Welcome NARP’s intern to Texas June 10-13 on her 10,000-mile rail/bike journey

Elena Studier. Photo courtesy Texas Rail Advocates.

Elena Studier. Photo courtesy Texas Rail Advocates.

by Peter LeCody

The following article by Peter LeCody of Texas Rail Advocates and the National Association of Rail Passengers (NARP) is posted here at Peter’s request.

It’s not unusual that a 20-year-old college student would want to see the country over her summer break. What is out of the norm is that this young lady is doing it by rail. 10,000 miles. With her bike. The ideal summer road, make that rail, trip.

National Association of Railroad Passengers Intern Elena Studier is more than halfway through her 38-day jaunt around the country with her bike named “Stevie” and will be coming through Texas starting Friday, June 10. She’s showing how it’s easy to find her way around the country utilizing Amtrak, local and urban rail and bus systems, and most of all, enjoying bike rides and meeting people all along the way. Her website is www.summerbyrail.com and she’s also on twitter @railpassengers.

BikeTexas will host Elena on her stops in San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth and Dallas with bike rides.

Here’s where you can see Elena and give her a big Texas welcome and, if you have a bike, come join in a ride.

San Antonio — It starts at the Alamo in San Antonio at 8am Friday, June 10. A 12-mile easy-pace bicycle ride on the Mission Trail (leave from the Alamo and ride to Mission Espada)

Austin — Friday afternoon, June 10. Local VIPs and media welcome Elena at the Amtrak station and lead a 10-mile easy-pace bicycle ride (loop) including the Butler Trail around Town Lake. Following bike ride, Elena and group on bicycles take the Capital Metro Red Line (TBD) from Plaza Saltillo to Black Star Co-op Pub and Brewery

Fort Worth — Saturday, June 11. Elena arrives at the Fort Worth Intermodal Transportation Center aboard the Northbound Amtrak Texas Eagle trains #22 and takes a tour of the station. Local VIPs and media welcome Elena and lead a less-than-10-mile easy-pace loop bicycle ride. Before the 5:25 PM departure of the northbound Heartland Flyer to Oklahoma City Elena will inspect the new bike carrier car on the train.

Dallas — Sunday, June 12. Elena starts the day at 9:00 am at Dallas Union Station with a BikeTexas ride on the Katy Trail that takes her to Mockingbird Station. There she will take the DART Rail Blue line to the White Rock Station for a leisurely bike ride around White Rock Lake, capping off the day’s activities. Monday, before departing on Amtrak for San Antonio, she will meet with executives of Texas Central Railway, the private company building a highspeed rail line between Dallas and Houston, to learn how they will accommodate bikes on their trains. ■

The following media release from NARP provides additional background on Elena’s around-the-country rail and bike journey …

NARP Sends Intern on the Ultimate Summer “Road Trip”

#SummerByRail to Stop at 20 Cities in 38 Days, Covering 10k Miles by Rail and Bike

Washington, D.C. — With school and finals behind her, college sophomore Elena Studier this summer is taking her bike on an epic 38-day multi-modal “road trip” across the country by rail, visiting more than 18 cities and 15 states. Studier, 20, spent her school year interning with NARP and sketching out her big adventure. She kicks off her trip in New York City and will make stops in 20 locations—including Glacier National Park in Montana–before concluding more than 10,000 miles later in Washington, D.C. on June 20, 2016.

Ms. Studier will chronicle her trip on her blog, “Summer by Rail,” to highlight the 21st Century’s public transportation services in America, and capture how people live and move in different regions of the U.S.

“‘Summer by Rail’ is my effort to share with people the ever-changing lifestyles that we have in this country, and show the relationship people have with transportation services like rail, subways, buses, and bikes,” said Ms. Studier, who originally proposed the idea as her summer internship for NARP. “Millions of people in the U.S. think that public transportation is only for major metropolitan areas, but these services can connect people from coast to coast, to the sights and attractions of cities, and to national parks like the Grand Canyon.”

During the trip, Studier’s main modes of transportation will be passenger rail with Amtrak, and her bicycle, which she has dubbed “Stevie.” As Elena and Stevie travel from city to city, she will use other forms of public transportation to highlight the rich assortment of modes available to travelers including buses, ferries, trollies, ride-sharing, and more.

“Elena’s trip is a new and major project for NARP, as we want to highlight that people – friends and families – can travel across the country by passenger rail, and other services easily, seamlessly and comfortably,” said Jim Mathews, President and CEO of NARP. “People often talk about commuting by rail in Europe or Asia, and think they can’t do it in the U.S., but that’s not true. Elena’s trip will connect her to some of the biggest cities and attractions in the country.”

Studier’s “Summer by Rail” project will begin on May 15th, with the first leg of her route taking her to Chicago, IL. Studier will visit 20 cities and multiple attractions on her trip including Seattle, WA; Portland, OR; St. Paul, MN; Denver, CO; Los Angeles, CA; Grand Canyon, AZ; New Orleans, LA and many more. Studier’s last leg will see her travel from Raleigh, NC to Washington, D.C on June 20th.

People can follow Studier’s “Summer by Rail” trip at www.SummerbyRail.com, where she will blog about her experience. Studier will also be running several social media accounts so people can follow her day-to-day activities. Social media channels and hashtags include:

• Instagram and Twitter: @RailPassengers
○ #SummerByRail
○ #ElenaAndStevie
○ #BikesonBoard
• Facebook.com/narprail
• YouTube.com/narprail

About the National Association of Railroad Passengers

NARP is the only national organization speaking for the nearly 40 million users of passenger trains and rail transit. We have worked since 1967 to expand the quality and quantity of passenger rail in the U.S. Our mission is to work towards a modern, customer-focused national passenger train network that provides a travel choice Americans want. Our work is supported by more than 28,000 individual members nationwide.

Rail Users Network (RUN) 2015 annual conference in Los Angeles, March 27th

Los Angeles Metro Red Line (rail rapid transit). Photo: Eric Haas

Los Angeles Metro Red Line (rail rapid transit). Photo: Eric Haas

Rail Users’ Network (RUN), a group “representing rail passengers’ interests in North America”, will hold its 2015 national conference on Friday, March 27th, in Los Angeles. Billed as a “Making the Transition from Roads to Rail Conference” … “in what was once considered the car capital of the world”, the meeting will be held from 8:00am to 5:00pm at the Southern California Association of Government (SCAG) Offices, 818 West 7th Street, 12th Floor.

With a focus on examining “how Los Angeles is making the transition from roads to rail:, the conference will feature opening remarks from RUN chairman Richard Rudolph and Hassan Ikhrata, SCAG executive director. Other featured speakers include:

• Denny Zane, Executive Director of MoveLa — will describe his organization’s efforts “to build a powerful business-labor-environmental coalition” that worked to put Measure R (a half-cent transportation sales tax) on the ballot in 2008 and helped to win voter support.

• Arthur Leahy, LA Metro CEO

• Mark Murphy, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Amtrak Long Distance Services

• Christopher Coes, Director of LOCUS and a staff member of Smart Growth America — will give keynote address

The conference will include several panel discussions.

“Big Rail, Little Rail” (morning session) — “will highlight rail expansion and the emerging regional and inter-regional rail network.” Moderators: Dana Gabbard, RUN Board Member and Executive Secretary, Southern California Transit Advocates. Panelists include Eliza Echevarria, Community Relations Manager, Riverside County Transportation Commission; Raffi Hamparian, Director, Federal Affairs, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority ; Michelle Boehm from the California High Speed Rail Authority; and Jessica Wethington McLean, Executive Director of Bringing Back Broadway.

How Transit Oriented Development has impacted the local economy (afternoon). Moderator: RUN chair Richard Rudolph, Ph.D. Panelists include Diego Cardoso, Executive Officer, Countywide Planning and Development, LA Metro; Roger Moliere, former Executive Officer for Real Property at LA Metro now currently serving as Senior Adviser at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP; Dan Rosenfeld, a private real estate investor who alternates between private and public-sector service, and Huasha Liu, Director, Land Use and Environmental Planning, SCAG.

“Best Practices for More Effective Advocacy” (third panel). Moderator: Andrew Albert, RUN’s vice chair and chair of the NYC Transit Riders Council. Panelists include Lynda Bybee, former Deputy Executive Officer, Community Outreach, LA Metro, past President of the Women’s Transportation Seminar; Jaime de la Vega, former Deputy Mayor for Transportation under Mayor Villaraigosa, former General Manager, Los Angeles Dept. of Transportation and former Board Member, Metrolink, and Darrell Clarke, who helped get the Expo Line started, and extended as far as Santa Monica.

“Multi-State Effort to Save the Southwest Chief: A Case Study in Advocacy” (final panel). Moderator: David Peter Alan, Esq., RUN board member and president of the Lackawanna Coalition. Panelists include Jim Souby, President, Colorado Rail Passenger Association, and J.W. Madison, President, Rails Inc., and RUN board member.

Conference participants will also have an opportunity to take an optional inspection tour of LA-area public transportation on Saturday, March 28th. This will include a “behind-the-scenes” tour of Union Station and Metro’s Rail operations center, as well as riding subway, “commuter”, and light rail transit lines in Southern California.

The conference registration fee is currently $85, or $90 “at the door”; this will include “a continental breakfast, lunch, afternoon refreshment break, the pre-conference reception, the optional inspection tour on Saturday (excluding rail/transit fares) and all conference materials/handouts.” For more information, visit RUN’s website: