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American Train Collective

Conceived in a single night.
Realized through trust and bullheaded imagination.
Existing as a bulwark of play, novelty, communal work, and time to breathe freely against the increasingly tyrannical oligarchy of Modern Day Schedules.

About the American Train Collective

What is it?

It's an annual project in which participants sign up for a trip, usually about a week long, on which they ride long-distance Amtrak trains along with a group of like-minded people. The goal of the time together is to write an album's worth of music (10-12 songs) to record in the destination city directly after finishing the trip. This is done by breaking up into daily songwriting groups and churning. It. Out. No time for perfection, no time to wait on inspiration.

In other words, a random group of people chisel large blocks of time and energy from their routines to waste on an intensive songwriting project that may or may not work.

So far, it's always been awesome! 

What's the point?

To launch a wrecking ball at the wall of perfectionism that blocks most human beings from following the desire to create.

To attract people with a variety of backgrounds and skill sets, and to give them meaningful collaborative work.

To appreciate the beauty of our country and its people.

To have fun.

Who can participate in it?

From those proficient in a myriad of instruments to the guy who sings along to the radio loud and proud while idling at intersections, the ONLY requirement is simple: have something to contribute musically.

It's cool if you're really good at whatever it is you want to do, but you don't have to be as long as you're comfortable with the idea of doing it with other people. You DO NOT need to have performed before, in any capacity.

If anyone can participate in it, why do I need to apply?

To screen for creeps!

(But really.)

We don't reveal the exact details of routes until we've had a conversation and are sure that both sides understand and are excited about what they're getting into. 

(We've never turned anyone down.)

How much does it cost?

There's zero cost to apply, but once you're accepted there's a $120 buy-in. Ticket costs depend on when you buy them, but we always keep the route under a number of legs that is covered by the cheapest Amtrak RailPass (a modern miracle), which costs $459. You wouldn't be wrong in thinking of that as the "ceiling". You cover personal food and lodging. 

All told, most participants typically spend somewhere in the $800 range for the week of a lifetime. 

But...but...what about my other question?

If you can't find the answer on here or on our Facebook page, go ahead and shoot us an email at americantraincollective@gmail.com


We are Jeanette Corey and Caroline Scruggs. 
We live in Norfolk, Virginia.
We are artists, friends, and partners in projects galore.

It was wild to sing a song (that I helped write!) at the end of the day and think "this was just an idea literally 8 hours ago" and have it be real! And tangible! Not much beats that.

Clare Cahill


Check out what's been--be a part of what's to come!

American Train Collective 2016

New York to Portland


American Train Collective 2018

New York to New Orleans

American Train Collective 2019

Washington D.C. to San Francisco, with a quick stop in Portland!

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