ST. LOUIS – A celebration of 30 years of state-supported passenger rail across Missouri, as well as major service improvements in the works, are the reasons the Missouri Department of Transportation and Amtrak are pleased to announce a contest to give the trains a brand-new name. The “Name the Train” contest will rely on train fans everywhere to first suggest and then select the best “brand-name” for the service between St. Louis and Kansas City.There will be three phases to the contest. First, submit your favorite name between Nov. 10 and Dec. 10. Contest entries may be submitted online at www.morail.org; mailed to MoDOT, Name the Train Contest, P.O. Box 270, Jefferson City, MO 65102; or hand-delivered to any MoDOT district office (locations at modot.org). Contest rules are posted at the morail.org website.
Contest judges will select five names as finalists. Between, Dec. 16, 2008 and Jan. 16, 2009, voting will be conducted online or by a post card indicating your favorite finalist name. The new name will be announced by January 30, 2009.
The contest is open to anyone, but you must be a Missouri resident to win a prize. Five finalists will receive two round-trip coach tickets to any Amtrak destination in Missouri and a gift basket from one of five participating cities located on passenger rail line. The grand-prize winner will receive two round-trip sleeping car tickets to any Amtrak destination in the U.S.
Since 1979, Amtrak has provided state-supported passenger rail service between St. Louis and Kansas City. Amtrak runs two round trips daily. The trains carry tens of thousands of passengers a year with stops in St. Louis, Kirkwood, Washington, Hermann, Jefferson City, Sedalia, Warrensburg, Lee’s Summit, Independence and Kansas City.
“With major track improvements to improve on-time service planned next spring, 2009 will be exciting for rail service in our state. It will be great to start it off with a new identity for our trains,” said MoDOT Railroads Administrator Rod Massman. “We’re looking for something that reminds folks of Missouri’s great tradition of rail service, as well as the excitement and adventure of train travel. I’m looking forward to seeing what people come up with.”
Missouri’s cross-state passenger trains already have names, but they’re little used and unknown to most people. One round-trip is called Missouri Service, formerly named the Ann Rutledge — a leftover from that train’s Illinois origins. The other round-trip is called the Mules. Renaming the trains will create a single brand for the service, a practice that is common on other Amtrak corridors.
“This is a great time for Amtrak service in Missouri, with a new station opening in St. Louis, renovations at Sedalia and other upcoming rail improvements that will improve the quality of the service we provide,” said Anne McGinnis, Amtrak Marketing, St. Louis. “The ‘Name the Train’ contest is a way for the citizens of the state of Missouri to participate in shaping our future.”