Passengers riding on Amtrak Texas Eagle trains between Chicago and San Antonio now can begin their trips by downloading a podcast that provides an interpretive tour of the route’s history, stops and highlights. Amtrak, the National Park Service and the Texas A&M University Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences worked together on the podcast project. It is available for download at no charge from AmtrakRailGuide.com.
Covering 27 station stops on the 1,300-mile Texas Eagle route, the podcast includes 103 points of interest on history, attractions and natural features.
Each item runs for up to three minutes and topics range from the farmlands of Illinois to the history of St. Louis in Missouri to the Chisholm Trail of Central Texas. Interested passengers should download the podcast prior to boarding the train. For Amtrak passengers continuing on beyond San Antonio and towards Los Angeles, the Sunset Limited podcast can also be downloaded. It also highlights places of interest.
“We are excited to be providing our passengers with another tool to enhance their travel experience,” said Harris M. Cohen, Project Manager of Customer Solutions for Amtrak.
“With this second addition to what will become a library of podcasts, passengers can now experience a self-guided tour of two of America’s most historic railroad journeys, the Texas Eagle and Sunset Limited.”
The Texas Eagle podcast is the result of a desire to enhance the Trails & Rails program – an innovative partnership between Amtrak and the National Park Service through which National Park Service Rangers and volunteers board trains and give interactive presentations on the history, cultural background and current attractions of the regions seen from the train.
“The National Park Service Trails and Rails Program is pleased to be a partner on the production of the podcasts,” said David Vela, Regional Director, National Park Service, Southeast Region. “The podcast will provide travelers with a valuable tool that will help enhance their understanding and experiences as they travel through some of our nation’s special places.”
“We deeply value our unique partnership with the National Park Service Trails and Rails Program and Amtrak,” said Gary D. Ellis, PhD, head of the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences of Texas A&M University and AgriLife Extension Service. “Through our partnership, Aggies gain unparalleled learning experiences in real-world learning about heritage interpretation.”
The podcast points of interest were researched and written by National Park Service staff as well as students and faculty of the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, at the direction of Amtrak. The team from Texas A&M included 60 undergraduate and three graduate students, all studying the use of natural resources for recreation and tourism.
The Texas Eagle podcast is an MP3 file and is also available by RSS feed or through iTunes®. In addition, a downloadable printed version is available for the hearing impaired, educators or any others who prefer a printed copy by contacting Texas A&M.