NEWS RELEASE – May 25, 2023
The Trains and Tiaras Tour to focus on volunteerism
RICHMOND — Amtrak Virginia is promoting volunteerism and community connection across the Commonwealth through a partnership with the Miss Virginia Volunteer organization and a small-town rail tour featuring 2023 Miss Virginia Volunteer Kate Clatterbuck. The Trains and Tiaras Tour kicks off on Saturday, May 27 at 9:30am with a public event at Kemper Street Station in Lynchburg. The tour will feature Miss Virginia Volunteer visiting local communities to promote volunteerism and empowerment, all while traveling with the ease and comfort of Amtrak Virginia.
During the Trains and Tiaras Tour, Kate will travel on board the state-supported Amtrak Virginia service and will stop in Lynchburg, Culpeper, Manassas, Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Ashland, Richmond, and Newport News – visiting eight communities in five days. While in each community she will participate in a volunteer activity, sample local cuisine, and meet with local leaders interested in community connectedness and volunteerism. From volunteering at an organization supporting local veterans to making dinner for sick children, Kate will roll up her sleeves and dive right in.
“As we commemorate Celebrate Transportation Day in Virginia, we are very happy to have Miss Virginia Volunteer travel the state by rail and enrich the communities Amtrak Virginia serves,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Director of the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority. “We look forward to having her on board as we both work towards a common goal — to connect the communities of the Commonwealth.”
Amtrak Virginia service began in 2009 with one-roundtrip between Washington, DC and our first tour host, Lynchburg. In 2017 that service was extended to Roanoke, and last summer a second roundtrip was launched on the route. Ridership on the service set a record in April with 107,929 passengers traveling, a 53.2% increase over April 2022. It was the highest ridership seen in April since state-supported service began in 2009. All four Amtrak Virginia corridors saw an increase in ridership year-over-year for the month of April.
The economic impact of the Amtrak Virginia service is seen in the $141,000,000 Amtrak spent on goods and services in the Commonwealth in FY2021. That was in addition to the $90,000,000 in wages earned by Virginians employed by Amtrak.
“The City of Lynchburg is proud to host Kate Clatterbuck to launch the Amtrak Virginia Trains & Tiaras Tour with Miss Virginia Volunteer and the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority,” said Lynchburg Mayor Stephanie T. Reed. “Our beautiful historic train station offers daily Amtrak service, making it easy to travel for both business and leisure. Our Amtrak station supports travel and tourism in the City of Lynchburg, promoting Lynchburg as a dynamic place to live, go to work, attend college.”
While on board the Trains and Tiaras Tour, Miss Virginia Volunteer will enjoy all of the amenities available on Amtrak — free Wi-Fi, the freedom to use phones and electronic devices, Quiet Cars for those who want a library-like environment to work, read or doze, the ability to travel with small pets on many trains, large spacious seats with ample leg room, and no middle seat, not to mention the café car.
“We are delighted Miss Virginia Volunteer is taking Amtrak for a tour through Virginia,” said Jeff Mann, Amtrak Senior Director of State Supported Services. “This journey will highlight how traveling by train allows customers to avoid traffic congestion while safely and reliably connecting with local communities.”
The Miss Virginia Volunteer pageant supports a mission to educate and empower young women across Virginia through workshops, seminars, scholarships, and volunteerism. This year’s Miss Virginia Volunteer, Kate Clatterbuck, hails from Danville and is a 2022 graduate of Roanoke College. She is the founder of “PowHERful Voices Initiative” and the “She. We. Me” program that addresses the gender disparity in Virginia’s History Standards of Learning for K-12 education. Since being crowned in August, Kate has traveled the state, advocating for volunteerism.
“Rail travel has been essential to economic growth since the construction of the Transcontinental railroad in 1845. Today, it’s a convenient, hassle-free, and reliable means of travel in a hectic world,” said Vickie Runk, Executive Director of Miss Virginia Volunteer Organization. “Miss Virginia Volunteer is so happy to be partnering with our friends at Amtrak Virginia. Lynchburg is privileged to have a gorgeous station on Kemper Street, restored in 2002. As owners of a hospitality firm in Central Virginia, as well, we happily provide shuttles to and from the station and encourage our guests to enjoy this nostalgic form of travel.”
Amtrak Virginia worked with the Virginia Tourism Corporation and boots-on-the-ground Destination Marketing Organizations to help create the local itineraries for the Trains and Tiaras Tour, which will introduce Kate to local hot spots and treasures.
“Traveling by train is one of the easiest and most relaxing ways to visit Virginia,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “Many of the Commonwealth’s most popular destinations are directly accessible by rail, making it a quick and convenient getaway for visitors.”
For more information on booking a trip on Amtrak Virginia, please visit www.amtrak.com/Virginia. Follow Kate’s journey on Instagram @AmtrakVA and Facebook @AmtrakVirginia.
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 and expanding its state-supported Amtrak Virginia passenger rail service. The Commonwealth of Virginia first launched state-supported service in 2009 with one roundtrip between Washington, DC and Lynchburg, VA. Since that time, the Commonwealth’s service has grown to include eight roundtrips daily with stops at 17 stations along four corridors. For more information, please visit vapassengerrailauthority.org.