Mike Abernathy, of St. Charles, Illinois, owns “Zephyr Route”; he has been planning private rail car excursions out of the Chicago area since 2009. His ultimate goal is to raise enough money for the restoration of “Silver View”, an ex-CB&Q round-end dome car that he owns, and is currently being restored in Iowa. Instead of chartering out other rail cars, Abernathy plans for “Silver View” to be the premier venue to hold excursions on for “Zephyr Route”. You can learn more about his company by checking out its website — http://www.zephyrroute.com, This is the first time that Abernathy and “Zephyr Route” have teamed up with the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation for a historical program to be presented on an excursion. While the June 27th excursion is “SOLD OUT” — Abernathy is planning upcoming excursions this year to Denver and the Twin Cities. Details on these excursions are also listed on the website; if you book, make sure you mention you heard about the trip through the APRHF (the APRHF will get a donation from “Zephyr Route” for each booking!!!)
Both Robert & Kandace Tabern are veterans when it comes to narrating on both private rail cars and on the BNSF line between Chicago and Galesburg, Illinois. Since 2010, the Taberns have been doing interpretive programs for Friends of the 261, a rail history organization based in the Twin Cities. Robert can often be found narrating the route in the upper level of the dome car, while Kandace roams the train and interacts with children and teens aboard. The Taberns also currently serve as the Chicago Coordinators for the APRHF-sponsored Trails & Rails program that has been operating between Chicago and La Plata, Missouri on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief since May 2013. The Taberns have done more than 30 programs while serving as National Park Service volunteers aboard the train as it travels through Chicago, Galesburg, and La Plata. Robert and Kandace have also written a 350-page route guide about the ex-Burlington and ex-Santa Fe lines between Chicago and Galesburg. The Expanded Third Edition and Abbreviated Edition of “Outside the Rails: A Rails Route Guide from Chicago to La Plata, MO” were published in March 2015. Both are available for sale through http://www.outsidetherails.com.
Bob Cox, President of the APRHF, says he really looks forward to partnering with Mike Abernathy for the June 27th excursion across the heartland of Illinois — from Chicago to the Mississippi River, and hopes it leads to more opportunities for the APRHF to be involved in private rail car excursions in the future.