Rail Rangers Release 2016 Schedule; Includes First-ever Private Car Trip to La Plata

Earlier this afternoon (Saturday, March 5th) on the APRHF “Let’s Talk Trains Show”, American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation Rail Rangers Executive Director Robert Tabern released the group’s 2016 preliminary schedule exclusively to host Nathan Chidester, a.k.a. “Kansas City Nathan”. Included in the schedule are plans for various events to be held on 12 separate dates during the course of this year; this includes three outreach events at train shows, eight dates for on-board interpretive programs to be presented on private railroad cars, and an all-day van tour of La Plata, MO. The special highlight of the year, of course, will be the first-ever private rail car excursion being offered between Chicago Union Station and La Plata, Missouri (ticket sales are limited to the first 10 people!!!). And remember, when you make your reservations, mentioned “APRHF Rail Rangers” and the railroad organizers will make a donation to our 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2016 – 34TH ANNUAL CHICAGOLAND RAILROADIANA TRAIN SHOW: APRHF Rail Rangers volunteers will have a booth at the 34th annual Chicagoland Railroadiana Train Show, which will be held from 9AM to 3PM on Sunday, April 17, 2016 at Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. This is one of the largest train shows in the Midwest that focuses on railroad collectible items instead of just model railroading. Browse through old timetables, signs, postcards, and other goodies… and be sure to stop by and chat with the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation volunteers to talk about their upcoming trips during the new year. Rail Rangers will also be selling various “Outside the Rails” railroad route guidebooks to help raise money for our organization. It’s a great time to get your route guide – without having to pay for shipping and handling – ahead of your spring or summer long-distance train ride. Interpretive guides will include Kathy Bruecker and Robert Neil.

SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2016 – ON BOARD INTERPRETIVE PROGRAM: CHICAGO-ST. LOUIS: The APRHF Rail Rangers’ first on-board interpretive program of 2016 will take place on Saturday, April 23, 2016. A full-length dome car will be placed on the back of Amtrak Train #303, The “Lincoln Service”. Guests will enjoy on-going narration from our guides for the entire 284-mile stretch and will have the chance to buy the new 202-page book, “Outside the Rails: A Rail Route Guide from Chicago to St. Louis”, written by Robert & Kandace Tabern. Learn more about the historic I&M Canal, Route 66, coal mining in Illinois, all the way down to the Mighty Mississippi and the St. Louis Gateway Arch. This excursion is being operated by “Zephyr Route” of St. Charles, Illinois. Tickets are being sold for $699.00 per person double occupancy and includes a ride to St. Louis on this date and a return on Sunday, April 24, 2016 (see below), plus one night lodging at the Double Tree Union Station Hotel in St. Louis. Contact Mike at (630) 542-3607 for additional information, or visit, www.zephyrroute.com. Interpretive guides include Robert Neil, Kandace Tabern, and Robert Tabern.

SUNDAY, APRIL 24, 2016 – ON BOARD INTERPRETIVE PROGRAM: ST. LOUIS-CHICAGO: The APRHF Rail Rangers’ will also be onboard for the return trip home on Sunday, April 24th, 2016. A full-length dome car will be placed on the back of Amtrak Train #304, The “Lincoln Service”. Guests will enjoy additional fun and educational stories from our guides for the entire 284-mile stretch and will have another chance to buy the new 202-page book, “Outside the Rails: A Rail Route Guide from Chicago to St. Louis”, written by Robert & Kandace Tabern. Learn more about the historic I&M Canal, Route 66, coal mining in Illinois, all the way down to the Mighty Mississippi and the St. Louis Gateway Arch. This excursion is being operated by “Zephyr Route” of St. Charles, Illinois. Tickets are being sold for $699.00 per person double occupancy and includes a ride to Chicago on this date and the trip down the day before on Saturday, April 23, 2016 (see above), plus one night lodging at the Double Tree Union Station Hotel in St. Louis. Contact Mike at (630) 542-3607 for additional information, or visit, www.zephyrroute.com. Interpretive guides include Robert Neil, Kandace Tabern, and Robert Tabern.

FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2016 – ON BOARD INTERPRETIVE PROGRAM: CHICAGO-KANSAS CITY: APRHF Rail Rangers welcomes our newest partner – American Rail Excursions, Inc. The private rail car group is offering a trip that will take visitors on a “River Cities Rail Tour”, visiting Saint Louis, Chicago, and Kansas City over the course of five days and four nights. For a more detailed itinerary, you can check out their website at www.americantraintrips.com. Interpretive guides Dave Poole and Joe Kuczynski will be aboard for the 430-mile stretch of rail between Chicago and Kansas City on Friday, June 3rd to tell passengers about what they are seeing out their window in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.

SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2016 – ON BOARD INTERPRETIVE PROGRAM: CHICAGO-HANNIBAL: All Aboard for an interesting day-time roundtrip between Chicago, Galesburg, and Quincy, Illinois… with a motorcoach extension to Hannibal, Missouri. This trip leaves Chicago at 7:35AM and gets to Quincy around NOON. APRHF Rail Rangers will be aboard to tell you interesting tales of the west suburbs of Chicago, the Cherry Hill Coal Mine, Galesburg, Macomb, and Mark Twain and the Mississippi River. Guests will then board a motorcoach to spend the afternoon in Hannibal, Missouri. APRHF Rail Rangers will greet passengers back aboard the train in Quincy, IL and provide more narration for the return to Chicago (estimated time back to the “Windy City” is just before 10PM). This excursion is being operated by “Zephyr Route” of St. Charles, Illinois. Tickets are being sold for $349.00 per person — which includes a gourmet breakfast and dinner onboard the upper level of the dome car. Contact Mike at (630) 542-3607 for additional information, or visit, www.zephyrroute.com. Special pricing might also be available for those who wish to ride this excursion to Galesburg, Illinois for the annual Galesburg Railroad Days Event. Interpretive guides include Fred Glure, Kandace Tabern, and Robert Tabern.
A very limited number of people will get to participate in a “first” — a private railcar excursion between Chicago and Missouri — this special event will take place the second weekend of September 2016

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2016 – ON BOARD INTERPRETIVE PROGRAM: CHICAGO-LA PLATA: This is the “must do” excursion of the year for anyone who wants to arrive in La Plata, MO the Santa Fe way — in a full-length dome car! For the first time ever, a private rail excursion is being offered between Union Station and La Plata, MO. Passengers will board Amtrak Train #3 “Southwest Chief” and enjoy the afternoon scenery through Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri. Passengers will enjoy narration and route guides provided by the APRHF Rail Rangers docents. A hearty welcome will greet you to La Plata, MO — and get ready for a weekend packed with train action. This excursion is being operated by “Zephyr Route” of St. Charles, Illinois. Pricing for tickets is still to be determined — but will include two nights at the Depot Inn & Suites and a guided tour of both railroad and non-railroad related La Plata-area sites on Saturday, September 10th (see below) and the return trip to Chicago on Sunday, September 11th (see below). Contact Mike at (630) 542-3607 for additional information, or visit, www.zephyrroute.com. This excursion will have a VERY LIMITED number of seats available for $699.00 per person double hotel occupancy. Travelers may also use this excursion to spend the weekend in Kansas City, MO; pricing for that is $775.00 double occupancy. Interpretive guides include Robert Neil, Kandace Tabern, and Robert Tabern.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2016 – ON BOARD INTERPRETIVE PROGRAM: THE LA PLATA AREA: Guests who participate in the above excursion will be treated to an all-day guided tour of the La Plata, Missouri area and the chance to “rub elbows” with the President and Vice-President of the American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation… and the Executive Director and Asst. Chicago Coordinator of the APRHF Rail Rangers program. This guided tour will included the various railroad-related sites of La Plata (Depot Inn, SilverRails Vineyards, Silver Rails Gallery & Memorial Library, Silver Rails Events Center, the Overlook Cabin, the Exhibition of Amtrak History, etc.) and various non-railroad related sites (Amish Bakery and Store, Thousand Hills State Park, etc.). This excursion is being operated by “Zephyr Route” of St. Charles, Illinois. Pricing for tickets is still to be determined — but will include two nights at the Depot Inn & Suites, the outbound trip to La Plata, MO on Friday, September 9th (see above) and the return trip to Chicago on Sunday, September 11th (see below). Contact Mike at (630) 542-3607 for additional information, or visit, www.zephyrroute.com. This excursion will have a VERY LIMITED number of seats available. Travelers may also use this excursion to spend the weekend in Kansas City, MO; pricing for that is $775.00 double occupancy. Interpretive guides include Amy Cox and Bob Cox.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2016 – ON BOARD INTERPRETIVE PROGRAM: LA PLATA-CHICAGO: After the full-day guided tour of La Plata and two nights at the Depot Inn & Suites (see above), passengers will leave La Plata, MO in style — traveling back to Chicago on a full-length dome car. APRHF Rail Rangers volunteers will be on-board the Southwest Chief, Train #4, for the return back through Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois. This excursion is being operated by “Zephyr Route” of St. Charles, Illinois. Pricing for tickets is still to be determined — but will include two nights at the Depot Inn & Suites, the trip outbound from Chicago on Friday, September 9th (see above), and a guided tour of both railroad and non-railroad related La Plata-area sites on Saturday, September 10th (see above). Contact Mike at (630) 542-3607 for additional information, or visit, www.zephyrroute.com. This excursion will have a VERY LIMITED number of seats available. Travelers may also use this excursion to spend the weekend in Kansas City, MO; pricing for that is $775.00 double occupancy. Interpretive guides include Robert Neil, Kandace Tabern, and Robert Tabern.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2016 – ON BOARD INTERPRETIVE PROGRAM: MILWAUKEE-ST.PAUL: What can beat the fall colors along the Mississippi River? Join the APRHF Rail Rangers for a special “leaf peeping” trip on the weekend of Friday, October 7, 2016. A full-length dome car will be placed on the back of Amtrak Train #7 – The “Empire Builder” – with passengers boarding in Chicago. APRHF Rail Rangers docents will board in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and provide commentary until sunset, and then remain onboard until the 10PM arrival at St. Paul Union Depot to provide suggestions on what to see in the Twin Cities. This excursion is being operated by “Zephyr Route” of St. Charles, Illinois. Pricing for tickets is $799 per person double occupancy — include two nights at the historic St. Paul Hotel and the return trip to Chicago on Sunday, October 9th (see below). Contact Mike at (630) 542-3607 for additional information, or visit, www.zephyrroute.com. Interpretive guides include Dave Poole, Kandace Tabern, and Robert Tabern.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2016 – ON BOARD INTERPRETIVE PROGRAM: ST. PAUL-MILWAUKEE: APRHF Rail Rangers volunteers will be onboard for the return trip home – as you ride in a full-length dome car on the back of the Empire Builder – Train #8 – between St. Paul Union Depot and Chicago Union Station. Docents will be aboard to tell you about the scenic Mississippi River and Lake Pepin areas, the “rolling hills” of Central Wisconsin, and the urban corridor between Milwaukee and Chicago. This excursion is being operated by “Zephyr Route” of St. Charles, Illinois. Pricing for tickets is $799 per person double occupancy — include two nights at the historic St. Paul Hotel and the outbound trip to St. Paul on Friday, October 7th (see above). Contact Mike at (630) 542-3607 for additional information, or visit, www.zephyrroute.com. Interpretive guides include Dave Poole, Kandace Tabern, and Robert Tabern.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2016 – OUTREACH PROGRAM: TRAINFEST 2016 – MILWAUKEE: It’s the world’s largest train show and the APRHF Rail Rangers will be back again for our second year! Come out and participate in an informal “meet and greet” with American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation volunteers. If you’re looking for that perfect Christmas gift — you will have your chance to buy various route guides (minus the shipping and handling!) from the popular “Outside the Rails” rail route guide series. A portion of the profits will be donated to the APRHF Rail Rangers program. By then, our volunteers might even be able to give you a sneak peek at some of the 2017 trips that we will have in the works. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget to visit the countless vendors and model railroad displays.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2016 – OUTREACH PROGRAM: TRAINFEST 2016 – MILWAUKEE: It’s the world’s largest train show and the APRHF Rail Rangers will be back again for our second year! Come out and participate in an informal “meet and greet” with American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation volunteers for a second day of action-packed fun. If you’re looking for that perfect Christmas gift — you will have your chance to buy various route guides (minus the shipping and handling!) from the popular “Outside the Rails” rail route guide series. A portion of the profits will be donated to the APRHF Rail Rangers program. By then, our volunteers might even be able to give you a sneak peek at some of the 2017 trips that we will have in the works. Oh, yeah, and don’t forget to visit the countless vendors and model railroad displays.

In addition to all of these programs, APRHF Rail Rangers also expects to add additional trips, once our other partners inform us of their schedules. This includes the Friends of the 261 based in Minneapolis Junction, Minnesota, and American Rail Excursions of Madison, Illinois (they’re our new partner for 2016 — more details on this coming soon!)