Get tickets for historic train rides aboard 1950s observation car

Take historic train rides aboard 1950s observation car

  • The "Hollywood Beach" train car features large picture windows and overhead, curved glass windows.

    The "Hollywood Beach" train car features large picture windows and overhead, curved glass windows. Courtesy of Midwest Rail Rangers

  • Author, rail aficionado and Midwest Rail Rangers guide Robert Tabern talks to riders about train car travel in the "Golden Age."

    Author, rail aficionado and Midwest Rail Rangers guide Robert Tabern talks to riders about train car travel in the "Golden Age." Courtesy of Midwest Rail Rangers

  • Travel in style with the "Hollywood Beach" private rail car. Three trips will be offered in September.

    Travel in style with the "Hollywood Beach" private rail car. Three trips will be offered in September. Courtesy of Midwest Rail Rangers

 
Midwest Rail Rangers submission
Updated 8/5/2019 12:07 PM

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to travel like a true "rail baron" of the 1940s or '50s?

Well, now you have the opportunity to do just that -- and in your own backyard -- thanks to a series of excursions aboard a historic rail car sponsored by the Midwest Rail Rangers, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit educational organization.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Midwest Rail Rangers will be partnering with the owner of "Hollywood Beach," a historic 1956 railroad passenger car, to give riders several rare opportunities to see what First Class travel was all about during the "Golden Age" of railroading in September.

The large picture windows and overhead, curved glass windows of the car make "Hollywood Beach" one of the most panoramic, single-level cars ever constructed. It's perfect for enjoying the picturesque Midwest countryside in the late summer and early fall.

The first guided excursion being offered takes place westbound between Chicago and Kansas City Sunday, Sept. 15, via Naperville, Mendota, Princeton, Galesburg, Fort Madison, Iowa, and La Plata, Missouri.

The train departs Chicago Union Station at 3 p.m. and arrives in Kansas City at 10 p.m.

Interpretive guides from the Midwest Rail Rangers will be aboard for most of the journey, providing stories about trackside towns the train is passing through.

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For example, did you know one of the deadliest coal mining disasters in American history took place near the rail line at Cherry, Illinois? Plus, just how muddy is the Mississippi River? And where can you still see remnants of an original 1926 highway tucked away in a farm field?

All those questions and more will be answered during the Midwest Rail Rangers' fun and educational narration program for passengers. There will plenty of time for Q&A, too.

Travelers will enjoy meal and drink service for the duration of their 450-mile ride.

Midwest Rail Rangers guides also will be riding eastbound from Kansas City to Chicago on "Hollywood Beach" Saturday, Sept. 21. That train departs Kansas City shortly after 7 a.m. and arrives in Chicago shortly after 3 p.m.

The price for the one-way trip between Chicago and Kansas City or Kansas City and Chicago is $299. Tickets are available for either date.

On Sunday, Sept. 22, "Hollywood Beach" will operate between Chicago and St. Louis (via Summit, Joliet, Dwight, Pontiac, Bloomington-Normal, Lincoln, Springfield, Carlinville and Alton). Passengers will depart Chicago Union Station at 9:25 a.m. and arrive in St. Louis Gateway Station at 3 p.m.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Interpretive guides from the Midwest Rail Rangers also will be aboard this trip to share stories about the historic Illinois & Michigan Canal, Route 66, Illinois' Coal Country, and Abraham Lincoln's legacy.

The price for this one-way trip between Chicago and St. Louis is $249. A one-way trip without narration is also available for passengers from St. Louis to Chicago on the afternoon of Saturday, Sept. 14, for the same price.

For more information, or to make your reservation for either the day-trip segments, contact Keith White at (708) 446-1269 or email onecniccat@prodigy.net.

For details, visit railrangers.org.