PHILADELPHIA -- Aboard the Liberty Bell Express train Saturday, Carolyn Pinckney, a known liberty sympathizer and full-time Bunker Hill Elementary School teacher in Northwest Washington, helped give tests on the District's history and its role as a colony without voting representation in Congress.

For Pinckney and the nearly 900 others on board this special Amtrak train, the key word was "statehood," the elusive goal of District residents and politicians who traveled here for a day of demonstrations to draw support for their cause.

"Taxation without representation was a bad idea {at the founding of the country} . . . and it's a bad idea now," said D.C. Mayor Marion Barry during a rally at the Liberty Bell Pavilion in the heart of Philadelphia. The crowd, swelled with the help of tourists and supporters of Philadelphia Mayor W. Wilson Goode, fanned away the heat and cheered the calls for statehood.

A statehood bill, sponsored by Del. Walter E. Fauntroy (D-D.C.), is pending in the House of Representatives but has fallen behind his plan to have a vote before July 4. Fauntroy, the trip organizer, is now hoping for a September vote.

Even if the bill passes the House, its supporters, such as Rep. William H. Gray III (D-Pa.), said today that the measure faces a tough fight in the Senate.

Gray was among several members of Congress who showed up to support the statehood drive. The trip also drew boxing champion Michael Spinks and professional golfer Lee Elder.

The crowd, waving banners and three-pointed colonial hats, marched through swarms of tourists at Independence Hall. The demonstrators released balloons and dumped symbolic crates into the Delaware River to recall the 1773 Boston Tea Party protest of British taxes.

Neither heat nor word of a possible setback in the move for statehood seemed to daunt the festive crowd, which included many of the 13 members of the D.C. Council, who had been encouraged by Fauntroy to buy and sell $44 round-trip tickets.

The train stopped in Baltimore and Wilmington, Del., to get the backing of local politicians. However, a planned endorsement of the District's statehood by Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer hit a snag late Friday.

Organizers of the event had said Schaefer would issue a "strongly worded" proclamation for statehood. Schaefer withdrew his participation after news media inquiries. Politicians in Maryland suburbs around Washington generally oppose statehood for the District because of fear that the city would impose a commuter tax on their residents who work in the city. Such a tax is now barred by Congress, which controls the city's purse strings under the District's limited home rule government.

Schaefer's office attributed his support to a "staff error."

Barry, interviewed aboard the train, said he was surprised by Schaefer's defection. "The issue is freedom, not money," he said. Barry said 43 states have some type of agreement in which they tax nonresidents. "We ought to have the right to decide."