Ride the rails on the Nebraska Zephyr Sept. 22-23

The Illinois Railway Museum, in cooperation with Amtrak and the BNSF Railway, will operate the Nebraska Zephyr, built in 1936 and powered by the 1940 vintage Burlington Route locomotive “Silver Pilot” on an all-day excursion between Chicago and Quincy, Ill., on Saturday, Sept. 22 and Sunday, Sept. 23. This will be the first time the Nebraska Zephyr has operated carrying passengers from Chicago Union Station to Galesburg, Ill., since it was retired in 1968 and the first time it has ever operated carrying passengers to Quincy, Ill.

The striking silver stainless steel Zephyr called the “Train of the Goddesses”, because the cars were named for Greek and Roman deities is still quite similar in style and décor to what passengers would have experienced while operating in service between Chicago and Lincoln, Neb. This will be a rare excursion reminiscent of the past that should not be missed.

On each day, the Nebraska Zephyr will depart Chicago Union Station at 9 a.m. and travel on the BNSF Railway 162 miles to Galesburg, Illinois, arriving at 11:40 a.m. The Zephyr will depart Galesburg at noon for the 96-mile trip to Quincy, Illinois where it will turn around and return to Galesburg arriving at 4 p.m. The Zephyr will then depart Galesburg at 4:20 p.m. and arrive back at Chicago Union Station at 7 p.m., a total round trip of over 500 miles.

The excursion will be split up into three ticketed segments. You will be able to purchase tickets for a single segment, any combination, or all three segments. This will provide many options including taking the first and third segments and visiting the City of Galesburg for the afternoon.

There is also an option to take regular Amtrak service to or from Galesburg one way and ride this excursion the other way. To ride the Nebraska Zephyr from Chicago all the way to Quincy and return to Chicago, three tickets would be needed, one for each segment.

This exceptional opportunity may not come around for another 44 years so now is the time to take advantage of coach seating starting at $129 or luxurious parlor seating starting at $229. Both classes will include meal service in the Dining Car “Ceres” which will be prepared by IRM's volunteers over the original charcoal grill.

Seating is very limited, so please do not delay. All proceeds benefit the continued restoration of the Nebraska Zephyr. For ticketing, contact Illinois Railway Museum by visiting or calling (815) 572-7001, ext. 261.

All schedules and times are subject to change without notice and there may be delays due to other rail traffic.

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