NEWS RELEASE – April 25, 2022
Educating children about train reliability, convenience, connection, and sustainability ~
RICHMOND – Calling all future engineers, conductors, and train enthusiasts! The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA) is excited to announce the launch of its new interactive train exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. The Amtrak Virginia Train exhibit aims to raise the next generation of train travelers through creative exploration and play.
“This interactive Amtrak Virginia Train exhibit is an opportunity to spark interest in train travel for Virginians of all ages,” stated Jen Deci, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Transportation. “As the Commonwealth looks to transform the future of rail in Virginia, developing enthusiasm and exploring the benefits of rail from a young age can foster lifelong travel habits.”
VPRA provides funding for six state-sponsored Amtrak trains throughout the Commonwealth. “Through the Transforming Rail in Virginia Program, VPRA is connecting our communities and increasing economic opportunities through strategic investments in rail. As part of our mission, we are dedicated to educating youth about the reliability, sustainability, and convenience of rail transportation,” stated DJ Stadtler, VPRA Executive Director. VPRA is sponsoring the Amtrak Virginia Train exhibit for the next three years at the Children’s Museum of Richmond’s downtown location. It opens to the public on April 26, 2022.
“At the Children’s Museum of Richmond, learning is in play. We are thrilled to partner with VPRA and Amtrak to bring a beloved theme – trains – to our exhibit experiences! This exhibit deepens our learning capabilities at the Museum in several dimensions and we cannot wait for children and their caregivers to fall in love with this space,” said Danielle Ripperton, Executive Director of the Children’s Museum of Richmond.
This exciting, new exhibit features a child-sized Amtrak train with a control panel, train whistle, and real Amtrak seats. Explore the different locations available in Virginia via train through the ticket booth and interactive map. The train table offers model Amtrak trains, a draw bridge, and a crank and pulley system to help build fine motor skills. The exhibit is rounded out by various STEM activities that cater to the engineering mindset. For the opening ceremony, VPRA hosted a ribbon-cutting event at the museum and welcomed state officials and a local first-grade class.
“This exhibit provides a number of hands-on experiences that allow children to learn, play, and explore train travel,” stated Sarah Huang Spota, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Education.“The variety of interactive features that VPRA, Amtrak, and the Children’s Museum of Richmond have cultivated create a fun opportunity for children to develop an interest in various STEM fields and get a sense of how trains can broaden their horizons within the Commonwealth.”
VPRA worked with experts from Amtrak to create a unique, realistic experience that fosters excitement for train travel. Amtrak has families traveling throughout the Commonwealth covered. For every fare-paying adult train ticket purchased, one child between the ages of 2-12 is eligible to receive a 50% discount on the lowest available adult rail fare on most Amtrak trains. Children under 2, sharing a seat with an adult, ride free.
“This new exhibit will showcase the train environment in a captivating way,” said Jeffrey Mann, Amtrak Senior Director of State Support. “Partnering with Virginia and the Children’s Museum of Richmond offers an interactive and fun experience for children to learn how the train works and the places where it can take you in Virginia and beyond.”
VPRA is committed to helping educate youth about the importance of transportation, sustainability, and environmental stewardship. Many children have never been more than a few miles away from home. Role playing gives them the ability to learn and explore in a controlled environment and provides a glimpse into the real experience.
Come explore the Amtrak Virginia Train Exhibit for yourself. The Children’s Museum of Richmond is open 9:30 am – 5:00 pm, Tuesday-Sunday. Tickets are $9 for children and adults, with special discounts for seniors, military, and SNAP, EBT and WIC recipients.
About Virginia Passenger Rail Authority
The Virginia Passenger Rail Authority was established in 2020 to promote, sustain, and expand the availability of passenger and commuter rail service in the Commonwealth. VPRA is committed to delivering passenger rail service as an integrated, affordable, and convenient travel option and plays a critical role in mitigating current and future traffic congestion on Virginia’s highways, promoting economic development, and connecting communities by increasing passenger rail capacity, services, and ridership.