Amtrak Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Auto Train Service
Anniversary Events Planned in Lorton and Sanford
WASHINGTON - For the past 25 years, Amtrak has carried passengers and their automobiles between two of the country’s most popular tourist destinations — Washington, DC and Orlando, Fla. via the Auto Train, and this weekend Amtrak will recognize this milestone with events scheduled at the train’s stations in Lorton, Va. and Sanford, Fla.
As one of Amtrak’s most popular routes, the Auto Train is a unique service that allows passengers to travel with their personal vehicles including cars, vans, SUVs, motorcycles, small boats or jet-skis and is the only such service in the U.S. It eliminates nearly 900 miles of driving for travelers between the Northeast and all points in Florida. As the longest passenger train in the world, the Auto Train travels with two locomotives and 40-plus passenger rail cars and vehicle carriers.
Each afternoon one Auto Train departs each from Lorton, Va. (near Washington, DC) and Sanford, Fla. (near Orlando) with up to 600 passengers and a crew of 31. After serving a complimentary dinner — all meals are covered in the price of the trip — passengers may watch a movie or relax in the Lounge Car. While passengers travel in wide, comfortable seats, their vehicles make the 855-mile journey in enclosed vehicle carriers. Sleeping accommodations — roomettes and bedrooms — are also available.
Auto Train 25th Anniversary Celebrations
Amtrak is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Auto Train with a special 25% discount for passengers. This special offer is good for coach travel on the Auto Train in February and is available for sale on just one day — October 25th.
To take advantage of this special discount, log onto Amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL on October 25th. The discount is available on regular (full) adult coach fare for mid-week travel (Tuesday or Wednesday) between February 3 and February 25, 2009. Reservations must be made on October 25th using discount code H784. Seating is limited and the offer may not be combined with any other discount. Other restrictions may apply.
Amtrak’s Auto Train 25th Anniversary Celebrations are by invitation only. Media are welcome to attend. Please join us:
Amtrak’s Auto Train Stations in Lorton, Va., and Sanford, Fla.
October 25, 2008; noon to 2pm
Tours of Auto Train equipment
Presentations by Amtrak leadership
Unveiling of new Auto Train artwork by acclaimed artist Michael Schwab
If media plan to attend, please contact Amtrak Media Relations at 202-906-3860 to RSVP.
The popularity of the Auto Train has grown in recent years, and during the most recent fiscal year, the service saw growth mirroring that of the Amtrak system nationwide. For fiscal year 2008 (October 1, 2007 - September 30, 2008), total ridership on the Auto Train was 234,839, an increase of 7.8 percent over the previous year. Amtrak ridership nationwide for fiscal year 2008 grew to 28,716,407, an increase of 11.1 percent over the previous year.
New Station in Sanford
With ridership growth expected to continue, plans for 2009 include the construction of a new Auto Train station in Sanford. This new facility will improve the service Amtrak provides Auto Train passengers from the moment they arrive at the station until the moment they board the train. Using best practices developed during the construction of the new Lorton station in 2000, the planned facility in Sanford will include a new traffic flow into the station where passengers will drop off their vehicles under a large canopy. Once they have checked their vehicles, they will proceed to a much larger station, which will house the ticket counter, gift shop, café, restrooms and a waiting area that will seat 600. Amtrak plans to break ground on the new station in early 2009 with completion scheduled for next fall.
In addition to providing relief from driving between the Northeast and Florida, the Auto Train also provides passengers with an environmentally-friendly way to travel. By taking approximately 100,000 cars off the highway each year, the Auto Train prevents an estimated 19,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
Traveling by rail contributes less per passenger mile to greenhouse gas emissions than either cars or airplanes. According to U.S. Department of Energy data, Amtrak is 17 percent more efficient than domestic airline travel and 21 percent more efficient than auto travel on a per-passenger-mile basis. When combined with all modes of transportation, passenger railroads emit only 0.2 percent of the travel industry’s total greenhouse gases.
In addition, Amtrak is a charter member of the growing Chicago Climate Exchange, the world’s first legally-binding integrated greenhouse gas reduction and trading system. Amtrak has agreed to cutting diesel emissions by 6 percent by 2010. This represents the largest percentage of reduction committed to in the United States on a voluntary basis. By choosing to travel by rail, Amtrak passengers are already a step ahead because the carbon footprint generated by their trip is smaller than that of most other modes of transportation.
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