UPDATE: Below are links to media coverage of the Toledo Rally4Trains event:
For Immediate Release
June 24, 2017
Contact: Bill Gill 419-536-1924
Bruce Becker, Vice President of Operations, National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) Joins Tim Porter, Chair of the Northwest Ohio Passenger Rail Association (NOPRA) and Toledo Rail Passengers to Protest Cuts to Trains
Local Event Mirrors Rallies Held Across the Country for #Rally4Trains
TOLEDO, OH — Along with leaders of NARP, NOPRA and All Aboard Ohio, Patrick Miller, Chair of the Passenger Rail Committee of the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments, and State Representative, Michael Sheehy, joined more than two dozen local rail passengers as part of a national “Rally For Trains” at the park in front of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza – home to Toledo’s Amtrak facility – on Saturday afternoon at 3 o’clock June 24. The rally was one of dozens that were planned across the country in response to a proposed federal budget that would wipe out long distance train service in more than 220 communities and 23 states.
“The goal of the ‘Rally For Trains’ was to come together as one voice to ensure that the proposed federal budget is not implemented without considerable amendments to restore and even increase funding for passenger rail,” said Jim Mathews, President and CEO of the National Association of Railroad Passengers in Washington, D.C. “This series of events shows enormous, bi-partisan and widespread support for our national rail network,” he said.
As part of the rally, local volunteers in Toledo held signs and engaged in enthusiastic conversations with visitors. The event was also attended by Tom Galloway, on the Legislative Board of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, Robert Seyfang, head of the Toledo Design Center and J. Michael Galbraith, candidate for Ohio’s 5th Congressional Seat.
“A train ride as a boy taught me to appreciate the geographic diversity of my home state,” said Representative Sheehy. He went on to point out that the proposed cuts in President’s budget will hurt job growth and deter people from traveling to Toledo. “It’s another nail in the coffin of the economy in the state of Ohio.”
Michael Friedman, retired Amtrak Conductor and Democratic State Central Committee representative, joined the speakers in urging everyone to contact their local congressmen and representatives and voice concerns about the railroad cuts. An invitation was extended to all to join one or more of the advocacy groups to further the cause.
Loss of long distance rail service would dramatically affect Toledo – as well as Cleveland, Elyria, Sandusky and Bryan – along with more than 31 million passengers nationwide. The Amtrak cuts would impact as many as 500 communities nationwide. In Toledo, Ohio’s busiest Amtrak passenger station, there would no longer be passenger trains to Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, New York City, Boston or Chicago served by the Lake Shore Limited and the Capitol Limited.
“It would be a terrible loss,” said Toledoan Bill Taylor. Mr. Taylor detailed many enjoyable trips taken on several Amtrak trains.
Economic and other data have shown that towns without trains have fewer jobs, less tourism, lower economic activity, lower real estate values, less healthy people, more traffic congestion, less mobility and fewer travel options. While Congress holds the purse strings and will eventually decide on a federal budget for 2018, the initial proposals from the White House have drawn scrutiny from both sides of the aisle.
The rallies show strong support for trains in both rural and urban areas, and the rail passengers plan to continue their fight for as long as it takes to achieve funding that will help achieve a positive outcome for trains.
They have also continued their effort online at www.townstwithouttrains.com and on Facebook and Twitter @railpassengers. Visit the website to see the full list of train stations that would lose service under the proposed budget.
About the National Association of Railroad Passengers
NARP is the only national organization speaking for the nearly 40 million users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more than 28,000 individual members nationwide.