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Volunteer Guides Needed Aboard Amtrak Trains for ‘Trails & Rails’ Program

There will be a meeting for people interested in becoming volunteer guides aboard Amtrak trains from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 12 at the South Coast Railroad Museum, 300 N. Los Carneros Road in Goleta.

The National Park Service and the South Coast Railroad Museum, in cooperation with Amtrak, are offering this exciting opportunity for Santa Barbara and Ventura County residents to travel, interpret and explore West Coast rails as volunteers with the “Trails & Rails” program.

Trails & Rails is a nationwide educational program aboard Amtrak trains developed by the National Park Service. There is a West Coast version based in Santa Barbara, offered by the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, on the Los Angeles-to-Seattle Coast Starlight train and regional Pacific Surfliner trains. It is coordinated by the South Coast Railroad Museum and carried out by museum’s volunteers. The local museum has conducted educational programs aboard Amtrak trains since the 1980s.

From April through August, Trails & Rails guides will offer a unique travel experience to Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner passengers, presenting informative talks and public-address announcements about the natural, cultural and historical significance of the route, and points of interest and things to do in the area. Two versions of the program are offered: Some volunteers make their presentations during a one-day Santa Barbara-to-San Luis Obispo round trip; other guide teams make a two-day trip to San Jose.

Trails & Rails volunteers do not need to be historians or naturalists. The program sponsors are looking for dedicated and entertaining volunteers with an enthusiasm for public speaking, travel and human interaction.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, in good health, and available to make an average of at least two one-day trips per month during the five-month period that the program is offered.

Uniforms, program materials, travel, meals and overnight lodging are all provided.

For more information about the Trails & Rails Program aboard the Coast Starlight, contact Trails & Rails Coordinator, South Coast Railroad Museum, 300 N. Los Carneros Road, Goleta, CA 93117, by phone at 805.964.3540 or by email at [email protected].

— Gary Coombs is the director of the South Coast Railroad Museum.

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