American Passenger Rail -- From the Early Days to Amtrak: The 21st Century

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In 2004, the Kerry-Edwards team rode a 15-car presidential campaign train on a route that began in St Louis before travelling through Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The train had nine private cars, including the former business car used by presidents Truman and Clinton, as well as five or six Amtrak cars used for press and staff accommodations. The train also had two diners, two or three lounge cars, one power/supply car, one baggage car, one or two sleepers and five or six coaches or café cars. The train was chartered and paid for by the Democrats and operated by Rail Cruise America.

When terrorists attacked and destroyed New York City’s World Trade Center on 11 September 2001, Amtrak trains continued to operate throughout the crisis, bringing crucial emergency supplies and personnel to the scene.

Sept. 11 also played a vital role in the recovery efforts after the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The New Orleans terminal was spared major damage — at one point it was used as a temporary jail — and Amtrak was able to start moving residents from the city when a special 12-car train arrived from Baton Rouge able to carry 600 passengers. Food and water were loaded onto the train before it left for New Orleans. By the Monday after the hurricane, Amtrak was able to operate four runs a day and would later provide the first commercial transportation out of the city with the departures of the City of New Orleans to Memphis and Chicago and the Crescent to Atlanta and New York.

As well as providing such essential services, environment-friendly trains relieve traffic congestion and conserve energy. They use fuel efficiently, are not greedy for land and encourage economic growth. They are also the most enjoyable way to see America , which has some of the world’s finest long-distance routes, and by using them as often as possible you help ensure their survival and prosperity.

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