23.8.12

DISPLAY SIGNALS AND RUN AS FIRST 381.

The Nebraska Zephyr will be returning to its raceway in September.  It's a joint venture of Amtrak, BNSF Railway, and the Illinois Railway Museum to raise money for railway preservation.
On each day, the Nebraska Zephyr will depart Chicago Union Station at 9:00AM and travel on BNSF's Mendota subdivision 162 miles to Galesburg, Illinois, arriving at 11:40AM. The Zephyr will depart Galesburg at 12:00PM for another 96 miles to Quincy, Illinois, turn on the wye at West Quincy and arrive back at Galesburg at 4:00PM. The Zephyr will then depart Galesburg at 4:20PM and arrive back at Chicago Union Station at 7:00PM, a total round trip of over 500 miles.
Note that outward timing: slightly better than a mile a minute from Chicago to Galesburg, in style.


The train has a proper parlor-observation car, and the dining car will be in operation.  The timings permit passengers along the Racetrack to catch the morning westbound Amtrak train at Naperville, Plano, Mendota or Princeton and board the special at Galesburg, or to make a round trip from Quincy or Macomb to Galesburg on the morning eastbound Amtrak train, then either do a Galesburg-Quincy round trip and return on the evening westbound train, or return to Quincy with the Macomb passengers finishing their trip on the evening eastbound train.


The Quincy trains are not as pretty, nor are the dining car and business class as elegant, but they are reliable.  The museum might have had connections with Amtrak in mind in offering the ticketing options it does.
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. Also, there are options to take Amtrak service to or from Galesburg one way and ride this excursion the other way. 
I wonder, though, if any of the burghers along the way, who might not know about this special operation, might be tempted to muse, "why can't we have trains like that on Amtrak?"

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