The Rail Passengers Association,  the oldest and largest national organization speaking for the nearly 40 million users of passenger trains and rail transit, is awarding a bipartisan coalition of six senators its Golden Spike Award for their outstanding contribution in saving the Southwest Chief train route and their service to the tens of millions of Americans who depend upon the national train network.

The Golden Spike will be awarded to U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall of New Mexico, and Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts of Kansas. All six played instrumental roles in preventing the enactment of an Amtrak proposal to break up the route and replace the train with a bus line through the three states, the Rail Passenger Association said in its press release.

“Senators Bennet, Gardner, Heinrich, Moran, Roberts, Udall all showed tremendous insight to recognize the problem facing their constituents. They acted quickly—and in a bipartisan fashion—to ensure that this disaster was averted,” said Rail Passengers President Jim Mathews.

“Unfortunately, most passengers aren’t aware of the crucial role these six senators played in saving their train, nor the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be kept in these communities as a result," he said. "I’m hoping the Golden Spike Award shines a bright light on the great work they’ve done for these communities and their constituents.”

 The award will be given at the Rail Passengers Association annual Congressional reception on April 2.

In the association's 50-year history, the Golden Spike has been gifted to giants in entertainment, such as Johnny Cash and Walt Disney, for supporting the train industry. Most recently, it has been awarded to elected officials in Congress, like the late Reps. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.) and Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), who helped push forward new legislation in support of maintaining and furthering passenger rail in the U.S.

Regardless of their background, all recipients have shared a common theme: actions of great service on behalf of America’s passengers.


Regardless of their background, all recipients have shared a common theme: actions of great service on behalf of America’s passengers.