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What's this forum for, anyways?

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Since I made the suggestion for the creation of a forum of this type, I thought that I'd copy over what I hoped to accomplish here from my request thread.


We're already off to a good start with some excellent suggestions from Charlie (and others).


Hopefully this forum will help us get engaged and make our support for passenger rail known!


Most of us love Amtrak.


Some of you are very active in organizations (NARP and state-level) that work in this area. I'm not, and while I'd like to do more, I don't have the amount of time that I'd like to devote. But I have some time available and don't know what to do with it.


Others spend lots of time on the web, commenting on rail-related articles, bringing truth and light to discussions where real facts are in short supply and the AmtrakHaters run unchallenged.


So what if we had another forum area where the focus was on "What can we do to promote Amtrak?" and "What can we do to make Amtrak better?". Lobbying works both ways, we can convince people that Amtrak doesn't (usually) suck and convince Amtrak to suck less. A couple of us plowing into a comments section can really make a difference in the course of the discussion.


I'm envisioning threads like:


1) Here's an article/blog post about rail - lets get into the comments section and set people straight and help tell the good side of the story.


2) This state/locality has a bill coming up that impacts passenger rail. People in that area can do X, Y and Z to help.


3) Most importantly - facts and citations. Alan is a walking encyclopedia of cost facts and figures. I'd love to have that knowledge in a series of threads with actual data and citations available to be able to refute arguments against passenger rail.


We're a strong bunch of people that have the power to do great things. With a little bit of organization and direction, I think that we can help make a difference.

(if the staff thinks it appropriate, this might make a good thread to "pin" to the top of the forum to give people an idea of what it's here for)

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Another use might be to discuss the actions of rail advocacy groups and how to influence them. I have found on occasions that rail advocacy groups sometimes do completely bizarre things. When such happens, e.g. NARP sitting with its thumbs up its you know what without saying anything while Amtrak proceeded to destroy the Broadway Limited/Three Rivers, and let it just happen, we could bring such issues up, discuss it here and possibly take a concerted action to have the advocacy group change their approach, or at least try.

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