NEW YORK — Actor and avid train fan Taye Diggs will join Amtrak to kick-off the third annual National Train Day.
Diggs will start the weekend’s festivities with a ceremony at New York’s Penn Station on Friday, May 7, where he will flip the switch that launches an edible “trainscape” made from elaborate confections and moving model trains. Afterward, Diggs will board Amtrak and travel to Washington, D.C. to host one of National Train Day’s signature celebrations at Union Station and enjoy the festivities with other train fans on Saturday, May 8.
“Riding the train was my first real exposure to serious travel and the magical notions attached to train travel will stay with me forever,” said Taye Diggs, National Train Day spokesperson. “My wife [Broadway Actress Idina Menzel] and I have lived all of our adult lives in New York City so we have come to know riding the train as a relaxing and convenient travel option.”
National Train Day commemorates the 141st anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad’s inception by bringing to life the rich narrative of how trains transformed America.
The Penn Station event will begin at noon with the reveal of a three-dimensional “trainscape” made of cake and other edible treats. The display will be inspired by this year’s new National Train Day artwork and will include a model train installation by Bachmann Trains, a leading model train company.
“National Train Day celebrates the train’s impact on our country and provides an opportunity for Americans to further understand the influence rail has on the future of transportation in America,” said Emmett H. Fremaux, Amtrak vice president, marketing and product development.
On May 8, Amtrak will host free events, from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., in four of its gateway stations across the U.S.: Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles, all designed to help people “discover the rail way.” These large scale events will feature live entertainment, interactive and educational exhibits, kids’ entertainment, model train displays and tours of notable private railroad cars, Amtrak equipment, freight and commuter trains.
In addition, local communities across the country are encouraged to develop and host their own National Train Day celebrations. More than 140 local celebrations took place in 2009 and Amtrak expects even more in 2010.