Since the summer of 2016, the Rail Passengers Association has sent a paid correspondent across the country, by train, to interact with people from all walks of life. During the program, “Summer By Rail,” the correspondent reports on their experiences both on the train and in the cities they visit.
Vice President of the Rail Passengers Association, Sean Jeans Gail, described the creation of the program as “organic” and driven by the desire to expand awareness of high-speed trains and promote the connectivity of all forms of transportation.
This summer American University senior, Jacob Wallace, was lucky enough to receive the position. Wallace is also set to graduate spring of 2020 with a master’s degree in journalism and public affairs, but is spending this summer traveling by rail to experience 19 MLB, MiLB and independent league games. Starting his journey on May 26 in Miami and finishing in Seattle on July 1, the avid baseball fan is having the summer of his life.
On June 21, Wallace made a stop in Milwaukee to watch the Brewers defeat the St. Louis Cardinals. Before the game, we were able to catch up with him to ask him about his experience in Milwaukee and his summer as a whole.
What’s been your impression of Miller Park and Milwaukee as a whole?
It’s been really great. I got in this afternoon on the Hiawatha train, and it’s a pretty city for sure. I’m excited to check out the brewery scene, obviously – that’s important. Everyone has told me that this park is one of their favorite parks to visit, and I can see why.
How were you able to become the “Summer By Rail” correspondent?
I had a former journalism professor email me that she had heard about this opportunity. She told me you travel by rail, there’s some sort of baseball component, you write about it and – by the way – you have 48 hours to apply. So I sent in my application, interviewed and ended up getting the position. Now here I am.
Of the stadiums that you’ve visited, which one has had the best ballpark food?
That’s a tough question. You know what, just in terms of the novelty, I went to Rogers Centre in Toronto. And that was the first time I’d ever been to Canada so that was the one ballpark I didn’t get a hot dog and got poutine instead. It was pretty good.
Which train station have you found to be most memorable?
Chicago Union Station is just absolutely gorgeous. It’s historical, it’s gigantic, and I was fortunate to get a tour of the facility. It’s still under construction, and you can tell when it’s completed it’s going to be a landmark in and of itself. It already is, but it’s going to be even better than it was before.
What’s been your favorite memory/experience this summer?
I’ve been tickled by meeting all sorts of people on the train and finding out how it is that they get around. And getting to understand how important trains are to so many different people. Because prior to this trip I had gone on an Amtrak train maybe once before, and I had no idea what it was like. It’s really fascinating to me how dedicated people are to train travel and how important it is to them.