Nonprofit plans historic train ride aboard 1950s observation car

  • Midwest Rail Rangers, a nonprofit organization, is organizing a special round-trip rail journey from Chicago Union Station down to Carbondale on Saturday, June 8.

    Midwest Rail Rangers, a nonprofit organization, is organizing a special round-trip rail journey from Chicago Union Station down to Carbondale on Saturday, June 8. Courtesy of Midwest Rail Rangers

  • Travelers will get the chance to travel in style aboard private railcar "Hollywood Beach" on June 8.

    Travelers will get the chance to travel in style aboard private railcar "Hollywood Beach" on June 8. Courtesy of Midwest Rail Rangers

 
Submitted by Midwest Rail Rangers
Updated 4/15/2019 12:43 PM

If you're looking to feel like a true "Rail Baron" of yesteryear while the cornfields and farms of Illinois zip by outside your window, then the Midwest Rail Rangers have a trip for you!

This 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, which provides live onboard educational programs to passengers, has organized a special round-trip rail journey from Chicago Union Station down to Carbondale on Saturday, June 8.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The trip departs Chicago Union Station at 8:15 a.m. Passengers will be guaranteed a seat in "Hollywood Beach," this sun lounge-sleeper car was built in 1956 by Pullman Standard for Seaboard's Silver Meteor service between New York City and Florida.

The car was also subsequently used by the Seaboard Coast Line and Amtrak. The luxurious lounge section features oversize windows that curve into the roofline, and the remainder of the car contains of five double bedrooms.

Travelers will arrive in Carbondale at 1:45 p.m. and have a little more than two hours to walk around town. The return journey leaves at 4:15 p.m. and is scheduled to return to Union Station just before 10 p.m. the same night.

Midwest Rail Rangers President Robert Tabern explains, "It's not so much the destination here -- it's the journey. The chance to ride in a luxurious railcar that was running in the 1950s is becoming less and less of an opportunity for today's passengers. I recommend people ride now before trips like this become too expensive for car owners to offer to the general public. Who doesn't want to feel like a rail king for a day?"

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Tickets for the trip are just $298 for the 14-hour train ride and light snacks served aboard.

Passengers who are looking for an even more unique experience can also "upgrade" to one of four Pullman bedroom accommodations on the car, which they can occupy the night before or the night after the trip in Chicago for just $250 per person double occupancy. The car will be parked in Amtrak's Chicago Yards overnight.

For more information about the trip and to purchase your tickets, contact Keith White at onecniccat@prodigy.net or call (708) 446-1269.

A portion of each ticket sold goes to support the Midwest Rail Rangers, which will be providing ongoing commentary for passengers on this trip about many of the trackside towns along the old Illinois Central Route between Chicago and Carbondale.

The Midwest Rail Rangers are also a regular fixture on the South Shore Line, providing commentary to passengers between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana two to three weekends per month year-round. Details about the group can be found at www.RailRangers.org.

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