To the editor:
Last April a group of local citizens formed Depot Redux to ensure a more certain future for local passenger trains and our depot. Alex Parker’s article “Depot Getting Back on Track” (Journal-World, Jan. 5) describes well our efforts to clean up and improve the safety and service at our passenger rail station in east Lawrence.
Amtrak is committed to maintaining and upgrading services to those communities who, in turn, show support for passenger rail. As an expression of Amtrak’s commitment, they are paying the salaries of two station caretakers to care for and open the depot — one for the 12:30 a.m. arrival of the Southwest Chief, the other for its 5:45 a.m. arrival. Depot Redux supervises the caretakers, but their presence would not be possible without Amtrak funding.
Helping to save our communities’ depots feeds the hope of improved public transportation. Parker skillfully captures this by describing the recent changes in our depot made possible by Depot Redux and others. The article concluded that renewed interest in rail travel may be about linking people together. Perhaps that is one of the reasons Amtrak ridership continues to soar and that Lawrence volunteers continue to support Depot Redux.
People are hungry to help and to travel in a more civilized way than afforded by either air or automobile. Despite its current inconveniences and shortcomings, Amtrak travel satisfies when the goal is more about the trip than the destination.