Recruitment Underway for APRHF-sponsored Trails & Rails



Trails & Rails volunteer Ruth Maxwell makes a group of children from Switzerland junior rangers.


The National Park Service and the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation (APRHF), in cooperation with Amtrak, are offering an exciting opportunity for volunteers to travel, interpret, and explore a historic rail line through parts of Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.

Trails & Rails, a nationwide educational program aboard Amtrak trains developed by the National Park Service, has a Midwest version on the Chicago-to-Los Angeles Southwest Chief train. It is coordinated by the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation (APRHF) and carried out by the organization’s volunteers. The APRHF has conducted educational programs aboard Amtrak trains since May 2013.

Trails & Rails guides offer a unique travel experience to Southwest Chief passengers, presenting informative talks and public-address announcements about the natural, cultural and historical significance of the route, and points of interested and things to do in the area. Volunteers make a two-day round trip 600-mile journey between Chicago, Illinois and La Plata, Missouri.

The program sponsors are currently looking for dedicated and entertaining volunteers with an enthusiasm for public speaking, travel and human interaction. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old (or over 13 with parental permission), in good health and available to make an average of at least one two-day trip per month during the six-month period the program is offered (May-September AND November-December).

Program materials, travel, meals, and overnight lodging are all provided. Volunteers are accepted from any  location (we have volunteers from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan), however your travel to/from the crew base at Chicago Union Station is at your own expense for trips, training, and meetings. All new volunteers must attend an all-day safety and orientation training day (expected to be conducted in March 2015). This will be followed by a “training trip” to Galesburg, Illinois and a  “training trip” to La Plata, Missouri with a trainer; trainees will be evaluated before possibly being promoted to become an official guide.

Applications for the 2015 season are being accepted through November 1, 2014. To apply, or for more information about the Trails & Rails program on the Southwest Chief, contact APRHF  Trails & Rails Chicago Coordinator, Robert Tabern, 204 E. Moore St., La Plata, MO 63549, call 847.271.1979 or email   All applicants who apply by November 1, 2014 will be invited to attend a mandatory in-person interview with a panel consisting of the program’s Chicago Coordinator and Chicago Assistant Coordinators  in December 2014. If more applicants apply than positions become available, the applicant will be put on a “waiting list” until future volunteer opportunities arise.





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