Press Coverage

July 23, 2023
Ontario (OR) Argus Observer: Train trek pulls into Weiser

July 22, 2023
Dakota Free Press: Idaho Wants Amtrak

July 21, 2023
City of Boise E-Newsletter: “This week was rail week in Boise! We welcomed the Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Summit to the City of Trees where we had the privilege of hearing from Stephen Gardner, CEO of Amtrak, as the keynote speaker. Amtrak, in collaboration with local and state governments across the nation and supported by the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, is actively working to revitalize passenger rail travel in the United States.”

July 21, 2023
Elkhorn Media Group: Advocates to Hold Meeting in Baker City to Discuss Restoring Amtrak Passenger Train Service in Eastern Oregon

July 20, 2023
CBS2 Idano News: Amtrak comes to Boise to talk future of passenger rail in Idaho

July 20, 2023
Idaho 6 News: Treasure Valley leaders discuss Northwest passenger train system that would connect us to cities near and far

July 20, 2023
Idaho 6 News: The Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Summit sparks talks about passenger rail service in Boise

July 20, 2023
KTVB-TV/MSN: Treasure Valley leaders pushing for passenger train service, Amtrak CEO in Boise

July 20, 2023
KBOI Boise/MSN: Amtrak comes to Boise to talk future of passenger rail in Idaho

July 20, 2023
Boise State Public Radio: Discussion on bringing passenger train service back to Boise hitting high gear

July 20, 2023 Celebrating an outstanding Greater Northwest Passenger Rail Summit

July 19, 2023
Bend Bulletin: All Aboard NW to host stakeholder meeting toward restoring Amtrak passenger train

July 19, 2023
Baker City Herald: All Aboard NW to host stakeholder meeting toward restoring Amtrak passenger train

July 19, 2023
Weiser Signal American: Could passenger rail service return to Weiser?

July 16, 2023
Ontario (OR) Argus Observer: Advocates meet to discuss restoring passenger rail service in eastern Oregon and Idaho

July 14, 2023
Go Eastern Oregon: Returning Passenger Trains to a Station Near You: Why and How

July 13, 2023
Columbia Gorge News: Returning Passenger Trains to a Station Near You: Why and How

July 13, 2023
KTGA Bigfoot 99 Radio: Discover Carbon County Sponsors Passenger Train Meeting
“Tonight, Discover Carbon County, formerly known as the Carbon County Visitor’s Council, and the AANW are hosting a meeting in Rawlins titled Returning Passenger Trains to a Station Near You: Why and How.…Hamilton said the meeting in Rawlins will address the lack of passenger train travel available in Wyoming.”

July 13, 2023, KTGA Bigfoot 99 Radio

“Tonight, Discover Carbon County, formerly known as the Carbon County Visitor’s Council, and the AANW are hosting a meeting in Rawlins titled Returning Passenger Trains to a Station Near You: Why and How.…Hamilton said the meeting in Rawlins will address the lack of passenger train travel available in Wyoming.”

July 4, 2023, Tri-City Herald

Wouldn’t it be great if Tri-Citians could take a train directly to Seattle and back?
"All Aboard Washington (AAWA)… has proposed restoring passenger rail between Pasco and Seattle through Yakima and Ellensburg. A study, “Feasibility of an East-West Intercity Passenger Rail System for Washington State,” showed that passenger rail service between Seattle, Auburn, Cle Elum, Ellensburg, Yakima, Toppenish, Pasco, and Spokane is technically and financially viable.… Shouldn’t some of that money be used to restore passenger rail service from Pasco to Seattle through the Valley? Our Badger Club forum speakers will be Charles Hamilton, [co-executive director] of All Aboard Washington, and Jason Biggs, program manager of Capital and Operations for the Washington Department of Transportation’s Rail, Freight, and Ports Division.

June 20, 2023, Seattle Times

Amtrak’s Seattle maintenance-base plans would take over a Sodo street
“The passenger-advocacy group All Aboard Washington supports a Holgate closure, because less accident risk means more reliable service when trains arrive from Portland. “You’re only a few minutes from King Street Station. You feel like you’re almost there. They get on the PA and say, ‘We’re stopping.’ There’s traffic, or a truck that has blocked the intersection. That happens,” said Charlie Hamilton, co-executive director.”

March 15, 2023, Real Change News

“Washington state could be squandering a unique opportunity to invest in expanded passenger #rail service with federal funds that were authorized in the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure act, transportation advocates say.”

'AAWA Co-executive Director Charles Hamilton said that the lack of public transit options is a big equity issue for the large portion of Washingtonians who don’t drive.

“Something like 30 percent of the population or more does not drive,” Hamilton said. “Either they’re too young, they’re too old, they’re too poor, they’re disabled like myself or they’re in communities that just don’t have transportation options — or they choose not to drive because they’re worried about the future of the planet.”'

August 21, 2022, KSL News

Do Utah and the West need more passenger trains? These groups make the argument

'Hamilton argues that passenger rail makes sense because close to one-third of the U.S. population doesn't drive, either because they are too young or too old, they may have disabilities that prevent them from driving, or they choose not to travel for financial or environmental reasons. At the same time, medical reasons may prevent people from flying if they are in need of going somewhere beyond local public transportation.

'"This population is growing. We know that we'll always need cars but there definitely need to be alternatives," he said.'

August 19, 2022, Sweetwater Now

RS City Council Hears Pitch on Return of Passenger Train Service

'Charlie Hamilton, All Aboard Northwest Vice President, said 30 percent of all Americans do not drive for various reasons such as being too young, being too old, being classified as low income, having a disability, living in areas where weather limits mobility, or having environmental concerns.

'All Aboard Northwest’s vision for transportation is to provide seamless, door-to-door connectivity to everyone within the region. They would like to see a transportation system where people can still get to work, school, the hospital, or to see family and friends even if they don’t have a car

'Hamilton said passenger trains can provide benefits to the community’s economy, environment and equity.

'“You’re probably aware that if somebody comes to visit your town, they’re going to bring money with them,” he said.

'Hamilton used Virginia as an example of how the service can save taxpayer dollars. Virginia saw the need for another lane on an extremely congested highway between Washington D.C. and Richmond.

'To add one more lane in a 52-mile stretch would have cost $12.5 billion. They then looked at what it would cost to build a statewide freight and passenger train network and determined they could do that for $3.5 billion, which is 1/3 of a cost.

'Hamilton said the Empire Builder line runs from Chicago, Illinois, to Portland, Oregon, and up to Seattle, Washington. It just doesn’t serve those endpoints, but all 46 communities in between.

'The following graph shows what they would like to see the full regional greater Northwest rail system would look like. The yellow lines show the existing Amtrak routes, such as the Empire Builder. The blue lines are the new connections for the rail service.

'“When we say new connections, we’re not talking about building new tracks,” Hamilton said. “These blue lines are all existing tracks. They might require some upgrades, They might require some safety improvements, but they are all there.”

'“So while there are lots of others that you could build, we are focusing on the tracks that are already in existence,” he said.

'Hamilton said while they know rail lines are currently owned Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe and others, he believes All Aboard can create a situation where it will benefit those railroad companies.

'States like California have provided funding to UP to allow for passenger train slots. UP is happy because they are getting funding and the state’s happy because they can provide transportation. The key is to come up with a way to have a win for everyone, Hamilton said.

'Hamilton also said that 2022 is a good time to pursue this kind of project. There’s $66 billion of federal funding available to rail for the first time. The graph below shows rail lines currently being studied as possible passenger rail routes. In the past, the green route was used as a passenger rail route.

'In order for communities to be successful, everyone needs to be on board including the chamber of commerce, economic development groups, and others, he said.

He suggested cities that are interested start hosting meeting to find out who favors passenger and freight train lines and how it will benefit the community. They also encouraged interested cities to start working on convincing decision makers on local, state, and national levels to support these projects.

In October of 2021, the Rock Springs City Council approved a resolution supporting the restoration of Amtrak’s Passenger Pioneer Route. Hamilton said this is the route they are looking at closely. Now is the time to act because the funding is available, he said.

“We really do have a unique opportunity,” Hamilton said.'

August 17, 2022, Wyoming News

Transforming a community: Guest speakers share benefits of passenger rail service

August 14, 2022, La Grande Observer

All Aboard Northwest stops in La Grande to advocate for passenger rail

May 6, 2022, Wyoming Public Media

A non-profit organization is advocating for the return of passenger rail service in rural regions
"All Aboard Northwest is…advocating for expanding passenger rail service to underserved or unserved communities in the Pacific Northwest, the Mountain West, and the Midwest. Formally launched earlier this year, it’s involved in lobbying efforts, community engagement and education…on how passenger access would affect communities."

January 18, 2022, Fast Company

Charles Hamilton on why the Pioneer and North Coast Hiawatha lines should be revived

November 18, 2021, KIRO TV

Charlie Hamilton expresses confidence in the new bypass route on KIRO TV

November 18, 2021, Crosscut

"Rail advocates argue new lines will grow the economy, shrink mobility inequalities and help decarbonize the region"

November 11, 2021, Spokane Spokesman-Review

Charles Hamilton weighs in on "What the infrastructure bill might do for rail transportation in Washington and Idaho"

May 26, 2021, Spokane Spokesman-Review

Amtrak loses money on long-distance routes like the Empire Builder, but passengers say they offer a service worth investing in (PDF)
'Investing in more frequent trips on shorter routes could also make train travel more popular as it becomes more convenient, said Charlie Hamilton, co-executive director of the rail travel advocacy group All Aboard Washington.
'“One train a day is fine as a starting point, but it needs to be multiple (trains) in order to be successful,” he said. “If you look at California, the fact that they have been so successful is very much related to the fact that they run very frequently.”'
Orion Donovan-Smith's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license.

Charles Hamilton, Seattle