It’s been a painful week in America and for America. Our hearts go out to those who are suffering, and our thanks to all those who are stepping up to make a difference.

Our country now has to deal with the challenge of economic recovery, face up to long-standing issues of racial discrimination and social inequity, and cope with the continuing risk posed by COVID-19 – and climate change! You might think that working to promote passenger train service is a distraction, but the work we do is actually more important and more relevant than ever. Passenger rail network expansion is part of a resilient, sustainable future for cities as well as rural communities.

Our team of four summer interns recognizes how powerfully transformative rail service can be. They will be doing research and also working with Karen Christensen on a variety of online events and webinars, and participating in our weekly “Office Hour,” an informal meeting that anyone can join. See below for a list of events, which includes the next East-West Rail Study meeting and a program in partnership with Bascom Lodge.

Today, we’d like to introduce two more summer interns, Malcolm Ferguson (below left) and Maggie Lewis (below right), tell you about yet another major piece of federal rail legislation, and provide some details about the Housatonic Line upgrades taking place this summer.

Greetings everyone!  My name is Malcolm Ferguson, and I am a rising senior at the University of Maryland, College Park studying Political Science and English.  I will be working as a Train Campaign intern for the summer and am extremely excited to immerse myself in the world of transportation planning and policy.  I hope to be able to gain specific knowledge of the Western Massachusetts lines as well as more general knowledge regarding the nature of public transit that I can take with me as I begin to apply to Urban Studies/Planning Masters’ Programs in the fall.

The need for expanded public transportation access is all too evident to me.  As a Baltimore native and an avid user of the DC metro system during my time at UMD, I have had firsthand experience with transit systems that are either inefficient, inaccessible to key populations, overpriced, ecologically damaging, or controlled by governments who do not properly prioritize them.  I find the Train Campaign’s more rural focus particularly interesting.  I hope to broaden my perspective regarding how transit can be implemented in more remote areas like Pittsfield and Berkshire.

I’m very thankful for this hands-on opportunity in a rapidly expanding field, and I look forward to growing with the rest of my intern cohort this summer.  Thanks!

My name is Maggie Blake and I am a rising sophomore at Colby College majoring in English and Economics. I am extremely excited to be an intern for The Train Campaign. I am from a small town northwest of Boston, about two hours from Berkshire county.

I was drawn to The Train Campaign because of their commitment to economic development in under-served rural areas. While I grew up in the suburbs, I have always been drawn to more rural areas.

The Train Campaign’s mission to extend and improve passenger rail service seeks to create economic development in rural areas, and their strategy is targeted and effective. I wanted to be part of this strategy, and help The Train Campaign bring economic development to rural areas.

Passenger rail is an extremely important service. It is a critical part of the world’s infrastructure and a huge key to economic development. I am excited to help The Train Campaign bring improve and extend this vital service.

Transformative Rail Legislation

House Unveils Rail Legislation, Includes Momentous Victories for Passenger Advocates
From Rail Passengers Association HOTLINE #1,170

“Earlier this week, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure released the text of the Investing in a New Vision for the Environment and Surface Transportation in America (INVEST in America) Act, which includes a rail title that invests $60 billion over five years. The larger bill also provides $66 billion in capital authority for mass transit over the same period. Based on our initial review, the INVEST in America Act takes a transformational approach to rail investment, offering a number of innovative solutions to the problems highlighted by Rail Passengers and our members.”


Looking Down the Track: Train Campaign Events

East-West Passenger Rail Study Advisory Committee

Wednesday June 10 from 1.00-2.30pm – check here for details about Zoom link. This meeting is hosted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). For background, check out this compelling presentation made by a group of regional planning associations in response to the MassDOT’s initial list of six alternatives.

Weekly Office Hours

An informal session with Karen Christensen and the Train Campaign summer intern team where you can share ideas, ask questions, and find out how to get involved. It is not recorded and you don’t have to register in advance – just drop in!
Jun 11, 2020 02:00 PM (we’ll focus on the East-West meeting the previous day)
Jun 17, 2020 02:00 PM
Jun 24, 2020 02:00 PM
Jul 1, 2020 02:00 PM
Click here to join us on those days. Meeting ID: 860 5598 5810.

Northwest Connecticut: Towards a Connected Future by Rail

Jun 23, 2020 04:00 PM Eastern Time
Train Campaign founder Karen Christensen will provide an update on work  and activity related to the Housatonic (Berkshire) Line. Register in advance for this Zoom webinar by clicking here.

The Train Campaign at Bascom Lodge

Jun 24, 2020 06:00 PM Eastern Time
Hosted in cooperation with Bascom Lodge on Mount Greylock. Train Campaign founder Karen Christensen will provide an update on all regional rail projects. Register in advance for this Zoom webinar by clicking here.

Film Showing: The Last Train to Pittsfield

We’ll be streaming the documentary The Last Train to Pittsfield on July 8, 2020, 6-7pm. Along with the 35-minute original, we’ll have some clips from recent interviews with Engineer Pete (above), who drove the train on that last run in 1971.

Would your organization or group like to host an online Train Campaign presentation for members? We can provide background, explain current issues, discuss future opportunities, and answer questions. We have lots of data, photos, and even film clips to share. Contact us for details.