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Chef Madison Butler (Chef Madi for short) is the 2019 Summer by Rail intern! This year, the focus is on food destinations with a special focus on great food you can reach by train and public transportation. During this year’s trip, Chef Madi will sample regional cuisines, get behind the scenes in some great kitchens, and meet interesting people from Maine to California through a variety of routes, including Amtrak’s Downeaster, Northeast Regional service, the Crescent, the City of New Orleans and the Southwest Chief.

She is a graduate of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. She is passionate about creating fun menus that preserve artisanal methods while experimenting with new flavors. Hailing from the Bluegrass State, Madison is an advocate for sustainable agriculture and food accessibility. She completed training under Austin chefs Amy March,  Paul Qui, and Gregory Dishman, and has since pursued a variety of consultant and private chef roles internationally. When she isn’t assembling food trucks, tweaking software and training fry cooks, she can be found in friends’ restaurants. Madison also volunteers to prepare food for various groups and shelters to assist those who struggle with food security.

Chef Madi’s call to join the Rail Passenger Association was brought on by her interest in transportation by rail. After her childhood in Kentucky where public transit services are limited, she has gone on to ride internationally. She has continued her passion by trying to find rail routes to and from her culinary events and is deeply appreciative to do so now with this new experience. By fusing rail culture and food culture, she hopes to provide insight on accessible, sustainable experiences with each community’s special charm and individual transit needs.


“Summer By Rail” is perhaps the greatest internship in America. Started in 2016, each summer the Rail Passengers Association sends its paid intern correspondent on a month-long cross-country trip by train to see America. On their journey, the correspondents report on the rail passenger network from inside the train. They talk with passengers about how they use transportation to work, live and play. They meet with mayors and government officials in big cities and small towns on planning issues. And, they sample the local food, drinks, entertainment and recreation that is available through the passenger rail network. In 2016, we focused on biking and the outdoors, in 2017 two interns teamed up to look at different styles, architecture and fashion across the country, and last year Jacob Wallace went to 19 major, minor and independent league baseball stadiums to show us how accessible they were…or weren’t. In 2019, Rail Passengers has decided to focus on food. If you have any questions about the program or want to learn more about Summer by Rail, send us a note at

Check back often for blog post updates and follow us on Instagram @railpassengers.

— All Aboard and stay hungry!


The Rail Passengers Association is a nonprofit organization that works to expand and enhance train service in order to create “A Connected America” where all of us, rich or poor, rural or urban, are linked together. Rail Passengers works to rebuild our country’s infrastructure through public-private partnerships, and by amplifying the voice and influence of the American rail passenger giving them the power to improve transportation options in their communities.

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