3349 Southgate Court Southwest #108 
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404-5424 
(319) 362-6824 Voice, (319) 362-7734 Fax (Wulff Home 515-276-8888) 

For conference media info: Rick Harnish (312) 409-7723 or e-mail


Iowa Rail Passenger Group to Co-Sponsor Chicago Conference

Chicago, Illinois-÷With growing concerns about escalating gasoline prices,
attention is again being focused on alternate forms of transportation. With
that in mind, the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers is co-sponsoring
a conference in Chicago on high speed rail passenger service. 

At last, Midwesterners may have a real chance of experiencing high-speed
rail. Dissatisfied with congested interstates and other slow means of
transportation that currently plague our region, the Midwest High Speed
Rail Coalition (MHSRC) has organized "To Catch a Train: The 2nd Annual
Midwest Rail Advocates' Conference" April 1, 2000, to discuss the benefits
of high-speed rail to the Midwest region. 

At this meeting participants will receive information about building
support for this far-reaching rail development plan that will extend, if
implemented, to nine states in the region including Iowa.

We can all help move this plan from dream to reality. The reality could
include this reasonably priced, convenient, safe, energy-efficient,
medium-range mode of transportation for our region.

Join the Midwest High Speed Rail Coalition and the meeting's corporate
sponsor, Renfe-Talgo of America, and co-sponsors from the railroad
passenger associations and other groups in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, as well as Iowa in a joint meeting to
find out what you can do.

With one-third of the nation's population living within 500 miles of
Chicago, it is important to ask why we still lack this state-of-the-art
mode of transportation. In other areas of the country, such as the
Northeast Corridor, a high-speed rail network links an area that stretches
from Washington D.C. to New York City and will soon continue on to Boston. 

Travelers in that part of the country currently enjoy rapid rail travel
that runs at approximately 125 mph and by the end of the year will run at
150 mph. The Federal Railroad Administration claims that, "It has been
demonstrated in the Northeast that high-speed passenger rail provides safe,
efficient point-to-point travel that is not only competitive, but superior
to airline travel for trips of 500 miles or less." 

High-speed rail allows passengers to avoid heavy traffic on local freeways
and highways as well as long trips out to airports.

Technology for high-speed rail has existed for at least 20 years. Europeans
and the Japanese have been enjoying this form of transportation from the
very beginning. In fact, the TGV in France has speeds of 200 mph. Now,
according to US Secretary of Transportation Rodney Slater, the Midwest is
next in line.

The general meeting will be held on April 1, 2000, from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m.
at the Chicago Athletic Association (12 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago,
Illinois). Free advocate workshops will take place between 9:00-11:30 a.m. 

Dennis Minichello, President of the MHSRC, will moderate the conference.
Other speakers include: Jack Martin, President of the National Association
of Railroad Passengers; the Honorable Dave Winters, State Representative
(IL); Merrill Travis, Rail Bureau Chief, Illinois Department of
Transportation; and Kevin Brubaker from the Environmental Law and Policy

Pre-registration is required. To register, please send a check with your
name, address, telephone number and e-mail address to: MHSRC, PO BOX
805878, Chicago, IL 60680. Lunch and afternoon sessions are $35. Afternoon
only $10. Corporate $55 all day.

The Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers is a statewide, non-profit
citizens' organization which supports rail passenger service--both
commercial and tourist service. IARP supports a solid rail infrastructure,
quality freight service by rail and intermodal. The group was formed in
1981 to strengthen the voice of the rail user in Iowa. The group meets at
various locations throughout the state. 

The organization is affiliated with the National Association of Railroad
Passengers in Washington, D.C. Membership information is available by
writing to the Iowa Association of Railroad Passengers, 3349 Southgate
Court, SW, Suite #108, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52404-5424 or by calling (319)