Sunday, June 20, 2010

Amtrak touts Vallejo as a noteworthy destination

Amtrak touts Vallejo as a noteworthy destination

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

Posted: 06/20/2010 02:09:47 AM PDT

Officials of Vallejo's main booster organizations said they were pleasantly
surprised to learn Friday that Amtrak California has launched a marketing
campaign which specifically touts Vallejo as a destination.

"AMTRAK DESTINATION | Vallejo, California" is one of several offshoots of an
effort to promote cities along Amtrak's San Joaquin route, a company
representative said. This is the program's second year, but the first to
include Vallejo, she said.

"Sweet," Vallejo Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Mike
Browne said upon learning about the campaign. "It would have been nice if
they'd contacted us and told us about it."

But Browne said he's not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

"It's a little embarrassing that we weren't aware of it, but we love what
they're doing and we're all for it. Anything that markets Vallejo as a
destination is a great thing."

An Amtrak California representative who said she isn't allowed to be quoted,
said none of the dozen or so featured cities were contacted.

The marketing material, which is being sent to regional publications, notes
that for "readers throughout California likely interested in a weekend trip
for the whole family filled with amusement park rides for the kids and golf
for dad, Vallejo is the perfect place to visit via Amtrak California."

Amtrak spokeswoman Debbie Mullins said Vallejo was included "because of the
many attractions the city has to offer for the entire family," that can be
reached, "stress-free" by train.

"Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, the Empress Theatre and the historic Mare
Island Naval Shipyard are just three of the attractions that we thought
people would be interested in," Mullins said in a statement.

It may be more about getting people to take the train than about bringing
them to Vallejo, but Vallejo Chamber of Commerce board chairman Jerry
Wilkerson said that's OK.

"Well, there's a news flash. Someone's promoting Vallejo as a destination to
play golf, visit Discovery Kingdom and take advantage of all our amenities.
This is wonderful," Wilkerson said.

Amtrak's material explains that getting to Vallejo by train from its San
Joaquin route will take passengers to Martinez from which they can take a
Thruway bus the few miles to Vallejo. This will save them the hassle of
flying and the expense and discomfort of driving, it says.

For information visit www.Amtrak, and for a listing of routes
and departure times, visit

Contact staff writer Rachel Raskin-Zrihen at (707) 553-6824 or