Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #4: New Private Car Trip Announced: Dome Car Ride for Just $75! Tickets Going Quick!

The Midwest Rail Rangers will partner with the Friends of the 261 on May 19, 2019!

The Midwest Rail Rangers will be partnering up with the Friends of the 261 once again coming up this spring!  Did you know that the Friends of the 261 was one of the original two private car partners with the Midwest Rail Rangers (the other partner is Zephyr Route Tours!).  In fact, five years before the Midwest Rail Rangers was even founded MRR President Robert Tabern was working with Friends of the 261 Steve Sandberg to provide route guides and route narration on various excursions across the Upper Midwest.


Well… get your calendars and credit cards out… because the Midwest Rail Rangers will be part of the Friends of the 261’s “Windy City Express”… which will operate on the back of Amtrak’s Empire Builder in about two-and-a-half months from now.


The eastbound portion of the excursion will depart St. Paul Union Depot in Minnesota on the morning of Thursday, May 16, 2019… en route to Milwaukee and Chicago later that afternoon.  You will have two days to explore around Chicago at your own pace.  The westbound portion of the excursion will depart Chicago Union Station in Illinois on the afternoon of Sunday, May 19, 2019… en route to Milwaukee later that afternoon and on to St. Paul, Minnesota later that evening.


This trip has been designed by the Friends of the 261 to be easily accessible for anyone living in the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, or Chicago… You can ride the entire round-trip between the Twin Cities and Milwaukee or Chicago on May 16th & May 19th for just $279 per person. Or ride one-way for $199 per person.  “Short haul” tickets are also available between Milwaukee and Chicago on May 16th… and between Chicago and Milwaukee on May 19th for just $75 per person.  What a great deal to ride in a vintage dome car!


The Midwest Rail Rangers will be participating in this excursion only on Sunday, May 19th between Chicago-Union Station, IL and Milwaukee, WI.  We will have three of our Interpretive Guides available to greet passengers at Union Station… and then we will be doing narration for the first 85 miles of the trip. Come out and learn about the rich history of Chicago… see the famous “Ferris Bueller Water Tower”‘… learn about the Armour Estate, which the train passes through… and what’s up with all the fields of cabbage in Racine County?  We’ll share more Milwaukee trivia and lore as we wind our way up across the Wisconsin border.  Free route guide handouts will be provided to all passengers who want one… we will also be selling our Chicago-Milwaukee ($20) and Chicago-St. Paul ($15/$35) route guide books so you will know about the rest of your journey up to the Twin Cities that evening.

$75 is a very good price for this one-way journey between Chicago and Milwaukee on Sunday, May 19th. We would love to fill up the whole dome car of fans who enjoy listening to the Midwest Rail Rangers On-Board Educational Programs!

The Friends of the 261’s new dome car “Silver Palace” will be featured on the eastbound trip to Chicago on Thursday, May 16th… while both “Silver Palace” and the Milwaukee Road full-length Super Dome will be featured on the westbound trip on Sunday, May 19th where the Midwest Rail Rangers will be narrating.

Tickets are expected to SELL OUT with-in weeks with this great $75 price between Chicago and Milwaukee… so call your friends… and make reservations very soon!!!   We do have one favor to ask though — when purchasing your tickets and when you ride — please tell the Friends of the 261 staff that you heard about this trip through the Midwest Rail Rangers. The more folks who mention the Rail Rangers… makes our partnership with our private car partners that much stronger… and that helps our 501(c)(3) non-profit group to have our guides on more excursions like this.


The Midwest Rail Rangers is also a proud supporter of the Friends of the 261’s North Pole Express Train. Every year, our Interpretive Guides put down their microphone for a day and help entertain passengers on this annual holiday steam train ride in St. Paul. We will be heading up there and working the train on Saturday, December 7, 2019 this year!  Tickets will go on sale this fall, but mark your calendar now and plan to join us for this special weekend, which serves as the most important fundraiser for Friends of the 261.

Finally — look for a very special edition of “The Roundhouse” coming out NEXT WEEK. We have some very exciting news to share about our future… as we transition into our own independent non-profit organization.

Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #3: Midwest Rail Rangers Teams with Zephyr Route to Present Narrated Dome Car Ride in October 2019

Want to ride more than 800 miles in a vintage 1950’s dome car? Tickets going QUICK!

The Midwest Rail Rangers is excited to partner with Zephyr Route tours once again in 2019 for an exciting dome car ride through Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

As you probably already know… private car trips on heritage equipment have become a lot more rare since Amtrak increased costs and put many new restrictions on private car owners. Despite this, Zephyr Route tours is proud to announce it will be organizing a dome car trip between Chicago-Union Station and St. Paul-Union Depot this fall. You can ride more than 800 miles in a former Great Northern full-length dome car.


This trip departs Chicago at 2:15PM CT on October 4, 2019. Passengers may also board at Glenview, Milwaukee, or the other Central Wisconsin stops by special arrangement. Arrive in St. Paul just after 10:00PM the same evening… but not before enjoying a dinner prepared freshly aboard the train. You can explore the Twin Cities on your own or take a city tour of St. Paul for a nominal additional charge on Saturday, October 5, 2019. You will re-board the dome car around 7:30AM CT on Sunday, October 6th and ride back to your starting location.

This will be a VERY RARE opportunity in 2019 to ride about a private rail excursion… so don’t miss out… book sooner than later… as this trip often fills up months in advance.


Volunteer Interpretive Guides with the Midwest Rail Rangers will be providing an onboard educational program for passengers on this excursion. Learn about the urban corridor between Chicago and Milwaukee… the very scenic “driftless region” of South Central Wisconsin… and lots of Mississippi River ‘lore as we travel the banks of the Mighty Mississippi during peak fall color season. There are a lot of stories you will enjoy hearing from the Midwest Rail Rangers in the 400+ miles between Chicago and St. Paul.

For more information, click here.

All ticket sales and trip logistics is handled by Zephyr Route Tours. The Midwest Rail Rangers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides onboard educational programs, but does not handle the sales of tickets for excursions.


We hope to see you aboard. Again, please book soon. Given this is one of the few private rail excursions out of Chicago in 2019 — tickets will go very fast. We want those on our Midwest Rail Rangers E-Newsletter “Round House” List to get the premium seats/spots.

Zephyr Route, headed by private car owner Mike Abernethy, is one of the charter partners with the Midwest Rail Rangers… and has used our services since our creation in July 2015. We value and thank Mike for all he does to keep private rail excursions alive! Midwest Rail Rangers have provided guides for Zephyr Route’s trips every year for the past five years now. One of our most popular trips was in August 2017 to see the total solar eclipse at a private horse farm in Booneville, MO.