In our 21st Century of instant communication, the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) offers travellers detailed ways online to track your passenger train. NARP is the largest advocacy organization for train and rail transit passengers in the US, having first launched in 1967. Its current membership (which includes this writer) stands at close to 30,000.
Thru its website, NARP allows travellers to check the progress of a train by region via a drop-down menu on its Train Status link. The numbers of a given train are displayed and hovering over a number gives the most recent station of departure and that train’s current status. NARP also links to Amtrak’s Google-based map for updates on its Amtrak trains.
One fun feature is NARP’s Station Board, which creates the look of the board one might see within a train station itself. A visitor types in the station code (a list is provided) and up pops the board with scheduled train departures and arrivals. To try out an example, go to Station Status and type in CHI (for Chicago).
NARP advocates a vision for train travel in the US that would put 80% of its population within 25 miles of a train station that would be served by fast, frequent and reliable trains. Currently, Amtrak serves over 500 communities in the US, with it being the sole public transportation in some 300 of those stops. Observers have noted that passenger train travel continues to increase in North America, with Amtrak posting ridership records in 10 of its last 11 years.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)