HOLLAND, Mich. – Michigan communities along the Grand Rapids – Chicago route of the state-supported Amtrak Pere Marquette train will celebrate the 25th anniversary of passenger rail service on Aug. 5 and Amtrak is offering a special anniversary fare promotion this week to recognize the Silver Anniversary of the service.
To commemorate the milestone, Amtrak is promoting the event with the special use of Superliner train equipment, including a double-decker lounge car and coaches. Every westbound passenger on Aug. 5 will receive a gift bag containing West Michigan products.
In addition, ceremonies organized with the Michigan Department of Transportation and Westrain will be held immediately prior to the westbound train’s departure from Grand Rapids, Holland, Bangor, and St. Joseph (schedule below).
Ridership on the Pere Marquette service has grown every year since 2001, transporting 111,716 passengers last year. From 2002 to 2008, Amtrak ridership on all three trains servicing Michigan — Pere Marquette, Wolverine and Blue Water — grew by a combined 60 percent.
Also, Amtrak is offering a fare sale of 25 percent off the regular (full) adult rail price for travel through Aug. 7. Tickets must be purchased by Aug. 6 from Amtrak.com, a Quik-Trak(SM) Self-Serve Ticketing Kiosk (including the Grand Rapids, Holland, St. Joseph and Chicago stops), by calling 800-USA-RAIL, visiting a staffed Amtrak ticket office or select travel agents. Up to two children ages 2-15 may accompany each adult at half the regular (full) adult rail fare.
About the Pere Marquette
The inauguration of the partnership between Amtrak and the State of Michigan for Pere Marquette was held on Aug. 5, 1984, naming the service for a defunct railroad that had taken its own moniker from Father Jacques Marquette, a French missionary who founded Michigan’s first European settlement in 1671.
The Pere Marquette connects cities, landscapes and waterways punctuated by modern skylines at each end and skirting the shores of Lake Michigan with stops at St. Joseph/Benton Harbor and Bangor (South Haven).
The only one of the Great Lakes entirely within U.S. borders, Lake Michigan beaches are known for their soft, off-white, high quartz-content sand, sometimes called “singing sand” for the unique noise it makes when beach-goers walk along it. From the beach grass, sand cherries and Petoskey stones deposited 350 million years ago on the borders of this, the fifth largest lake in the world, to the banks of the Grand River, the trip is both beautiful and memorable — “one of the nation’s loveliest short-distance trains,” according to Passenger Train Journal magazine.
For more travel information, visit the state-supported websites mitrain.com and michigan.org.