DES MOINES, Iowa — In a symbolic gesture to highlight the plight of the farmer, a special chartered passenger train dubbed the "Farm Aid Express" will carry Iowa farmers to the Farm Aid concert Sept. 22 in Champaign, Ill.
Passengers will board in Carroll and Clinton, Iowa, Sept. 21 before traveling to Chicago and then to Champaign, where the concert will be held at the University of Illinois. The train is being sponsored by the Des Moines Register.
The concert, planned by Illinois Gov. James Thompson and singer Willie Nelson, is intended to draw attention to the farmers' plight and raise money for the neediest of them.
The Chicago & North Western railroad will donate the train for the day, and farm rallies are expected along the central Iowa route, said Register Editor James P. Gannon, who originated the idea.
Besides transporting farmers, Gannon hopes the train will provide a forum for some mixing among agribusinessmen, bankers and politicians.
Dignitaries and community leaders have been invited to ride the train, including Agriculture Secretary John Block.