Successful Meetings - February 2009 - (Page 81)

Train Excursions MAKING TRACKS Train travel is making a comeback By Andrea Doyle, P resident Barack Obama kicked off his inaugural celebration with a rail trip, retracing the path Abraham Lincoln took to his swearing-in ceremony in 1861. Obama and his family boarded a 1939-vintage railcar in Philadelphia for the 137-mile journey to Washington DC. The trip included a stop in Delaware, where Vice President and longtime Amtrak-rider Joe Biden came aboard. Although this journey put train travel in the news, for many, it has become a way of life in light of the state of the airline industry. Cuts in flights, sometimes drastic fare increases, and a la carte fees that apply to luggage, meals, even pillows and blankets are new insults. Delays are an older one. As a result, many are searching for alternative modes of travel, and for some, train travel fits the bill perfectly. There were 28.7 million Amtrak passengers in 2008, an 11 percent increase over 2007, according to Amtrak’s Cliff Cole, a spokesperson. “Roughly 6 percent of this increase can be attributed to the increased cost of fuel and the eroding conditions at the airports,” adds Cole. Amtrak’s Acela Express between Boston and Washington is its most successful train, extremely popular with business travelers along the Northeast Corridor. And as society becomes more eco-conscious, train travel is being selected as an energy-efficient alternative to air travel. The U.S. Department of Energy found that Amtrak, on an energyconsumed-per-passenger- mile basis, is 18 percent more energy-efficient than commercial airlines. By “training it,” the carbon footprint of your trip is reduced. OCEAN-VIEW SEATS For some groups, trains are not only a viable mode of transportation, but a great way to get a group together. HelmsBriscoe, a global provider of independent site selection and RFP services, held its West Coast team meeting in Santa Barbara, CA, last April. Many of the attendees were coming from I February 2009 I SM I 81

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Successful Meetings - February 2009

Successful Meetings - February 2009
Editor's Letter
News Update: Meetings Associations Band Together
Planner Spotlight
Technology Talk
Food & Beverage
Making Cents of It All
Meanwhile, Back at Headquarters
Seal of Approval
Come Sail Away
Making Tracks
Places & Spaces
Florida’s East Coast
3 Days in Philadelphia

Successful Meetings - February 2009