Join the APRHF Rail Rangers on Saturday, September 22nd for a Dome Car Ride: Chicago to Quincy, IL Roundtrip in a Day

The American Passenger Rail Heritage Foundation’s Rail Rangers program will once again be teaming up with Zephyr Route Tours to present an onboard educational program for passengers aboard a historic 1950’s dome car round-trip between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois. Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 22nd, 2018. With Amtrak putting more and more restrictions on private car movements earlier this year — this is something that you should take full advantage of while you still can!


The excursion’s feature car will be the Milwaukee Road Super Dome #53, one of the ‘premium class’ cars owned by the Friends of the 261 organization. “A new outlook on happy travel” boosted the Milwaukee Road, with their first end-to-end dome cars built for any railroad. Built for the Milwaukee Road by Pullman Standard in 1952 as Super Dome 53, it is one of 10 ever built and is the heaviest passenger car ever built, weighing in at 104 tons. With over 85 feet of glass to look out on either side, you are sure to not miss a thing during the 500-mile trek across the nation’s breadbasket.

The journey departs Chicago Union Station shortly after 7:30am and returns just before 10:00pm. In the afternoon, passengers will have approximately three to four hours to enjoy the sights and sounds of Mark Twain’s Hometown of Hannibal, Missouri. A motorcoach transfer from Quincy to Hannibal is included in the package price; a riverboat ride on the Mississippi River is available for an extra $18 (highly recommended!). While on the train, enjoy freshly prepared meals each way.


On the westbound journey, you’ll learn interesting stories about everything passing by outside your window from APRHF Rail Rangers Executive Director Robert Tabern, APRHF Rail Rangers Chicago Coordinator Kandace Tabern, and Interpretive Guide Dave Poole. Landmarks include the BNSF “Racetrack” through the Western Suburbs of Chicago, Aurora, the filming site of “Superman: Man of Steel” in Plano, the Cherry Mine Disaster (we’ll even bring a prop along!), the two “high bridges” west of Princeton, Galesburg, Macomb, a beautifully restored grain mill, and much more! We’ll even point out the hidden spot where you can actually see camels in a pen along the tracks. The APRHF Rail Rangers will even have a limited supply of their Chicago to Quincy, IL railroad route guidebooks available onboard for a $15 donation to our 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your support helps pays for the research, handouts, and other costs of doing our programs. Enjoy casual conversation and one-on-one interactions with Interpretive Guide Poole on the eastbound trip.

Passengers may board the excursion in Downtown Chicago at Union Station (departure 7:37am, return 9:51pm), in the western suburbs at Naperville (departure 8:12am, return 9:03am), or out in Princeton (departure 9:23am, return 7:48pm). Please inquire with Zephyr Route directly about the possibilities of accessing the excursion at other stops along the route.


Price is $349 per person for Chicago and Naperville bookings; $199 for Princeton, IL bookings. For more information and to purchase your tickets, contact Zephyr Route tours directly at or (630) 542-3607.

Update on Summer & Fall 2017 APRHF Rail Rangers Private Rail Trips

It’s been a few months since you have heard from us at the APRHF Rail Rangers, but that is only because we been so busy working behind-the-scenes on the upcoming 2017 season.


Unfortunately, a lot of our private rail trips for 2017 have SOLD OUT months in advance — so your opportunities to ride along with us are going to be a little limited this summer and fall. This is why it’s important to act fast when our private rail partners begin their ticket sales. SOLD OUT excursions currently include the June 24, 2017 dome car trip between Chicago and Galesburg/Quincy (with motorcoach extension to the Mark Twain sites in Hannibal, MO); the August 19-22, 2017 dome car trip to La Plata, MO for the solar eclipse weekend; and the October 13-15, 2017 double dome car fall colors trip to St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN.  Don’t miss out again in the future… head over to our website ( and sign up for our E-newsletter. Those on our E-newsletter list are among the first to hear about new trips and usually have an early chance to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public.


We do have limited seating still available for this weekend’s (June 24, 2017) dome car trip, but only from Galesburg to Quincy (with motorcoach connection to the Mark Twain sites in Hannibal, MO).  Contact Zephyr Route Tours immediately to book this round-trip now before this also sells out soon.

We also have a special last-minute offer to share with you from our wonderful partners at American Rail Excursions.  Join the APRHF Rail Rangers for narration on a historic private rail car bound for Montana and Glacier National Park!   Interpretive Guides will be aboard on the “Montana & Glacier National Park” excursion presenting four separate programs, including on July 8 between St. Louis and Chicago, July 9 between Chicago and Milwaukee/St. Paul, July 15 between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Milwaukee/Chicago, and July 16 between Chicago and St. Louis, MO. In between, you are off to see the sites of the Great Northern and Glacier Park. For a detailed itinerary, click here. As a special offer just for APRHF Rail Rangers’ supporters, American Rail Excursions is offering $200.00 off for a roomette or double bedroom (while space remains available).  To get this deal, you must contact Roger Verbeeren at American Rail Excursions at


And last, but certainly not least, we are excited to announce that it looks like the APRHF Rail Rangers will be back on a public train route later this summer. Our organization got a lot of publicity for presenting onboard educational programs on the Hoosier State train between Lafayette, IN and Chicago. Those who maybe couldn’t afford to ride with us on private rail excursions enjoyed our presentations in the historic coach cars and dome car. Unfortunately, our partnership on this train with Iowa Pacific only lasted a few months before Amtrak re-claimed the route.  After four months now of negotiations, it looks like things are “a go” on a new public train route out of Chicago. Mark your calendar for Saturday, August 5th for our kick-off of this exciting effort.  What route?  Well, we we’re going to make you wait just a little longer until we get a new website and promotional pieces out there. Expect details to be posted on this site on July 5th. We think you will want to be a regular Rail Rangers rider on this line!  It’s got a lot of history and varied scenery a long the way for you to learn about.  Tickets begin at less than $10.