Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #29 — Rail Rangers Release Mark Twain Zephyr History Book / Website — February 11, 2021

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Thanks so much for continuing to follow the Midwest Rail Rangers. We are really hopeful for 2021 to be a “transition year”… where perhaps by this summer we can begin going back to our in-person onboard educational programs. Trust me… we are very eager to be back with you aboard doing narration… but we also have to be realistic and wait until our volunteers and rail partners feel the time is ready, too. Plus, we have to comply with state and even city restrictions on gatherings.. and wait until some of that changes. Each day hopefully we are getting closer to conquering COVID-19 as much as will be possible.

While we continue to work out the details on when our exact return dates will be to the South Shore Line, private rail excursions, Amtrak charters organized by the 20th Century Railroad Club, outreach events, and open house programs at the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad — we do have some exciting news to share.

The last 11 months that we have NOT been doing our “traditional” onboard educational programs… has let us at the Midwest Rail Rangers have the extra time to further partner with the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad to write a series of history books about the Mark Twain Zephyr. As you probably know, if you follow us, the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad acquired the Mark Twain Zephyr train set (and a spare car from the Pioneer Zephyr) over the summer… and has been working non-stop over the fall and winter in restoring it to operating condition. If everything goes as planned… that could happen in late 2021.

The Midwest Rail Rangers already has helped out with the Wisconsin Great Northern’s October 24-25, 2020 Mark Twain Zephyr Open House Event. And, in the future, the Midwest Rail Rangers look forward to raising donations for the “Becky Thatcher” Museum Car… and having our Interpretive Guides available at more open house events and during special history weekends.

Midwest Rail Rangers President Robert Tabern and Midwest Rail Rangers Educational Coordinator Kandace Tabern were challenged by the owners of the Wisconsin Great Northern to compile as much information as they could on the Mark Twain Zephyr. The result? A three book series all about the history of this legendary CB&Q train set. The first two books of the series will be published on March 1, 2021… with the third book to be published in Spring 2022. The first book covers the development of the CB&Q Zephyrs, a look at some of the Mark Twain Zephyr’s sister shovel-nose trains, exclusive photos of the building of the MTZ in Philadelphia, and minute-by-minute coverage of the train’s dedication in Hannibal, MO on October 25, 1935. The second book covers the 23 years that the Mark Twain Zephyr spent as part of the Burlington Route. You’ll be surprised at how many times it was pulled off its “home route” from Burlington, Iowa to St. Louis, Missouri. Also included is the 60 years the Mark Twain Zephyr has been in private ownership. Plus, detailed plans for reconstruction at the Wisconsin Great Northern. The third book (again, not available until Spring 2022) will cover the transportation of train set up to Wisconsin, exclusive photos of the renovation process, and photographs of the ribbon cutting and first few public rides.

For the next 48 hours we have a special deep discount PRE-SALE going on just for supporters of the Midwest Rail Rangers who subscribe to our e-Newsletter. Prices will be going up on Sunday… so get your book now! Prices vary and you are able to get the book in 3 different versions — Hardcover Premium Color, All-Color Paperback, and digital PDF E-book — so choose the one that works best for you.

Head over to our new Mark Twain Zephyr Store at: to browse and make your purchase.

A portion of all sales goes toward the restoration of the Mark Twain Zephyr


      Midwest Rail Rangers Board of Directors

      Robert Tabern, President

      Bob Neil, Vice President

      Dave Poole, Treasurer

      Kathy Bruecker, Secretary

      Kandace Tabern, Educational Officer