January of 2005 and 2007 I hosted Peace Train to DC Events highlights are offered below.

PEACE TRAIN to DC Jan 16-21, 2005

Join the PEACE TRAIN to DC for the Presidential inaugural for under $500 per person, double occupancy includes round trip train travel, lodging and meals. Hemp US Flag is sponsoring the following 5 day itinerary as our Official PEACE TRAIN to DC. Get on board Train 6 anywhere along the way from Sacramento to Chicago on January 16th through 18th, then transfer in Chicago to Train 30 to arrive in Washington DC the afternoon of the 19th. 

IMPORTANT: At this point all travelers MUST make their own meal and lodging arrangements for the night of the 19th - since there are so many questions regarding our ability to even attend, some may elect to even spend the night in the streets. In any case, these travel plans DO NOT INCLUDE LODGING or FOOD ON THE NIGHT OF JANUARY 19th. (This may change if enough people are interested in a group rate I can arrange)

Train 6 'The California Zephyr', departs Sacramento, CA (SAC) 11:32 am, 16-JAN-05

traveling First Class in a Superliner Roomette that arrives at Chicago, IL Union Station  (CHI) 3:32 pm 18-JAN-05

Train 30 'The Capitol Limited' departs Chicago, IL Union Station (CHI) 5:35 pm, 18-JAN-05 2 traveling in Reserved Coach Seats arrives at Washington, DC Union Station (WAS) 12:24 pm 19-JAN-05

IMPORTANT: At this point all travelers MUST make their own meal and lodging arrangements for the night of the 19th - since there are so many questions regarding our ability to even attend, some may elect to even spend the night in the streets. In any case, these travel plans DO NOT INCLUDE LODGING or FOOD ON THE NIGHT OF JANUARY 19th. (This may change if enough people are interested in a group rate I can arrange)

Returning:   Washington - Union Station, DC (WAS)  To  Sacramento, CA (SAC)

Train 29 'The Capitol Limited' departs Washington, DC Union Station (WAS) 5:20 pm 20-JAN-05 2 Reserved Coach Seats arrives at Chicago, IL Union Station (CHI) 10:19 am 21-JAN-05

Train 5 'The California Zephyr' departs Chicago, IL Union Station (CHI) 2:20 pm

21-JAN-05 1 Superliner Roomette arrives at Sacramento, CA (SAC) 2:39 pm 


 2 Passengers Rail Fare: $532.00, Roomette Price: $458.00, Total: $990.00 plus tax if applicable

Superliner Roomette is ideal for one or two passengers, with two comfortable reclining seats on either side of a big picture window. At night, the seats convert to a comfortable bed, and an upper berth folds down from above. Roomettes are located on both upper and lower levels of our double-decker Superliner train cars.

Meals included

First Class status

Picture window

Two reclining seats which convert to a bed; upper berth which folds down from wall

Available on both upper and lower levels of the Superliner

No in-cabin toilet or shower; restrooms, showers nearby in same train car

Electrical outlets

Climate control

Individual reading lights

Garment rack

Fold-down table

Fresh towels and bed linens

Soap and shower amenities

Personal service (turn-down, coffee, paper, make-up bed)

Bottled water

Daily newspaper

Join the PEACE TRAIN from any of these cities (check to see all stops):

 Emeryville, CA  (EMY)

 Martinez, CA  (MTZ)

 Davis, CA  (DAV)

 Sacramento, CA  (SAC)

 Reno, NV  (RNO)

 Salt Lake City, UT  (SLC)

 Grand Junction, CO  (GJT)

 Glenwood Springs, CO  (GSC)

 Denver, CO  (DEN)

 Hastings, NE  (HAS)

 Lincoln, NE  (LNK)

 Omaha, NE  (OMA)

 Chicago, IL Union Station  (CHI)

 South Bend, IN  (SOB)

 Toledo, OH  (TOL)

 Cleveland, OH  (CLE)

 Pittsburgh, PA  (PGH)

Contact to add your name(s) and if you are a single looking for a travel partner I will help coordinate contact between pairs.

The MISSION of the 
is to deliver a message of PEACE THROUGH CONSERVATION 
to the WORLD.

The PEACE TRAIN to DC is a seven-day demonstration of the most efficient method of mass transportation known. Using technology already available, our journey will consume about HALF as much petroleum on a per-passenger-mile basis than it would if we were using other fuel-powered transportation choices. 

We call on Union Pacific for Priority over Freight Traffic

We know that under normal circumstances there are numerous delays along the way because often freight traffic is given priority over passengers. For this reason we call on Union Pacific, their partners and freight customers to help the PEACE TRAINS to DC arrive on time by granting priority to passenger rail service during the next few days while America tries to journey to DC to attend the Presidential Inaugural and Counter-Inaugural events. We remind the public that Amtrak is already paying to use these lines, and that most were built with heavy federal subsidies and regulatory favor anyway.

On Board 

During our journey we will conduct several PEACE TRAIN MEETINGS during which we will share letters from Iraq written by men and women in the US Military. We will also collaborate to complete and endorse a Letter to Congress that we will deliver to the United States Capitol in Washington, DC upon our arrival. Along the way we will also plan other demonstrations and activities, enjoy readings, Yoga, Karaoke, and other spontaneous acts of friendship and fellowship. 

We invite everyone to join the PEACE TRAIN to DC! Whether in spirit or in person, we are counting on your support for our message of PEACE THROUGH CONSERVATION.  Updates and photos from the road will be posted at We will be conducting interviews by cellphone along the way. Buttons, hats, shirts, postcards and other products imprinted with the PEACE TRAIN to DC logo intended to stimulate conversation about CONSERVATION FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE are available online also at  ($2 from each item sold supports our work.)

Thank you for your support and attention.

Peace Train Report to Holland #1 by Maartje Duin, February 2005

The buzz on Internet grows as the inauguration of president Bush approaches. From all parts of the country caravans move to Washington. Rides are asked and offered, buses are filled; flights are fully booked with protesters and partygoers. The project that most intrigues me, is the Peace Train. It is organized by Tantric Travel, an eco-tourism agency operating from Sacramento. The Art of Travel while Leaving a Lighter Footprint as we go, it advertises.

When I call Tantric Travel, I get to talk to the owner himself: Tim Castleman.

On January 15th the Peace Train leaves from Sacramento, he says. It will arrive in DC – god, the weather and the caprices of AMTRAK willing – on the day before the inauguration, just in time for the protests. But the trip itself is the most important protest: it’s a statement against America’s addiction to oil. A train passenger uses half of the fuel he would consume traveling by airplane or SUV. Moreover, the four-day journey, crossing the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains, is one of the most beautiful routes of the country.

That sounds good, I say. ‘Can I make a reservation?’

On the other side of the line I hear cheering. ‘Great! You’re the first passenger!’

On my side of the line it is quiet for a moment. ‘Oh,’ I say, ‘I thought you would have a hundred people together, or so.’ On the website I had seen a Peace Train-merchandise line: Peace Train-calendars were for sale, Peace Train-mugs, t-shirts, thongs, buttons, teddy bears. In Sacramento, Chicago and Washington Peace Train-press conferences were scheduled. ‘What kind of press are you expecting?’ I ask.

Oh well, says Tim, that’s only a matter of time. ‘It’s all stage craft. People will be attracted to that, and so will the press. You live in Hollywood, don’t you know any celebrities who would want to join us for a stop or two?’ I promise I will do my best. We hang up the phone. 

In the days that follow, I do a bit more research. Tim Castleman appears to be the brain behind Hemp US Flag Inc. With a collection flags made out of hemp he tried to persuade the governments of Arizona and California of the possibilities of this crop. 

I also read how he was arrested during an anti-war protest last year in front of a gas station. He was suspected of changing the signs with oil prices from $1.91 into $9.11. Tim maintained his innocence. On the website he complains about false charges and claims a $20 million refund.

A week later Tim calls me. He sounds like he is in a good mood. Our fame as Peace Train-passengers has gone ahead of us. A reporter of the Washington Post has contacted him; I received an email from National Public Radio myself.

‘And how about the passengers, do we have some more?’ I ask. ‘A handful,’ answers Tim. Peggy, a massage therapist from Arcata, has promised to come. She will take her two children, plus a German exchange student she happens to have in her house. In the mornings, she will do yoga sessions with us. In Chicago we will get the company of some other revolutionaries, who will provide a medical and safety training. ‘Why?’ I ask. ‘Well, don’t underestimate the weather in Washington,’ Tim says. ‘If you’re outside for a couple of hours, you run the risk of freezing.’ The subject of teargas may be discussed as well.

Tim himself will hold a PowerPoint-presentation on the subject of bio-fuel. He is hoping to have an attentive audience. ‘My message is anti-consumerism, personal responsibility and conservation of fuels as the key to a better world. In Holland I would be preaching for the choir. Here my message is controversial,’ he sighs, ‘sometimes it is painful for me to live in this country.’

He asks what will be my contribution to the Peace Train. I propose to read some stories. ‘Before bedtime.’ 

Tim makes a note of it.

‘Well, I’ll see you in Sacramento!’ he says.

‘OK,’ I say, ‘see you Sunday.’

(to be continued)

PEACE TRAIN Report to Holland #2 by Maartje Duin

On Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles it’s just the two of us. Tim Castleman, the self proclaimed internationally known activist, and me. We are riding the Peace Train to Bush’ inauguration in Washington DC. The term comes from a Cat Stevens song, the logic that goes with it is Tim’s own: the more Americans ride the train, the less they drive their cars, the less oil they consume, the less wars they have to start to control that oil. Who rides the train, promotes the peace: the Peace Train, there you go. 

Soon our ranks are filled with more peace passengers. The first one is Peggy, a yoga teacher with a German exchange student following her, as well as three children with ponytails and heaven-blue eyes. She has taken them off of school for a week. ‘I figured this was educational as well,’ she says, as the train starts to move.

The train conductors are very sympathetic to our cause, it seems as they peep their heads around the corner of our roomette. They are not supposed to talk about politics, but now that we’re here… sure they can trust us… one of them has a son of fifteen years old. ‘And he’s not going to Iraq. I’d rather go to jail myself.’ ‘I long back to Nixon,’ another one says. ‘At least he was a decent human being. Why don’t people go out into the streets? Where’s the impeachment?’ ‘We do what we can,’ Tim says. The conductors nod. They both leave with a Peace Train button. 

The route through the Rocky Mountains is shut off, so we are taking the southern route across the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, the Navajo-reservations. All on a snail like speed, but that’s not a problem, there is enough to see. ‘It’s one heck of a country, isn’t it?’ Tim muses. ‘You see, that’s why it’s worth fighting for, worth saving it.’

In Flagstaff, Arizona, we get the company of Louie and Lola. They are going to Washington because they are christians. And Bush is not a christian, they say, he only pretends to be one. ‘Bush is a christian with a very small c.’ ‘The c of commercialism,’ Tim agrees. They are documenting the entire trip on VCR so that they can show it to their friends when they get home. Those friends only get their news from Christian tv-networks, full of propaganda.

We have an evening program. Louie and Lola brought a karaoke-machine that they normally work parties with. That night, with the permission of the conductors, we turn the lounge in to a discotheque. We sing ‘What’s going on’ by Marvin Gaye, ‘The Peace Train’ by Cat Stevens, of course, and, on top of our lungs, ‘America the Beautiful’: ‘America! America! / God shed his grace on thee! / Till nobler men keep once again / Thy whiter jubileeheehee!’ In between the songs we read each other letters from soldiers from Iraq, their latest for some of them. At the end of the night, everybody is a little touched, and a little tipsy.

The next morning we wake up among snow-covered prairies. The Peace Train passes Kansas, Missouri, the Mississippi River, into Iowa, with endless frozen lakes. American eagles are standing on guard at the edges of frozen waters.

In Chicago we have to change trains. Some Peace Trainers come aboard, there’s now some twenty of us. A Veteran for Peace, a girl who lost her leg in a motor accident and her service dog; she goes to DC off her allowance, because she thinks it her civic duty, two young Democrats for whom the demonstrations are part of their political resume.

In the morning, they give a reading for the protesters, with tips about what to do when you’re arrested. We always have the right to remain silent. We never have to tell anyone anything about our immigration status. We should always have 20 bucks in our pocket, so as not to be arrested for vagrancy. If getting an Israeli gasmask on short term is not an option, make sure you have a handkerchief with vinegar in your back pocket and hold it in front of your mouth when teargas is used. If we behave well, we can avoid getting arrested, they say, but George W. Bush and John Ashcroft will have their things in order. ‘After all, it’s their party, and we are going to crash it.’ That is something everyone agrees upon.

(to be continued)

It is a Thusday night, 9:30, I was in Washington waiting for the subway. Earlier that day president Bush was inaugurated. My Peace Train passengers – the environmental activist, the yoga teacher with her kids, the karaoke-christians, the girl with one leg – I had lost track of, I was alone again.

The station was empty, save for three loud guys with shaved heads. I tried hard to ignore them, just because I thought it was wise to ignore loud guys with shaved heads at this time of night in an empty subway station in one of America’s most violent cities. But the longest of the three saw me studying the map and approached me. 

‘Where are you going?’ he asked.

‘To Dupont Circle,’ I said.

‘You’ll have to change trains at Metro Center,’ he said. ‘We are going that way, too.’ His face had something disarming, so up close. He asked me what I was doing here. ‘I was here for the inauguration,’ I said. His eyes seemed to light up. ‘Were you?’ he said. ‘Did you see the parade?’ I nodded. ‘Then you must have seen us come by.’ He pointed to his friends. ‘We’re the marines. Did you think we were good?’

‘Well...’  I said, ‘frankly, I thought you guys were a little scary.’ The entire world thought you guys were a little scary, I could have added. Even my mother, who was watching tv at the other side of the ocean, thought you guys were a little scary. But I didn’t. 

The marine had to laugh. He introduced himself as Roger. He and his friends were underway to a bar at the other side of town. They could use something strong, because they had been standing from 8 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. In the parade they had had to march with a rifle on their shoulder, so long ‘it hurt like hell.’

The metro arrived, we got in. Roger and his friends were part of a special unit, he told me. ‘We’re the pretty boys.’ There were some 300 of those. Pretty boys were not allowed to have a criminal record, had to pass a psychological and an IQ-test, had to be at least 5’’10. And they had to be pretty, because ‘we are the image of the US to the rest of the world’ They did their haircuts themselves, twice a week, ‘and the rest of our good looks just comes naturally,’ he laughed. 

The inauguration was Rogers biggest ceremony thus far. Before this he had attended the funeral of president Reagan, at visits of foreign heads of state. And at ceremonies that weren’t televised: funerals of marines who were killed in Iraq. Those were hard moments, Roger said. If he hadn’t been a pretty boy, he could have been killed himself already, he was aware of that. But he didn’t allow himself too much guilt. ‘We are being used for fundraising purposes, during diners with politicians. If we do our job well, they get more armour, more Hummers, out there. So in that way we are helping them, too.’

Roger was twenty years old. He didn’t see a military career for himself. After this, he wanted to go to university to study art. He did this for four years, ‘just to be able to say that I’ve done it, that I’ve served my country. I try to keep my opinion out of it,’ he said, before I could ask for it, ‘My opinion doesn’t matter. You have to get out here,’ he pointed. And for a moment, he was one of those guys again who had scared me earlier that day. 

Monday, January 24, 2005

Sacramento, CA

PEACE TRAIN to DC Mission Accomplished

At 7:04 A.M. Pacific Time, Monday, January 24th, the PEACE TRAIN to DC mission was completed. After a journey of over 6000 miles from the west coast to Washington D.C. and back to demonstrate travel using 50% less petroleum per passenger mile, and to deliver a letter signed by PEACE TRAIN riders demanding PEACE THROUGH CONSERVATION, the PEACE TRAIN to DC Mission is a complete success.

January 12, 2007

Dear Ms. Matsui,

I am hosting a PEACE TRAIN to DC group from Sacramento and we will be there from late January 26th until the afternoon of January 30th, 2007. We would very much appreciate an appointment to meet with you to discuss the following issues of importance to us: 



Impeachment hearings

Criminal charges

Withdrawal and Occupation

Energy and climate change

Consumption is the problem

Carbon tax

55 MPH speed limit

Public transportation


Solar Steam Train

Levees and flood risk

Public transportation 

Pedestrian and cyclist rights

War on US 

Medical Marijuana - stop DEA raids

Adult use – tax and regulate marijuana

Failed drug war

Non-violent offenders in prison – treatment instead

We are traveling a long way to join thousands of others for a March on the 27th and hope to secure an appointment to meet with you on the 29th, but will appreciate any available time you have during our visit. 

Thank you,

Tim Castleman

Dear Medea Benjamin,

I am writing to urge that you discontinue encouraging jet air travel on your website and instead encourage travelers to take the train instead.

The science is in, climate change induced by global warming will change life as we know it on earth. 

Pardon the pun, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand how thousands of jets burning kerosene by the ton could have an impact on our atmosphere. Visible evidence commonly known as contrails is readily available on any clear day, and scientific studies conclude the greenhouse effect attributable to jets is two to five times that of other forms of transportation burning the same amount fuel. 

Peace Training

YOUR travel choice matters.

We don't have time to not have time.

Trains use half as much energy and don't leave contrails.

Jet contrails and emissions double the greenhouse effect of burning fossil fuels on the surface.

Most locomotives in service now could readily run on vegetable oil pulling trains in excess of 100 MPH.

Recruit having second thoughts

On the Peace Train to DC I met 19 year old Jeremy Little traveling from Emeryville, CA to Naperville, IL who is having second thoughts about his delayed enlistment in the Air Force. 

In the family tradition, at age 17 Jeremy signed up on the delayed enlistment program. Jeremy then went on to finish High School with a 3.8 grade point average, a 29 ACT score and 1400 on his SAT's. 

A little over a year ago Jeremy lost his Mom to suicide, and he was on the train to Naperville, IL. to attend another relative's funeral.

Nine months after his Mom passed, Jeremy's dad remarried and the new family had no room in the house for Jeremy, he is now living where he can, working as he can, and wishes he could go to college instead of Iraq.

In Jeremy's first brush with the law he was caught in a park with a pipe and is now on court supervision until he reports for duty in the military. Now he is having second thoughts and would rather go to school. 

Dear Friends,

The Peace Train to DC 2007 journey was fantastic! We traveled about 6000 miles in 6 nights and marched with record numbers to surround the Capitol for the first time in history on January 27th, then met with our representatives in congress on Monday, January 29th. 

I have modified the website to provide a perpetual signpost to sustainable travel,

Photo album with pix taken along the way are linked from the site.  Attached is one that makes the point quite well.

Peace Training:

YOUR travel choice matters.

We don't have time to not have time.

Trains use half as much energy and don't leave contrails.

Jet contrails and emissions double the greenhouse effect of burning fossil fuels on the surface.

Most locomotives in service now could readily run on vegetable oil pulling trains in excess of 100 MPH.

Tim Castleman

Leaving the energy equation aside, here are three more reasons taking a train instead of flying makes sense.

When I take the train instead of flying my financial support is shifted causing a doubling effect. For each dollar not spent on flying, one is spent on rail, thus achieving a $2 impact for each $1 out of my pocket. 

By creating demand for rail, while decreasing demand for air, public investment in infrastructure also shifts. Greater investment into rail will result in more reliable and higher quality service while simultaneously reducing the investment into infrastructure for air travel, thus reducing the quality of service for air travel and making rail more attractive.

Climate change is caused by emissions from burning fossil fuels. Jets burn a crude form similar to kerosene in quantities so vast they are measured by tons rather than gallons. The emissions are deposited freely upon the neighborhoods below until sufficient altitude is reached to suspend them in the upper atmosphere, where they combine and contribute to the greenhouse effect that scientists say is causing global warming.

Jet Air Travel

By Tim Castleman



Jet air travel has become the standard way to move people and goods quickly from point A to point B, but it is also the most polluting and energy-intensive way. Consider these figures:


Average BTU* Consumed Per Passenger Mile By Mode of Travel:


SUV: 4,591

Air: 4,123

Bus: 3,729

Car: 3,672

Train: 2,138


* BTU: British Thermal Unit, a measure of energy.


Note that the United States alone burns about 15 BILLION gallons of jet fuel each year (1.5 million barrels, each day). We dump 65 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the air we breathe each year from jet air travel alone. (that's 65 million metric tons X 2200 = 143,000,000,000 pounds. Into. The. Air. We. Breathe.) This does NOT include the N0x, VOCs, PM, Sulfur and Lead -- which are the really nasty toxins released for our "convenience" that are largely responsible for many illnesses and cancers found in our population today. Carbon dioxide is the invisible pollutant that is chiefly responsible for Climate Change (often called Global Warming).


Of course cars and trucks contribute even more pollution, with gasoline contributing five times that amount (501 million metric tons) and Diesel almost double that (108 million metric tons), but remember cars and trucks transport most of three hundred million people each day while jet air travel only serves about two million each day; besides, this rant is mostly about jet air travel, not cars and trucks (a whole other rant).


OK, so these numbers are a bit mind-boggling. The bottom line is that jet air travel uses the most energy to transport the fewest people and dumps millions of tons of pollution into the air in the process.


It is little wonder that jet air travel is so heavily subsidized by the US Government. Every year taxpayers' elected representatives hand over $8 Billion dollars in subsidies to the airline industry! Since 9/11/01 we have padded its budgets with over $15 Billion dollars just so that one out of 150 Americans can fly each day. By the way, most of these high-fliers are corporate and government business travelers, not regular folks out sightseeing or on vacation.


Think about these facts. Someday, someone will have to pay for our excesses. Maybe it would be better to plan fewer trips and when we do travel to allow more time, and take the train instead of flying Your grandkids may have a chance to thank you.


Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics


The top five American cities with air unhealthy to breathe are ALL in California. Topping the list are Riverside/San Bernardino, Fresno and Bakersfield, with over 400 days out of 730 that the air was deemed "unhealthy" to breathe. Following at Number 4 is Los Angeles/Long Beach with 255 days, and Sacramento at Number 5, with 163. Friends in Oakland: Your city rings in at Number 48 on the list, tied with Indianapolis.


Source: STPP Report: Clearing the Air


By the way, it has been recently reported that 191 million Americans are driving 201 million vehicles. Hey, that's more vehicles than drivers! What owns who here? I can't resist mentioning that the poorest Americans spend the largest part of their income (40%) on private transportation, while the average American family spends 18.3% of their income on the care and feeding of their private transportation.


Source: STPP Report: Transportation Costs and the American Dream


Let's not forget that the US Government is spending $1 Billion dollars each week to secure "vital American interests" in the Middle East so that we can keep all this insanity going! Do we really have to keep racing those cars, trucks and SUVs around as fast as possible, one person per vehicle, an average of four trips each day, and flying those heavily-subsidized jet airplanes every time we "need" to go somewhere in a hurry? Are we Americans so "unique", and our "needs" and "work" so special, that we are willing to keep funding the petroleum warlords and to keep this brutal assault on humanity and on Earth going?


Hurry -- let's get it over with.


Tim Castleman

1 private jet can travel 2000 miles on 1300 gallons of fuel, which works out to 1.53 gallons per mile. Using 135,000 btu per gallon, the jet uses 206, 550 btu per mile. Fully loaded with 7 passengers it will consume 29,507 btu per passenger mile, with 6 it is 34,425 btu ppm.

A Boeing 737-500 jet airliner can travel 2400 miles on 6300 gallons of fuel, which works out to 2.78 gallons per mile. Using 135,000 btu per gallon, the jet uses 375,300 btu per mile. Fully loaded in standard configuration it can carry 123 passengers which works out to 3,051 btu per passenger mile when every seat is full. At 80% of capacity (98 passengers) it is 3,829 btu ppm and at 60% (74 passengers) it is 5,071 btu ppm.

The Boeing 737-800 improved efficiency to about 2.25 gallons per mile and added more seats so now with all 162 seats full consumes a thrift 1,875 btu ppm, at 80% (130 passengers) consumption goes up to 2,336 btu ppm and at 60% (97 passengers) it is 3,131 btu ppm

All of these cases assume a trip the full range, efficiency suffers dramatically with extra take-offs on flights under the max range as they consume more "first hour" fuel. This is important as short trips can only be more costly in terms of fuel consumption per passenger mile. Actual consumption figures from Bureua of Transportation Statistics for 2006 was 3,070 btu ppm for domestic air travel.

Energy consumption for Amtrak has consistently ranged between 2,000 and 2,300 btu per passenger mile from 1975 through 2005. Two things important to note are that trains often run nearly empty these past 30 years and there has not been much innovation as resources have been poured into cars and jets.

Data sources:, Aircraft Performance Data: Westwind 1