As you probably have heard by now… record flooding is hitting parts of the Upper Midwest very hard. In fact, as I write this… Amtrak has announced that it will suspend operations of the famed California Zephyr between Chicago and Denver for the next couple of days due to deteriorating conditions and freight traffic in Iowa on the Union Pacific “detour route” that it had been using the last week or so. Well, all the flood waters will be heading south and east into the Mississippi River… eventually going down to New Orleans. In anticipation of this… emergency management officials have decided they will need to keep the spillways open for the next several months. This means the City of New Orleans will terminate in Jackson, Mississippi… with passengers being bused between there and New Orleans through at least June. Sadly, this will impact the private car trip that we had announced and were planning to do in partnership with the owner of “Hollywood Beach” on the weekend of May 4th and May 5th. This nearly sold-out trip is officially CANCELLED due to the flooding. We were looking forward to narrate for a select group of passengers between New Orleans and Memphis… but it was not meant to be.
But, we at the Midwest Rail Rangers are known for not giving up! So, we will be replacing the original trip we had planned with a special round-trip day-trip from Chicago down to Carbondale… also using “Hollywood Beach”. We want to give those of you on our “Roundhouse E-Newsletter” List the first crack at tickets… so mark your calendar for Saturday, June 8th… and below are the details and pricing that you need to know.
We will depart Chicago Union Station at 8:15am CT on the morning of Saturday, June 8th. An on-board educational program will be presented by the Midwest Rail Rangers for passengers in the lounge section of the car through the morning and early afternoon hours… as we roll south through Homewood, Kankakee, Gilman, Rantoul, Champaign-Urbana, Mattoon, Effingham, Centralia, and DuQuoin. Our experienced Interpretive Guides will tell you plenty of interesting stories about the towns that line the old Illinois Central main line. Learn about an Air Force Base that was established in Illinois at the height of World War I. Who was really behind the building of the Illinois Central? And hear stories about Illinois’ “coal country”.
Arrive in Carbondale around 1:45pm CT… where you will have approximately two hours to stretch your legs. There is a nearby Italian restaurant where you can get a bite to eat, too. Re-board around 4:15pm CT and head back north to the Windy City. Rail Rangers Interpretive Guides will remain aboard “Hollywood Beach” to answer any questions you might have about the passing landscape. Scheduled arrival time back into Chicago is at 9:45pm on the same day – Saturday, June 8th.
We have secured SPECIAL PRICING for those on our Midwest Rail Rangers “Roundhouse E-Newsletter” list for this trip… as well as those who follow our blog, Facebook site, and Twitter Feed. Those who call/write and mention that they heard about this trip through the Midwest Rail Rangers will be offered a discounted price of just $298 per person for the 15+ hour round-trip journey in one of America’s most exciting private cars. Again, you must mention Midwest Rail Rangers to get this special price. With such a good price and more than 600 people on our E-Newsletter List… tickets will go VERY QUICK. We recommend that you book your spot in the next 24 to 48 hours.
We also realize that the 8:15am arrival and 9:45pm return might be hard for those who live outside of the immediate Chicago area. Because of this… an extremely limited number of bedrooms will also be made available on the “Hollywood Beach” for passengers. Accommodations on the car are available the night before the trip (Friday, June 7) and/or the night after the trip (Saturday, June 8) for an additional $250 per person per night based on double occupancy. (Solo travelers may also occupy a room for $500 per single per night, or both nights for $1,000).
Checks payable thru:
“Keith’s Rail Way, LLC”
2904 Chevy Chase Lane
Naperville, IL 60564
This will be a very special trip that we look forward to offering you. In the almost five years that the Midwest Rail Rangers has been in operation… there have been NO private car day-trips from Chicago offered on the Chicago to Carbondale line. It may be that long again before something like this comes about… so jump on it!
Limited lounge space is also available on “Hollywood Beach” from St. Louis to Chicago on Friday, June 7th… and from Chicago to St. Louis on Sunday, June 9th. Tickets are just $149 per person, one-way. No narration or on-board educational programs will be provided on the St. Louis portions of this trip, unfortunately.