FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 1998
The inaugural trip of Amtrak's new Texas Eagle-California Service will operate through Arkansas on Saturday, February 7, 1998. This new schedule will increase the frequency of Arkansas' passenger train service to four days each week, and will make history by being the first Chicago-Los Angeles through passenger train ever to operate via this route. Current stops in Arkansas include Walnut Ridge, Little Rock, Malvern (Hot Springs National Park), Arkadelphia and Texarkana; efforts are underway to secure an additional stop at Hope in the near future.
Expanded service along this route was aided by Amtrak's decision to add carloads of express to supplement the Eagle's ticket revenue. This passenger and express combination was widely used in the pre-Amtrak era when passenger trains were operated by individual railroads such as Union Pacific. For shippers of time sensitive commodities such as food products or printed material, Amtrak express service offers a cost savings over highway truck tariffs, and a substantial time savings of two to four weeks over the transit times of traditional freight train service. Amtrak's passenger and express service can make a significant contribution in reducing road congestion, in providing an environmentally friendly mode of transportation, and in building this region's valuable tourism industry.
State and city officials and other dignitaries from along the route have been invited to ride this inaugural run to celebrate the expansion of Texas Eagle service. Due to the widespread interest, the inaugural train will carry 16 cars, making it one of the longest Amtrak passenger trains to operate through Arkansas in recent memory. A special effort has been made to include the new Superliner II sleeping cars named "Arkansas" and "Texas," in appreciation of efforts by these two states to maintain and expand Amtrak service. The new train also commemorates fifty years of Texas Eagle heritage, 1948-1998, in recognition of the original streamliner which was operated by Missouri Pacific Railroad and the Texas & Pacific Railway.
A variety of Arkansas food products will be among the regional items featured in the lounge cars and the dining car of the inaugural train, including wine from Wiederkehr vineyards of Altus, cheese dip from Stoby Food Products of Conway, and cookies from President Baking Company of North Little Rock.
The public is invited to attend local celebrations while the train stops briefly at Little Rock (8:15am), Malvern (9:18am), Arkadelphia (9:40am) and Texarkana (11:07am). At Little Rock and Texarkana, it is suggested that participants arrive at the station a few minutes early to watch the train break through a banner welcoming the new service. Similar celebrations will take place in Texas during stops at Marshall, Longview, Mineola and Dallas. A news conference will be held at the Fort Worth Amtrak station following the train's arrival (approximately 5:45 p.m.), featuring remarks by Texas Eagle route mayors, other members of the Texas Eagle Coalition and Amtrak-Intercity President Lee W. Bullock.
Prepared for Arkansas Rail by Bill
Pollard. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted: Sunday 1 February 1998.
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