to vacationers in regards to the panorama and historical past alongside the routes. Many deliver artifacts, maps, and colourful visible aids to assist inform the story. Program contributors typically arrange within the practice’s lounge or cafe automobile and make an introductory announcement after boarding, but in addition might go out printed data and maintain casual discussions strolling by way of coaches and sleeping automobiles.

Trails and Rails used to characteristic volunteer commentators on longer routes involving in a single day stays, with Amtrak choosing up meal and lodging bills, however the apply resulted in 2018 as a part of company-wide amenity and advertising and marketing cutbacks. Now, most applications are daytime spherical journeys.

Operations pointers issued final week by Trails and Rails Nationwide Director James Mičulká word this  yr’s program “is constructed with lots of flexibility and adaptableness in thoughts. It could be tough for a lot of of you to carry to some form of a standard schedule with the spike in COVID circumstances in lots of elements of the nation. … onboard applications could also be performed when there are Trails and Rails volunteers keen and capable of current.”

These are the deliberate routes for 2022, as compiled from interactive map on the Nationwide Park Service web site, below the “Discover Trains” tab: (story continues under)

Table showing Park Service Trails and Rails routes on Amtrak trains

Two 2019 applications which gained’t return, no less than initially, are the Southwest Chief’s La Junta, Colo., to Las Vegas, N.M., itinerary, and a Los Angeles-San Diego Pacific Surfliner spherical journey.

Among the many listed routes is Saratoga Springs-Westport, N.Y., on the Adirondack, however New York State and Amtrak haven’t set a date for that New York-Montreal practice to renew. Itineraries utilizing it from New York to Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y. have been tentatively moved to the northbound Maple Leaf.

Mičulká tells Information Wire it’s not sure the Texas Eagle can be utilized by applications working to and from Springfield, In poor health., as a result of the Eagle now not has a Sightseer Lounge automobile, though volunteers already use a Lincoln Service practice in a single course. One other subject: on account of the Crescent’s northbound schedule change, the practice’s Atlanta arrival is about for after darkish at 11 p.m., however usually is delayed by freight practice interference till after midnight.


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