Category:Rail advocacy organizations in the United States

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Description[edit]

This category includes organizations that are primarily devoted to the advocacy of railroad service–passenger, commuter and/or freight–wherever practical in the United States. This advocacy may include the use of political or non-political means to cull support for specific rail projects or service. These projects can include the advocacy for the retention of existing rail service, the advocacy for the expansion of existing rail service, the advocacy for reactivation of rail service that was discontinued in the past, or the advocacy for the creation of rail service on a completely new rail line. In addition, rail advocacy organizations can propose and/or promote the addition of new railroad stations, the tweaking of existing rail schedules, the new purchase or upgrading of existing railroad locomotives or rail cars, the railbanking of abandoned rail lines, or the linking of rail lines to improve service.

Rail advocacy organizations will generally cull support for these projects by actively promoting the projects to railroad companies; federal, state and county governments and agencies; and legislators and other politicians. Additional support and visibility can be culled by educating the public by promoting the projects via the various available print and electronic media. Rail advocacy groups may also actively work to oppose rail projects that are felt to be contrary to the public good because they are judged to impractical due to costs and/or limited benefits, because they may cause potential harm, or because these projects "compete" with other projects which are felt to be more worthy of support.

Members of these organizations can come from all walks of life, but most often these individuals have an interest in railroads and railroading, as well as political advocacy. Some members may also consider themselves to be railfans, although most rail advocacy groups eschew the railfan moniker (and, therefore, try to distance themselves from the railfan community) because of the tendency of many railfans to fixate on certain aspects of railroading–for example, the operation of steam locomotives and historic rail equipment–that may be desirable from a rail preservationist's point of view but which may be undesirable from a rail advocate's perspective.

As such, rail advocacy organizations may lend support to projects that interest their members or may be focused on specific rail projects within a certain geographic area. Membership in a rail advocacy organization may require the paying of an annual fee. These organizations may publish a newsletter or magazine that describes the group's activities. Typically these organizations will be run by a board of directors that determines the group's focus. Many rail advocacy organizations are not for profit organizations, with members volunteering their time. Some larger organizations may offer salaried positions, or may pay consultants or lobbyists to perform specific jobs.