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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Amtrak announces 40th anniversary activities, adds Cascades Wi-Fi service


Amtrak officials are preparing a slate of activities to mark the 40th anniversary of the national intercity passenger railroad.
The anniversary is May 1, but special events already have begun, including the unveiling of the first of four P-42 diesel-electric locomotives with historic paint schemes that entered regular revenue service in Chicago on Jan. 30. All four locomotives will be in service by April 30 and will operate on trains across Amtrak's national network.
On May 7, a 40th anniversary exhibit train will debut for National Train Day in Washington, D.C. The anniversary exhibit, which will travel across the country for a year, will feature two locomotives with historic paint schemes and renovated baggage cars to display memorabilia such as vintage advertising, past menus, dinnerware, period uniforms and photographs from each of the past four decades. In spring, a website will be launched with historical information, anniversary event schedule, photo archive and videos.
In other Amtrak news, riders on the Cascades service operating between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Eugene, Ore., now will be able to connect to the Internet through a free Wi-Fi service known as AmtrakConnect.
More than 838,000 riders traveled on Amtrak Cascades in 2010, setting a 16-year high for total ridership. Wi-Fi service has been the most requested amenity by Amtrak Cascade passengers, according to Amtrak.