Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #38 – 11/21/2021: Midwest Rail Rangers Announce Winter/Spring 2021-22 South Shore Schedule

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Midwest Rail Rangers Board and Interpretive Guides would like to wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!  We are VERY thankful for all of you who attend our programs, buy our railroad route guide books, and make donations to keep us rolling. We are also thankful to our wonderful partners such as the 20th Century Railroad Club, Indiana Dunes State Park, NICTD/South Shore Line, Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad, Zephyr Route Tours, Paxrail, Friends of the 261, and our many other private rail groups that we have and will continue to work with.

This year we are EXTRA thankful to have been able to resume our onboard educational programs after quite a long hiatus during the start of COVID-19.  Last year at this time, we didn’t know if or when we would be able to see you again. However, we got rolling mid-year… returning to an outreach event in Green Bay over the summer… resuming several South Shore Line trips per month starting in July… having a series of private car trips between St. Louis and Kansas City – also in July… and going on two trips with the 20th Century Railroad Club in September and October.

2022 plans for the Midwest Rail Rangers are already in the works… and we look forward to a lot of exciting adventures together.

Over the upcoming winter… our popular onboard educational programs on the South Shore Line will be our focus.

Join us on any of these dates:

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Thursday trips will operate roundtrip on the South Shore  Line between Chicago and Michigan City, Indiana.  Saturday trips will operate on the South Shore Line between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana. More details below and on our website.  Hope to see you enjoying the Indiana Dunes by train this winter!

AND… We look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday, December 4th at the Friends of the 261 North Pole Express Train in St. Paul, Minnesota! We will have Midwest Rail Rangers Guides on their 10:00AM, 11:30AM, and 1:00PM departures serving as car hosts. We did receive some calls about this… and want to report that all tickets for this day are SOLD OUT already.  But, we look forward to seeing all of those who were lucky enough to get tickets.

ALSO… Are you or someone you know planning an Amtrak trip in 2022? Please consider purchasing one of our railroad route guidebooks as a Christmas gift! Information is below. This way you can “take us with you”… knowing about everything outside your window. We have traditional book formats for most Amtrak long distance routes… as well as e-books.  Some sections even have MP3 podcasts available. Details below. Not only will you have a fun and unique gift… but your purchase helps to support the Midwest Rail Rangers.

Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #37 – 10/10/2021: Midwest Rail Rangers Indiana Dunes Open House on October 20th

Sunday, October 10, 2021

The Midwest Rail Rangers have presented year-round onboard educational programs on the South Shore Line since August 2017. Interpretive Guides give talks to passengers about the history of the south side of Chicago, the historic steel-making region of Northwest Indiana, the Indiana Dunes State and National Park, and the rural farming region of La Porte and St. Joseph County. Since June 2019, our programs have also been an official interpretive program of Indiana Dunes State Park, too.

And now… we will be hosting our very first “open house” event at Indiana Dunes State Park… and you’re invited.

Midwest Rail Rangers Interpretive Guides will be presenting a newly designed slide show about the Midwest Rail Rangers program on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at both 2:00pm and 5:30pm. The programs are designed for both the general public who are interested in learning about what we do on the South Shore Line… as well as for those who might be interested in becoming one of our Interpretive Guide Trainees.

Our “open house” for Midwest Rail Rangers on the South Shore Line will take place at the Indiana Dunes State Park Nature Center located at the far north end of Indiana State Highway 49.

In addition to the “open house” on October 20th, you can join the Midwest Rail Rangers for programs aboard the South Shore Line on October 16, October 21, November 4, and November 13. Programs on October 16 and November 13 will operate between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana. Programs on October 21 and November 4 will operate between Chicago and Michigan City, Indiana. Program times and details are posted below, and can be found online on our website:  www.DunesTrain.com

We look forward to seeing you at our “open house” or on the train.

Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #36 – 9/21/2021: Rail Rangers & 20th Century RR Club Heading to Indiana, Michigan, Springfield IL

uesday, September 21, 2021

Over the past six years, the Midwest Rail Rangers have been partners with the 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago, which plans excursions to fun locations across the region. Guides with the Midwest Rail Rangers ride along on the trip to provide route guide handouts to passengers, serve as car hosts, and even give an onboard educational program with narration about everything that is going on outside the window. Joe Kuczysnki, who serves as both a Midwest Rail Rangers Guide and 20th Century Board Member, coordinates efforts.

While the COVID-19 Pandemic put a stop to trips in 2020… two excursions are planned for this fall.

The 20th Century Railroad Club reports that next Saturday’s trip (September 25) to Michigan and Indiana is now totally SOLD OUT. Passengers will ride both Amtrak’s Wolverine train and the NICTD’s South Shore Line to visit the National New York Central Museum and Studebaker Museum. Midwest Rail Rangers Vice President Robert Neil will serve as Interpretive Guide on this trip.

There is still limited availability on the October 23 trip to Springfield, Illinois. This day trip to Illinois’ Capitol City leaves Union Station at 9:25am and arrives back at 8:40pm. Passengers will have their chance to tour the Abraham Lincoln Library, National Historic Site, Old Courthouse, or much more during the four to five hours in Springfield, Illinois.

For more information and to make reservations click here:

https://20thcentury.org/resources/Documents/21-B%20Springfield%20Flyer.pdf

During the months ahead, the 20th Century Railroad Club and the Midwest Rail Rangers will be planning out their 2022 schedule. This will include some day trips and possible one or two overnight trips across the area. If you have any ideas for trips you’d like us to consider, email us at: board@railrangers.org.

Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #35 – 8/26/2021: Ride for free with the Midwest Rail Rangers on Eastbound Weekday Trips on the South Shore – Sept 1 to Oct 31, 2021

Thursday, August 26, 2021 The Midwest Rail Rangers will continue to be busy this summer and fall by providing onboard educational programs on the South Shore Line. And now… YOU can ride with us for free. Here’s how: To show appreciation for passengers continuing to utilize the South Shore Line throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and welcome those who are new or just returning, the SSL announces all weekday (Monday through Friday) eastbound trips will be free throughout the months of September and October 2021. The eastbound free rides will begin Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 and last through Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, excluding weekends. Passengers should simply board applicable weekday eastbound trains with no ticket purchase needed. Riders will be responsible for paying all applicable fares on weekend trips and weekday westbound trips. This means every regularly scheduled Thursday EASTBOUND Midwest Rail Rangers onboard educational program is free during the months of September and October. If you have never come out to see what we are all about… here is your chance. We think you will enjoy what we do… and that our narration will add a lot more to your train ride. Upcoming program dates on the South Shore Line include August 29, September 2, and September 19. Additional dates (now listed through the end of November 2021) are listed on our website… just head to www.railrangers.org and click on the “upcoming programs” tab.
If you are looking to make some memories this fall… consider a ride with the 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago. They are celebrating 50 years of organizing charters and special trips.  The Midwest Rail Rangers have been a partner of the 20th Century Railroad Club since our founding in 2015, with our Interpretive Guides riding along on most of their excursions. The 20th Century Railroad Club is currently taking reservations for the following day-trip excursions: SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2021ELKHART & SOUTH BEND TRAINS & CARSClick here for the trip planner and how to make reservations SATURDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2021SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOISClick here for the trip planner and how to make reservations Please consider purchasing a ticket and supporting our partners at the 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago.
Sincerely,Midwest Rail Rangers Board of Directors Robert Tabern – PresidentBob Neil – Vice-PresidentDave Poole – TreasurerKathy Bruecker – SecretaryKandace Tabern – Educational Officer Interpretive Guides:Fred Glure, Joe Kuczynski, Lowell Olberg, Steve Snyder & Bruce Stahl 

Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #34 – 7/31/2021: Return to South Shore ‘A Success’ & 20th Century Trips ‘Back on Track’

In-person educational programs conducted by the Midwest Rail Rangers aboard South Shore Line trains were “suspended” for a long fifteen-and-a-half months due to the COVID-19 Pandemic… but now, we are back!

Our first program took place on Thursday, July 1, 2021… with three of the five Board Members serving as Guides to make sure things went smoothly. A second program with Interpretive Guide Bruce Stahl as narrator, took place last weekend, also without any glitches.

Midwest Rail Rangers President Robert Tabern says, “We are very excited to be back on the South Shore Line and interacting with passengers once again. Things are not quite back to ‘normal’ – we must continue to wear masks when on trains and at the stations through at least September 13, 2021 – however being able to share all of the history and nature out the window… even with a mask on… is a wonderful thing. We really missed everyone… and based off the first two trips we have done in July… the riders have missed us too. We had several people who came out just to ride with us and hear our in-person programming. A mom and daughter drove down from Traverse City, Michigan on our July 1st trip. We will continue to present our programs in a safe and professional manner, as we always have done since partnering with the South Shore Line back in mid-2017.”

Two to three times per month, year-round, Interpretive Guides with the Midwest Rail Rangers will be riding onboard select trains between Chicago’s Millennium Station and South Bend, Indiana’s Airport Station. Topics discussed include anything from Chicago trivia to the historic steel-making area of Northwest Indiana, Indiana Dunes State and National Parks, and even information about the rural “breadbasket of America”, when passing through western LaPorte and St. Joseph Counties.

In addition to increased safety protocols, two other noticeable administrative changes are now in place. The Midwest Rail Rangers programs on the South Shore are now official interpretive programs of the Indiana Dunes State Park. During the Pandemic-induced pause, a formal deal was struck between the Midwest Rail Rangers Corporation and Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources. This is a true win-win for both organizations. Also, Thursdays have been added as a date where programs may take place on off-peak trains. This is something the Board had lobbied for, knowing not everyone is off only on just weekends, when programming had previously been offered. This move also makes it easier for volunteers who are free on weekdays, but not on Saturdays and Sundays due to their employment or other concerns.

A listing of our upcoming onboard educational programs on the South Shore Line are included in this news letter and are posted at www.railrangers.org.

We have more “good news” to share with you this afternoon, too… as the 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago, one of our closest partners, will return to doing a handful of daytrips this summer and fall. Since 2016, the Midwest Rail Rangers has provided our Interpretive Guides as “car hosts” for some of their excursions on Amtrak charters.

Reservations are NOW being taken for their first trip back… this will be a day-trip on Saturday, September 15, 2021 from Chicago to SW Michigan and NW Indiana. Passengers will get to ride both Amtrak and the South Shore Line… while visiting the National New York Central Museum in Elkhart, Indiana and also the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana. Box lunch included, too!

For more information click THIS LINK! Much like Midwest Rail Rangers and most 501(c)(3) non-profits around the country, the 20th Century Railroad Club was hit hard by the lack of funding received during the pandemic. Trip revenue is very important to the future of our organization and theirs. Please consider taking this wonderful day trip. An additional day trip to Springfield, Illinois with the 20th Century Railroad Club is planned for October. If all goes well, the 20th Century Railroad Club plans to resume is normal schedule of offering overnight excursions, come 2022.

Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #33 – 6/21/2021: Rail Rangers Return to In-Person Onboard Educational Programs

Monday, June 21, 2021

We at the Midwest Rail Rangers have some very exciting news to share with you… our in-person onboard educational programs are FINALLY returning!

Writing that sentence is something all of us on the Board of Directors have wanted to share for a very long time now. It is something we are excited sharing with you… as much as the announcement about the formation of our group that was made in July 2015… or the announcement we would be becoming our own independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in December 2018.

When the pandemic started, our in-person programs were going to be suspended for just 21 days… and everything was going to pass. Then, it was a month… then it was months. Every single month we carried on, never knowing when the thing was going to end because we were never really warned when the thing was going to begin. During that time, we found new ways to do things, we found new ways to reach our passengers (Rail Rangers on the Road virtual programs), we found new ways to communicate with you… and we found new ways to live as human beings. 

While we don’t know if the world will go back to “normal” tomorrow (our Guides will still have to wear masks when doing programs at least through September and we know not everyone feels comfortable traveling now)… we do indeed know the world is striving for a certain sense of normalcy… and we hope the return of our in-person programming will be part of that for you.

Our popular onboard educational programs will resume on the South Shore, effective Thursday, July 1st.  Additional program dates are shown below — we plan two to three trips per months. Our complete schedule of programs through November 30th are available on the Midwest Rail Rangers website. We will be doing programs on select Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Our Board and partners decided to add a weekday (aboard off-peak trains) into the mix for those who work on weekends, but want to hear our programming.

Our first onboard educational program aboard a private rail excursion will take place on Friday, July 23rd. Tickets are still available for the weekend round-trip between St. Louis, Missouri and Kansas City, Missouri. Additional private car trips through the summer and fall are also listed below. The Midwest Rail Rangers was founded in 2015 with the intention of providing narration aboard private rail trips.

Our partnership with the 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago to do onboard educational programs on Amtrak charters will resume this fall. One trip is scheduled for September 2021 and another trip is scheduled for October 2021; details are listed below. We look forward to putting together custom trips in 2022. This is the 20th Century’s 50th Anniversary Season.

Our outreach events will also kick-up in earnest starting next month. Robert Tabern, Director of Passenger Development for the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad (and President of the Midwest Rail Rangers) will be going on a multi-stop book signing tour for the book he co-wrote, “Mark Twain Zephyr: History, Restoration & Re-birth”. The book was written for the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad, with photographs and other assistance provided by the Midwest Rail Rangers. Stops include: Galesburg, IL; Burlington, IA; Mount Pleasant, IA; Fort Madison, IA; Keokuk, IA; Canton, MO; Quincy, IL; Louisiana, MO; Hannibal, MO; and St. Louis, MO.  Dates and times are posted on our website.

We want to thank you for your continued support during the very difficult time the past 15 months were. We hope our “Rail Rangers on the Road” virtual programming that we did was enjoyable and maybe in a small way helped you through everything. For now, we look forward to seeing you back on the rails whenever you are comfortable traveling again.

Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #32 – 5/23/2021

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Dear Friends and Supporters,

In a sign that things are starting to creep back to “normal”… the Midwest Rail Rangers are proud to announce that we are offering TWO private car trip coming up later this summer. These trips are just 8 weeks away (sorry for the short notice), which means the pre-sale to those on our Midwest Rail Rangers E-Newsletter this will only last a few day before we have to share the trip information with the general public. That means if you are interested — BOOK NOW (or at least by mid-week!).  We do expect both of these trips to SELL OUT very quickly since the number of private car trips offered this year is expected to be extremely limited across the Midwest.

Both trips offered below will be aboard “Hollywood Beach”… a beautiful 1956 observation car constructed for the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. As you can see by the photos of the car, it has some of the largest windows of any single-level passenger car. And, the dome-like ceiling lets you see pretty much in any direction. 

TRIP #1 : Friday, July 23 & Sunday, July 25, 2021

STL to KC (Friday) / Day on your own in KC (Saturday) / KC to STL (Sunday)

This excursion will depart St. Louis, MO at 4:00pm CT on Friday, July 23. The train gets into Kansas City, MO at 9:40pm CT the same day. Passengers will have Saturday, July 24th on their own in Kansas City, or can take the second private car trip mentioned below. The return westbound trip will depart Kansas City, MO at 8:15am CT on Sunday, July 25. This train gets into St. Louis, MO at 1:55pm CT the same day. This trip primarily serves as a fundraiser for the restoration of Louisville Railroad Company’s Seaboard Observation Car #6400, built in 1939, which was just acquired by the railroad. Tickets are extremely limited but are open to the public. $500 for round-trip passage; absolutely no one-way fares available. When you are ready to book tickets, please contact Mr. John Owen at ontrackkentucky@gmail.com or (502) 416-8143. (Mention the Midwest Rail Rangers when you call to get the $500/pp fare). This excursion will feature author Robert Tabern aboard who is the Director of Passenger Development with the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad. He will give a brief talk about the railroad’s on-going efforts to rehabilitate the Mark Twain Zephyr. There will also be a book sale and signing of “Mark Twain Zephyr: History, Restoration, and Rebirth” Volume 1 & 2. Kandace Tabern, with the Midwest Rail Rangers will also be aboard providing brief historical narration about some of the towns along the route. This trip is expected to sell out quickly, so book now. The trip will only operate if a minimum number of passengers is reached to make costs at least break even; full refunds will be given if trip is cancelled by the excursion organizer. 

TRIP #2: Saturday, July 24, 2021

KC-STL-KC Roundtrip in a Day (Saturday)

This excursion is a daytrip from Kansas City to St. Louis and return. The train will depart Kansas City, MO at 8:15am and arrive in St. Louis at 1:55pm on Saturday, July 24, 2021. If the train is running on-time, passengers will only have about one-and-a-half hours of free time in St. Louis. Note, this is probably not enough time to make it over to the St. Louis Arch or other places for a tour, however you might have time to explore the old Union Station briefly. The train will then leave St. Louis, MO at 4:00pm CT, and arrive back in Kansas City at 9:40pm CT. Tickets are extremely limited but are open to the public. $349 for round-trip passage; no one-way fares available. Note that this an approximate 13½-hour, 540-mile-long roundtrip that begins and ends in Kansas City, MO on Saturday, July 24th. This excursion will feature author Robert Tabern aboard who is the Director of Passenger Development with the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad. He will give a brief talk about the railroad’s on-going efforts to rehabilitate the Mark Twain Zephyr. There will also be a book sale and signing of “Mark Twain Zephyr: History, Restoration, and Rebirth” Volume 1 & 2. Kandace Tabern, with the Midwest Rail Rangers will also be aboard providing brief historical narration about some of the towns along the route. When you are ready to book, please contact Mr. Keith White at onecniccat@prodigy.net or (708) 446-1269. (Mention the Midwest Rail Rangers when you call to get the $349/pp fare).  This trip is expected to sell out quickly, so book now. The trip will only operate if a minimum number of passengers is reached to make costs at least break even; full refunds will be given if trip is cancelled by excursion organizer. 

Note: Tickets are NOT SOLD through the Midwest Rail Rangers for these above trips.  For general questions about these excursions, contact Robert Tabern at (847) 271-1979.  To purchase tickets — contact names, e-mails, and phone numbers are given for each trip organizer/ticket agent in the paragraphs above (either Mr. Owen or Mr. White). AGAIN, we do expect these trips to SELL OUT quickly as they will be promoted by multiple organizations beginning mid next week. So those on our Midwest Rail Rangers E-Newsletter list need to book urgently. 

For both private car trips, meals commensurate to the time of the day are included in your fare, this also includes hors d’oeuvres, snacks, and drinks. No personal food or beverages will be allowed on the private car. Passengers are responsible for their own overnight lodging, meals, entertainment, and all other expenses when not aboard the train.

Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #31 – 5/10/2021

Monday, May 10, 2021

Dear Friends and Supporters,

If you are planning to head “UP NORTH” for the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend, we hope you will consider a stop off at the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad in Trego, WI… one of our key historical partners. The Midwest Rail Rangers will have our Interpretive Guides helping out at a special OPEN HOUSE EVENT taking place there.

Join us from 10:00AM to 4:00PM on Saturday, May 29th and Sunday, May 30th at the Wisconsin Great Northern Depot, N6639 Dilly Lake Road, Trego, WI, 54888.  We are located just off U.S. Highway 53 and U.S. Highway 63, between Spooner and Trego, WI.

Midwest Rail Rangers Guides and Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad Staff will be offering guided tours of the interior of the three passenger cars of the Mark Twain Zephyr (“Tom Sawyer”, “Huckleberry Finn”, and “Effie Dean/Car #500”, which have been undergoing a major rehabilitation this past year. See what incredible progress has been made in just really nine months of reconstruction.

Self-guided tours of the exterior of the cars and interior of the Museum Car/Display Car “Becky Thatcher” will also be available.

The Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad owns the Mark Twain Zephyr, while the Midwest Rail Rangers occasionally partners with them to enhance visitor’s historical knowledge about the train set and to provide special programming… much like we have succefully done with their ex-Santa Fe/Amtrak Hi-Level Lounge Car over the past two years. 

A book signing, model railroad exhibit, video presentations, and more will take place.

And yes, there is even such a thing as a “free lunch”!  From 11:00am (until gone) every day, stop by and grab your choice of a hot dog or sloppy joe sandwich with sides, on us.

MEANWHILE, IN OTHER NEWS…

We will be having a Midwest Rail Rangers Board Meeting on the evening of Monday, May 17th. Leaders of the group will be discussing what our Summer and Fall 2021 Season might look like on private rail cars, the South Shore Line, 20th Century Trips, and more.

Unfortunately, the TSA and FRA decided to extend their federal mask mandate for all train passengers through September 13, 2021.  Federal regulations apply to trains regardless of local or state mandates. The federal mandate on masks was initially set to expire later this week. 

Giving narration for a long period of time with a mask on can be quite a complicated task and is not something all of our Guides are or may be comfortable with.

On the flip side, others on our Board and many of the Guides are also eager to provide some programming to passengers this summer… at least in a limited capacity.

This is something we are seriously thinking over during the weeks ahead with our partners and will have more information for you in the next Midwest Rail Rangers E-Newsletter.

SOME GOOD NEWS…

“Save The Date” for July 23-25, 2021. We received word of a POSSIBLE private car trip opportunity the Midwest Rail Rangers MIGHT be involved in. Once it becomes more definite, we will pass the details along to you.  While not “rare mileage”, this is a route that the Midwest Rail Rangers has never provided an onboard educational program on before.

          Sincerely,

          Midwest Rail Rangers Board of Directors

          Robert Tabern, President

          Bob Neil, Vice President

          Dave Poole, Treasurer

          Kathy Bruecker, Secretary

          Kandace Tabern, Educational Officer

Roundhouse Newsletter Edition #30 – Join us in Green Bay, WI on April 17-18, 2021

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We are extremely happy to FINALLY announce a little return to “normal”… and hope that you can join us next weekend in Green Bay, Wisconsin for the first outreach event that the Midwest Rail Rangers will be participating in since the outbreak of COVID-19 more than 13 months ago.

You are invited to drop by the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad booth at the Titletown Train Show next Saturday (April 17, 2021) and Sunday (April 18, 2021) in Green Bay, Wisconsin. In addition to WGNRR staff who will be running the booth… we will have two Midwest Rail Rangers volunteers on hand to help promote all of the exciting things going on at the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad. The WGNRR purchased an Amtrak Pacific Parlour Car in 2019 and the famed Mark Twain Zephyr in 2020 (which is undergoing extensive renovations right now). The WGNRR has been kind enough to allow the Midwest Rail Rangers to host historical programs and open houses on select weekends. We look forward to continue working with them in the coming years.

Again, the MRR will not have our own booth this time — but will have Midwest Rail Rangers docents available at the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad booth. We will also be taking orders for the popular Mark Twain Zephyr book series that was released on March 1, 2021.

The Titletown Train Show will take place at the KI Convention Center in Downtown Green Bay. Public hours are 9AM – 5PM on Saturday (April 17th) and 10AM – 4PM on Sunday (April 18th). Please check out the Titletown Train Show’s website for directions, admission, and mask and other COVID-19 restrictions.

We have no information yet to share on re-starting the other aspects of the Midwest Rail Rangers programs. There are currently no private car trips, no South Shore trips, no 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago trips, nor other outreach events to announce for 2021.

Our virtual educational programs will continue, as they have during the pandemic. Two new programs will be produced per month through February 28, 2022… and there after, one new program per month. MRR “On the Road” Virtual Programs take place on select Sunday evenings at 7:00PM CT.

Our semi-annual Board Meeting will take place on Thursday, April 15th… and we might have more information to share there-after. We will be discussing protocol needed to re-start our programs on the South Shore Line.

      Sincerely,

      Midwest Rail Rangers Board of Directors


      Robert Tabern, President

      Bob Neil, Vice President

      Dave Poole, Treasurer

      Kathy Bruecker, Secretary

      Kandace Tabern, Educational Officer

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:

http://www.MTZstore.com to browse and make your purchase.

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

      Sincerely,

      Midwest Rail Rangers Board of Directors



      Robert Tabern, President

      Bob Neil, Vice President

      Dave Poole, Treasurer

      Kathy Bruecker, Secretary

      Kandace Tabern, Educational Officer