By Wendy Wollenberg Posted May 7, 2008, 1:59 PM EDT
May 10, the anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad, will be the first-ever National Train Day, an Amtrak-sponsored event taking place in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C., according to USA Today. In order to highlight its recent success (1.5 million more travelers rode Amtrak in 2007 than in the previous year), the national passenger railroad is spending $2.2 million on the event, in addition to bringing on as its spokesman Al Roker, who will host the Washington events at Union Station with singer Sara Bareilles.
The Harlem Globetrotters will make an appearance at the New York events at Penn Station. In all of the cities, Amtrak will set up displays, offering visitors the opportunity to walk through actual trains, and feature sweepstakes, giveaways, and concerts. According to the event's Web site, Amtrak has partnered with MasterCard and Wheel of Fortune for National Train Day. The game show is sponsoring an Amtrak train wrapped in a Wheel of Fortune ad running between Chicago and Milwaukee through May 15.