Summer Intern Completes 10,000-Mile, 38-Day Journey By Rail Across The U.S.
Washington, D.C. – For most students, their internship stops at taking notes and making coffee. Elena Studier was able to turn her internship with the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) into a once-in-a-lifetime journey. For 38 days, Elena traveled 10,000 miles on the nation’s rail network, with stops in 20 cities in 15 states. Her “Summer by Rail” internship circumnavigated the entire United States to help highlight how young Americans are demanding mobility options, and choosing to live in communities that cater to people, not cars. Through blogs, videos, and pictures, Elena shared her travel across the networks that connect America’s cities and national landmarks. NARP is calling on American passengers to continue “Summer by Rail” by sharing photos and videos of their travels on social media.
“Our country has a strong rail infrastructure that people can utilize to easily jump on a train and see the nation—for a weekend trip or an extended vacation,” said Elena, who is a student at the George Washington University in D.C. “Through my trip, I wanted to show how it’s possible to visit major cities like New York, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles, as well as national landmarks like the Grand Canyon and Glacier National Park, all by train and bike. And I encourage others, young and old, to try it and see what our country has to offer.”
Elena relied heavily on Amtrak’s National Network to navigate the country, along with her bicycle (nicknamed “Stevie” after her parents’ two favorite singers: Stevie Wonder and Stevie Nicks). As Elena and Stevie traveled from city to city, they met with numerous elected and transportation officials, including Mayor Chris Koos of Normal, IL, and Mayor Knox Ross of Pelahatchie, MS, as well as transit and bike advocacy groups. Supporting groups included Transportation for America, Southern Rail Commission, Adventure Cycling Association, League of American Cyclists, Congressional Bike Caucus, Bike Texas—and many, many more. Each official and group highlighted how their respective city is working toward train, pedestrian, and bike-friendly transportation infrastructure. Elena used a variety of other forms of public transportation to highlight the rich assortment of modes available to travelers, including buses, ferries, trollies, ride-sharing, and more.
“When I first proposed the idea of ‘Summer by Rail’ to NARP, I didn’t know what to expect from all the cities I would be traveling to, but so many people showed me how commuter-friendly our country is,” stated Elena. “This trip wouldn’t have been possible without their guidance and support, and I want to thank everyone for being a part of this journey and showing me parts of the country I’ve never seen.”
Throughout the entirety of the trip, Elena shared her adventure on her blog, “Summer by Rail,” and onInstagram and Twitter, in order to provide followers with an insider’s perspective on touring the U.S., and how people live and move in different regions of the U.S. You can visit SummerbyRail.com to see a “Thank You” page acknowledging the numerous organizations that helped Elena from start to finish of her journey.
“This trip was a major campaign for NARP, one in which we wanted to not only highlight the ease of travel by rail, but also how regular funding for rail infrastructures and services like Amtrak, are critical to providing jobs and supporting the country’s economic vitality,” said Jim Mathews, President and CEO of NARP, a rail advocacy group for passenger rail in the U.S. “And we want to continue to highlight the need for support, which is why NARP is inviting travelers this summer to take the train, and share their stories with us through social media using the hashtag, #SummerbyRail.”
This invitation to the American public will continue Elena’s journey, while offering new and exciting adventures from people throughout the country. NARP welcomes stories, videos and images through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that use #SummerByRail. For the best submissions, NARP will share the new “Summer by Rail” journeys on the Summer by Rail blog.
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.