The Trails & Rails program is a partnership between Amtrak and the National Park Service that provides educational opportunities for travelers on the heritage and natural resources of a specific region while traveling by Amtrak.
Host National Park Service sites across the country sponsor a team of local volunteers who coordinate the programs. These volunteer guides travel on select Amtrak trains in their region and bring along travelling trunks of props and maps to help explain the passing regional historic and natural resources to the passengers. The Trails & Rails guides learn the special nuances of conducting programs using the train's PA system, greeting passengers in the lounge car, and wandering through the train. Each volunteer must meet Amtrak's requirements for physical fitness.
Texas A&M University's Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism Science joined the partnership in 2006 and continues to partner in the coordination of the Trails & Rails program across the country. Working with the National Park Service and Amtrak, departmental faculty assist in the creation of training materials and professional development for the onboard guides and student interns. Students within the department have created podcasts, junior ranger books, and brochures to support the onboard programs.
Trails & Rails guides also participate in special events in their local communities. The guides meet people from around the world and share the beauty and history of National Parks and their regional landscapes.
Last updated: November 12, 2021