Gladys Knight To Serve as Conductor of Amtrak’s ‘National Train Day’

Gladys Knight To Serve as Conductor of Amtrak’s ‘National Train Day’
Gladys Knight

Trains and legendary vocalist Gladys Knight — two national treasures teaming up for the fourth annual observance of National Train Day on May 7, 2011. National Train Day commemorates the 142nd anniversary of coast-to-coast train travel and America’s transformation into a world power brought on by the advent of the transcontinental railroad.

Knight will host a signature event for Amtrak in Washington’s D.C.’s historic Union Station, which will sponsor the “B&O Railroad and the Civil War” exhibit among other exhibits and displays. Amtrak also plans National Train Day festivities in three other cities across the country: Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. All events are free in these major markets from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., support the country’s colorful history as a “melting pot” and will feature live entertainment and interactive educational exhibits.

Most notably, Philadelphia will host “The Great Migration” exhibit that details the early 20th century African American mass exodus from the South to the Northeast, Midwest and West via passenger and freight trains.

In addition to Philadelphia, two other event cities will have exhibits that chronicle the importance of minority participation into the American landscape and the special relationship each group had with the transcontinental railroad. Chicago will host “Hands On The Past: Mexican Contributions To The Railroad” exhibit. Mexicans who came to the U.S. under the guest worker program called “Railroad Braceros” will be honored for their contributions to our nation’s passenger rail system. Los Angeles will host the “East Meets West” exhibit where archived photos, facts and stories will detail railroads’ unique partnership with the Asian community during the 19th century.

Knight professes a deep connection to trains since recording her Grammy-winning single “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

“Trains are tightly woven into the history of our country and have definitely played a leading role in my life and career. I’m thrilled to be a part of the National Train Day celebrations, especially this year as Amtrak commemorates its 40th anniversary,” said Knight. –a. robinson

To learn more about the events in these and other cities or to host your own National Train Day event, please visit

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