Non-profit plans historic train ride aboard 1950s observation car

MENDOTA - Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to travel like a true “rail baron” of the 1940s or 1950s? A rare opportunity to do just that will be coming through Mendota in September, as one of several excursions being offered aboard a historic rail car, sponsored by the Midwest Rail Rangers, a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization.

The Midwest Rail Rangers will partner with the owner of “Hollywood Beach,” a historic 1956 railroad passenger car to give riders this chance to experience what first-class travel was all about during the “Golden Age” of railroading. For those who remember this time period, a ride on the Hollywood Beach private car will no doubt bring back many memories of riding in the lap of luxury. Those too young to have ridden on a regular rail line are also invited aboard to see how much more comfortable and refined rail travel was “back in the day.”

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 is perfect for enjoying the picturesque Midwest countryside in the late summer and early fall seasons.

The first guided excursion being offered will take place westbound between Chicago and Kansas City on Sunday, Sept. 15 via Naperville, Mendota, Princeton, Galesburg, Fort Madison (Iowa), and La Plata (Missouri). The train will depart Chicago Union Station at 3 p.m. and arrive in Kansas City at 10 p.m.

Interpretive guides from the Midwest Rail Rangers will be aboard for most of the journey providing interesting stories about trackside towns the train is passing through. For example, 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? Those questions and more will be answered during the Midwest Rail Rangers’ fun and educational narration program for passengers. There will also be plenty of time for Q&A and travelers will be able to enjoy meal and drink service for the duration of their 450-mile-long ride.

Midwest Rail Rangers guides will also be riding eastbound from Kansas City to Chicago on the “Hollywood Beach” on Saturday, Sept. 21. That train departs Kansas City shortly after 7 a.m. and arrives in Chicago shortly after 3 p.m. Tickets are available for the Sept. 15 and the Sept. 21 trips.

This is a very rare and special experience and tickets are expected to sell very fast. For more information, ticket prices or to make a reservation for either day-trip segment, please contact Keith White at (708) 446-1269 or e-mail [email protected] Mention “Midwest Rail Rangers” to get a discounted price.


Video News
More In Local News