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DOWNEASTER ANNIVERSARY

Children disembark the Amtrak Downeaster carrying items to donate for the U.S. Marine Service's Toys for Tots program, Friday, Dec. 15, 2006, in Portland, Maine. The event coincided with the Boston-to-Portland passenger train's fifth anniversary. (AP Photo by Robert F. Bukaty)

A bipartisan trio of New York congressional representatives hopes Amtrak will reconsider its decision to cancel the Marine Corps Toys for Tots train that operated in parts of upstate for nearly two decades. 

U.S. Reps. John Faso, Elise Stefanik and Paul Tonko sent a letter urging Amtrak President and CEO Richard Anderson to restore the Toys for Tots train. 

Earlier this year, Amtrak announced that it would no longer operate charter and special trains on its routes. This includes the Toys for Tots train. 

Amtrak released a statement last week explaining its decision to end its operation of the Toys for Tots train. 

"Amtrak's objective is to operate its core, scheduled train service safely, on time and efficiently, and must therefore decline to operate this charter," the company said. "Amtrak will continue to proudly support the Toys for Tots program through the collection of toys at participating stations." 

The upstate New York members of Congress explained that ending the train service will have a negative impact on families in need. 

"The benefit that the Toys for Tots charter brings to families in our region is immense," they wrote. "This program is about supporting our community and remembering people who are less fortunate during the holiday season. We ask you to consider the special circumstances involved here and act to preserve this unique and deeply valued Toys for Tots charter." 

The Toys for Tots program collects toys and other items for children. The train's deliveries benefited tens of thousands of children over the years. This year's run would have been the 20th year for the train.  

The members of Congress said discontinuing the charter service will prevent approximately 40,000 children and their families from receiving donating gifts, winter hats and gloves. 

"We have been deeply moved by the spirit of community and love for our children that are expressed through this program and we sincerely hope that the tremendous good it does will not be lost this holiday season," they added. 

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