Maybe Your Next Flight Should Be on a Train

Amtrak issued hundreds of brochures in its first decade, most of which focused on destinations such as Disneyland or national parks. But some simply exhorted people to take the train, usually with lame slogans such as “because getting there should be as much fun as being there” (a bureaucratic corruption of Cunard’s “Getting there is half the fun“). This particular brochure offers the equivocal thought that “maybe” you should take the train.

Click image to download a 1.1-MB PDF of this brochure.

The train in the picture–oriented to look like the nose of a jet airliner–is one of the Rohr Turboliners that first entered service in late 1976. They were distinguished from the earlier French Turboliners by having a pointed rather than rounded nose. This dates the brochure to be no earlier than 1976 but more likely 1977 since the Turboliners didn’t begin operating until late September, 1976.


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Maybe Your Next Flight Should Be on a Train — 2 Comments

  1. Although the 60s and 70s were considered sort of a golden age of advertising (Schweppes man anybody?), railroad advertising was something of an afterthought, because the railroads saw little point to advertising a service they were losing buckets of money on. In fact, a case could be made that advertising passenger trains at all was counterproductive in the minds of men like Donald Russell, because anything that could put butts in the seats might hurt their train-off petitions.

    As for Amtrak, they probably had at most a shoestring budget to work with, and therefore might not have had the most creative minds at their disposal. So it’s possible slogans got tweaked and recycled, and maybe in this instance SP’s “Next Time Try the Train” became “Maybe Your Next Flight Should Be On a Train.”

  2. You make some good points. But in the mid-1970s, Amtrak was spending about $50 million a year on “marketing and reservations,” which is a little more than a shoestring. The company’s1977 annual report says that Amtrak had television advertisements on the SuperBowl, the Academy Awards, and the popular miniseries Roots. It also advertised in Time, Newsweek, US News, Sports Illustrated, and many other magazines. Companies don’t do this kind of advertising without hiring an agency, and you’d think the agency would be more creative than to reword old slogans to make them more boring and bureaucratic.

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