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Michael L. Testerman
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Richmond VA 23218
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Virginia Association of Railway Patrons

Modern Transportation for the Virginias

VARP Cardinal Campaign

The Virginia Association of Railway Patrons wants Congress to direct Amtrak to run the Cardinal train daily and wants Congress to make sure that Amtrak has the operating funds, locomotives, and passenger cars to do so.

The association asks your help in seeking congressional action. During the month of April 2010, it sent press releases to news media along the Cardinal route in Virginia and West Virginia, sent letters to Congress, and asked local governments, chambers of commerce, and metropolitan planning organizations along the Cardinal route to pass resolutions seeking congressional action for a daily Cardinal.

We have produced sample documents, and others are welcome to use their contents:

Letter to citizens
Letter to Congress
Resolution for governments
Press release

Please join us in communicating our message to the news media and to your elected representatives. We suggest that you make the following points:

  • Congress should direct Amtrak to run its Washington-Chicago Cardinal train daily and make sure that Amtrak has the operating funds, locomotives, and passenger cars to do so.
  • The train serves 11 states and Washington, DC. It provides interstate transportation and therefore is a federal responsibility.
  • The Cardinal runs only three times a week in each direction, and it is the only passenger train serving Charleston, WV; Cincinnati, OH; and many other points.
  • The Cardinal provides a transportation alternative to towns that have little else.
  • The train has been reasonably well patronized, but it provides substandard service such that three major cities do not even have a passenger train every day. This is an uneconomical use of station facilities.
  • Daily, reliable operation would not only improve the transportation choices for people on the Cardinal route, it would assist their economies by making many points in these states more accessible to people living in other places on the Cardinal route and on connecting lines.
  • The segment of the Cardinal route from Cincinnati to Chicago is one of the federally designated high-speed corridors. Eventually we expect to see fast service several times a day between these cities, but even then daily, reliable service east of Cincinnati is important for the future high-speed service to be of benefit to Virginia and West Virginia, and a daily schedule is a realistic minimum for the current Cardinal service.

In March 2010, VARP carried out the main efforts of its campaign to make Amtrak’s New York–Chicago Cardinal, which serves Virginia and West Virginia, daily and reliable.

VARP sent a press release to the newspapers in towns and cities along the Cardinal route and wrote to local governments, chambers of commerce, and metropolitan planning organizations, asking them to sign a statement requesting congressional action.

VARP also wrote to the Virginia and West Virginia congressional delegations from the online districts, and VARP director Neil Humphreys (a college professor himself) said he would contact online colleges and universities.

Finally, VARP wrote to its members and to NARP members who live near the Cardinal route in Virginia and West Virginia—about 400 people in all—asking them to write to their elected representatives and local media. VARP provided the names, addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, and websites (as many as it could find) for federal and local government and media to assist citizens with their own correspondence.