The Rail Passengers Association (formerly NARP) is the only organization that acts as a voice for train passengers—particularly Amtrak customers, but also commuter rail and rail transit riders—on Capitol Hill, before the US Department of Transportation, and before Amtrak management. We are a source of straightforward factual information, presented in layman’s terms, that is relied upon by lawmakers’ staffs and by reporters. For example, in the three days following the December 1st Metro-North derailment, NARP’s phones were ringing off the hook with reporters, and members of the public, seeking information about the causes of the tragedy, and what could be done to prevent such accidents. This is because of NARP’s hard-earned reputation as a reliable source for such facts, presented without spin and without jargon.
NARP has also provided consistent backing for every positive development in American intercity passenger train service since the creation of Amtrak. It is our network of grassroots supporters, and affiliated state-level passengers’ organizations in nearly all of the continental states, that has allowed the voice of travelers clamoring for more service to be translated into successes like the Capitol Corridor, Cascades, Downeaster, Piedmonts and Carolinian, Hiawathas, Blue Water, Pere Marquette, Illini and Saluki, Heartland Flyer, and other routes that brought passenger service to a level not seen since the days before Amtrak, and in some cases (like the Capitol Corridor) a higher level of train service than the corridor enjoyed before Amtrak.
NARP is the only national organization that consistently advances the cause of Amtrak’s national network trains. Our concerted efforts have saved routes like the Texas Eagle from what once seemed to be certain demise, and we have kept Congress and Amtrak from eliminating or severely cutting back on food service and sleeping cars on the national network trains. NARP is the only organization with a broad vision for an expanded passenger train network—one that rivals the Interstate Highway System in scope, and serves more of the country than any other advocacy organization’s vision.
NARP is guided by our firm belief that all Americans—from New York City to Hutchison, Kansas; from Seattle to Jackson, Mississippi—deserve the choice of safe, reliable, convenient, affordable, and enjoyable passenger train service. We know that providing more routes and frequencies of trains composed of modern equipment will give Americans greater mobility and nurture local economies, all while reducing the energy use, pollution and land consumption associated with our current, very inefficient fly-or-drive-only transportation system. Because only NARP represents the interests of urbanites, suburbanites and rural residents alike, in all parts of the country, NARP is uniquely positioned to be the umbrella under which a diverse coalition of Americans comes together and gives federal and state elected leaders the political backbone necessary to break the mold that has given us the subpar transportation system we have, and to finally make the investments to put modern, clean, safe and dependable passenger trains within reach of all Americans.
"The Rail Passenger Association's recognition of the essential work done by SMART-TD members aboard Amtrak during this difficult period is appreciated. The Golden Spike Award serves as a testament to the compassion and dedication our conductors, assistant conductors and other workers exhibit constantly through times both ordinary and extraordinary."
Jeremy Ferguson, SMART-TD President
December 21, 2021, on the Association awarding its 2021 Golden Spike Award to the Frontline Amtrak Employees.