Alpine Texas wants and needs its trains. Train service is important to Alpine. The town of 6,000 is located in far Southwest Texas on the way to Big Bend National Park. There are no commercial airports within 100 miles of Alpine and sketchy bus service. The link to the outside world from Brewster and surrounding counties is the arrival of Amtrak's Sunset Limited, a lifeline to many that live in the region.
This past weekend Alpine residents participated in #Rally4Trains, created by the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) to show support for the national passenger rail network facing abandonment. The Alpine Save Amtrak Team held rallies last Friday and Saturday to protest the Administration's proposed cuts to Amtrak services that would affect 220 cities and towns across the nation.
Rally organizer Gwynne Jamieson told the Marfa Big Bend Sentinel that it is important that Alpine remains connected to the state and national network.
“I believe we need continued Amtrak service in Alpine, a historic railroad town,” Jamieson, who is also running a letter writing campaign to reach out to congressmen and senators, said. “Rural areas need connectivity too.”
“Passengers travel to and from the Alpine area for many reasons: to visit friends and family, for medical or business reasons, and to have scenic safe travel. Many elderly folks do not drive and many SRSU students don’t have cars; Amtrak is the most convenient way to go,” Jamieson added.
Across the country, 140 million people would no longer have access to passenger rail service, according to Sean Jeans-Gail, vice president of NARP.
“If you look at these towns it’s not like you just go to the local international airport. It’s Amtrak or nothing,” Jeans-Gail said. “Two-thirds of the travel that happens on Amtrak’s network happens outside of the Northeast Corridor. Most of this happens on the state-supported routes, but they happen because they have stations in each state. You need the interconnectivity for it to work.”