Rail Rangers: Four Private Rail Excursions Ahead in September & October 2016

Even though August has been a relatively quiet month for the APRHF Rail Rangers program, things will begin picking up shortly. Interpretive guides with the program will participate in four different private railcar excursions over a period of five weeks in September and October 2016. Limited tickets for each excursion are still available, but it’s best you act quick!  For more information about these trips and some of the other events we have planned… check out our website at www.railrangers.org and make sure you give us a “LIKE” on Facebook.  Here is a quick rundown of what we have planned this fall:

SEPTEMBER 9-11, 2016: CHICAGO to LA PLATA, MO Roundtrip 

The APRHF Rail Rangers have partnered up with Zephyr Route of Saint Charles, Illinois in order to bring the first-ever private railcar excursion to La Plata, Missouri. Guests will get to ride roundtrip on ex-Great Northern full-length dome car “Prairie View”, which will be located on the back of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief. The train will leave Chicago Union Station at 3:00pm CT on Friday, September 9, 2016, making stops in Naperville, Mendota, Princeton, Galesburg, and Fort Madison. The car will stop in La Plata, MO at approximately 7:51pm CT. Guests will be treated to two nights at the rail-themed Depot Inn & Suites in La Plata. On Saturday, September 10, 2016, travelers will participate in an all-day guided van tour of Missouri, with stops at the Disney sites in Marceline, an Amish bakery, an Amish dry goods store, and a cookout along the railroad tracks at the recently renovated Overlook Point. The van tour will be hosted by APRHF President Bob Cox, APRHF Vice-President Amy Cox, Rail Rangers Executive Director Robert Tabern, and Rail Rangers Chicago Coordinator Kandace Tabern.  Travelers will return to Chicago on the “Prairie View” on Sunday, September 11, 2016. Rail Rangers docents, including Interpretive Guide Robert Neil, will be providing narration and route guidebooks.


The APRHF Rail Rangers is teaming up with Tim Tennant and the Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad for the first time to bring an open-ended platform observation car to La Plata, Missouri. You’ll want to be part of this excursion — as you stand on the back platform and see farmers hard at work in the fields of Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri — while whizzing by at speeds of upto 90 miles per hour!  These types of cars are very rare… in fact… they were often used by Presidential candidates like Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman to make “whistle stop” tours of cities across the country.  The ex-Milwaukee Road “Montana” car is normally kept in Los Angeles, California and very rarely runs through the Midwest — making this trip even that much more special.  The “Montana” will be placed on the back of the Southwest Chief, leaving Chicago Union Station at 3:00pm on Saturday, October 1st. This car will load passengers (on request) at Naperville, Mendota, Princeton, Galesburg, and Fort Madison. Passengers will have the choice to de-train in either La Plata, MO or continue on to Kansas City, MO. Note this is a one-way trip and guests will be responsible for their own hotel accommodations and return to their city of origin.  This is a guided trip with APRHF Rail Rangers docents providing narration and route guide services.

OCTOBER 7 & 9, 2016 – CHICAGO to ST. PAUL, MN Roundtrip

The “Prairie View” will be running on the back of the Empire Builder during the second weekend of October

If you’re not able to make the September 7-9, 2016 excursion to La Plata, you will have a second opportunity to ride aboard the ex-Great Northern “Prairie View” dome car. APRHF Rail Rangers is teaming up with Zephyr Route once again to provide passengers with the chance to see the fall colors along the Mississippi River in Minnesota by private railcar. Ride from Chicago to St. Paul Union Depot on the back of Amtrak’s Empire Builder on Friday, October 7, 2016; this trip departs Chicago at 2:15pm and arrives in the Twin Cities at approximately 10:00pm. As part of the package, you will receive two nights accommodations in St. Paul, MN.  On Saturday, October 8th, participate in the Friends of the 261 trip to Glencoe, MN (see below), take an optional guided tour of the city, or spend time exploring on your own. This trip returns back to Chicago on Sunday, October 9, 2016. Other departure cities include Glenview, Milwaukee, Columbus, Portage, Wisconsin Dells, Tomah, LaCrosse, Winona, and Red Wing. This is a guided tour with APRHF Rail Rangers docents providing narration on both the northbound and southbound trips.


Rail Rangers is partnering again with the Friends of the 261

Is steam more your style than diesel? Than this is the trip you will want to take. Once again, the APRHF Rail Rangers is teaming up with the Friends of the 261, one of our charter partners, to have interpretive guides on one of their weekend trips. We will hit the rails on Saturday, October 8, 2016 for a rare-mileage steam excursion between Minneapolis Junction and Glencoe, MN. This trip will be running on portions of a rail line that hasn’t seen regular passenger service since 1969!  You will have the chance to ride on the BNSF, Canadian Pacific, and Twin Cities & Western. There are various options to choose from to as to what private car experience you are looking for. Premium Class features ex-Milwaukee Road Super Dome #53 and Skytop Observation Car Cedar Rapids.  Seats will also be for sale in private car Lamberts Point and ex-Santa Fe Big Dome Sky View. First Class guests will be seated in lounge car Wisconsin Valley. There will also be three coach cars on this trip. Guests in both dome cars will be provided with live narration from the Rail Rangers and get the first chance to buy a collectors rail routeguidebook that will be for sale on this trip.