May 1, 2021 marks the 50th Anniversary of Amtrak. In honor of this important milestone for the nation, the Marshall Depot Board of Directors is announcing a year-long commemoration and celebration of Amtrak.
This commemoration will focus on providing information and events that highlight the important role that Amtrak has played and continues to play in providing an essential transportation option for the people of America and the Marshall community. It will also underscore benefits Amtrak provides to urban as well as rural communities, such as Marshall, in connecting cities throughout America through its vast National Network.
“On behalf of the volunteer Board of Directors of the Marshall Depot Inc., we ask people of our community and our region to join us in wishing Amtrak a happy 50th birthday.” said Cathy Wright, current president of the Marshall Depot Board. “We appreciate all that Amtrak does for the people of Marshall and our community.”
Out of the approximately 20,000 cities in America, only about 525 cities are fortunate to have an Amtrak stop and Marshall is fortunate to be one of those cities. Marshall is a stop on the Texas Eagle long-distance route. The Texas Eagle connects San Antonio to Chicago, with stops that include Austin, Fort Worth, Dallas, Little Rock and St. Louis, in addition to Marshall.
Christina Anderson, who serves as the chairman of the 2021 community fundraising campaign which is currently underway for the nonprofit Marshall Depot, shared the following:
“We thought Amtrak’s 50th anniversary would also provide an excellent opportunity to continue to raise awareness in our community about the remarkable benefits that Amtrak and our historic Marshall Depot bring to our community with regard to transportation, tourism, economic development, quality of life, not to mention just a fun way to travel.”
Anderson also pointed out a benefit distinctive to Marshall that many community members might not be aware of which brings in tens of thousands of dollars of revenue to the local economy each year. That is, Marshall is one of only a few stops on the Texas Eagle route that is a crew change stop.
Anderson explained: “That means that not only do tourists and visitors spend dollars when they travel here by train, but six Amtrak crew members who stay in Marshall each night provide ‘heads on beds’ in a local hotel. This results in at least 2,190 hotel stays in Marshall each year, not counting any visitors or tourists who may travel here by Amtrak and may add additional hotel nights.”
She further explained that these six crew members also spend dollars at local restaurants, stores and with a local van service. In fact, over the past 19 years of Marshall serving as a crew change stop, the total revenue to the local economy for Amtrak’s spending for these crews has been approximately $4.1 million.
“So, in addition to being a transportation hub which connects us to the National Network right in the heart of historic downtown Marshall,” Anderson shared, “the Marshall Depot and Amtrak are also very valuable assets with regard to generating revenue for our community.”
The Marshall Depot is one of only a few depots on the Texas Eagle route that is not maintained and operated by the city it serves. The Marshall Depot is instead maintained by a volunteer board of directors for the nonprofit entity Marshall Depot Inc, which was established in 1990 to assist the city with the Depot.
This volunteer board raises funds, through grants and donations, to maintain the funding needed each year for the operational costs, insurance, maintenance, and ongoing preservation of the Depot and the Texas and Pacific Railway Museum. In the past, the city had assisted with these annual costs.
For those wishing to make a tax-deductible donation to the nonprofit Marshall Depot Inc. in the 2021 fundraising campaign, which began in late March, please make a request to receive materials in the mail about this by calling or leaving a message at (903) 938-8373. Or you can make a tax-deductible donation by sending a check to: Marshall Depot Inc., 800 North Washington Avenue, Suite 1, Marshall, Texas 75670.
Alan Loudermilk, who serves on the Marshall Depot Board and is owner of the popular Ginocchio Restaurant which is located adjacent to the Marshall Depot, has graciously offered to have a small display at the restaurant with information, donation cards, and envelopes so that customers who wish to make a donation to the depot can pick up materials while they’re dining at the restaurant.
Cathy Wright also shared that the Marshall Depot Board is making plans and putting in place the necessary health-related precautions to re-open the T & P Railway Museum which is located at the Marshall Depot soon. The museum has been closed during the past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, Amtrak recently announced that, on May 24, it would restore daily service to long-distance trains, including the Texas Eagle. In 2020, because of the pandemic, Amtrak reduced daily service to three days a week.
Christina Anderson concluded by saying: “Marshall, Texas is blessed to have a long and strong history as a ‘railroad town.’ The I-20 Corridor Council and the Texas Eagle Marketing and Performance Organization (TEMPO) join the members of the Marshall Depot Board in wishing all current and past members of the Amtrak family a happy, prosperous 50th Anniversary and a strong and prosperous 50 years to come. As one of the new Amtrak taglines says: “The Future Rides With Us.”