Members of the National Association of Railroad Passengers will congregate in Chicago from the 2nd to the 5th of November for RAILNATION CHICAGO. It’s our annual Fall meeting, but this year it’s more than that. It’s also a celebration commemorating the 50th anniversary of the founding of NARP in the city where it all began.
NARP has come a long way since those early days. We have an office in Washington, DC, with a paid professional staff. There are now, in fact, more than 20,000 dues-paying members spread over all 50 states. (And, yes, that includes 27 NARP members here in the State of Hawaii, 2500 miles from the nearest Amtrak station.)
In the dozen or so years I’ve been actively involved with NARP, especially during my time as a member of the board of directors, literally thousands of hours have been spent by NARP staff, by directors, and by rank-and-file members supporting and defending Amtrak on almost a daily basis. Criticizing, too, when that’s been warranted.
The most recent example of NARP going to bat for Amtrak was the marshaling of our membership to contact their representatives in Congress and oppose proposed legislation that would have done away with Amtrak’s national network. Our members responded and the proposal failed.
And yet, just the other day I learned that our Washington staff is still waiting for either Wick Moorman or Richard Anderson, co-presidents of Amtrak, to respond to our invitation to be a keynote speaker at NARP’s November celebration in Chicago.
In other words, after NARP has given 40 years of support and encouragement to Amtrak, neither of those guys can find the time to speak to several hundred of our members at our 50th birthday party? Really?