Amtrak promotes a national day to honor rail travel

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Newly Paul/KPCC

Visitors were given tours of private rail cars, Amtrak, and Metrolink trains on National Train Day at Union Station on May 8, 2010 in Los Angeles, Calif.

With depots across the country, Los Angeles Union Station will host events for National Train Day on Saturday.

The station will display model trains, archived photos of railroad history and demonstrations of dining car cuisine.

Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Grahm says gas prices and other factors have yanked rail travel out of nostalgic reverie and into the energy-conscious here and now.

“There’s a lot of history there and a lot of the older folks romanticize about sort of a bygone area,” says Grahm. “But then there are folks that realize that it’s not just sort of a way of leisurely traveling, but it’s actually a way to get to your destination without having to drive.”

This year, National Train Day marks 142 years since workers drove the golden spike into the Transcontinental Railroad, which joined east- and west-bound rails at Promontory Point, Utah.

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