7.7.17

INTERPRETING THE HISTORY.

National Park Service volunteers have ridden the cross-country trains for years, including various bits of the Empire Builder route, the California Zephyr, the Southwest Chief, the Capitol Limited.

They might be coming next to the South Shore Line.
Rail Rangers’ Guides will be presenting programs two to three Saturdays per month. Upcoming dates in 2017 include: August 5th, August 26th, September 9th, September 23rd, October 21st, and October 28th. Additional fall and winter dates will be announced soon. Eastbound programs take place on Train #503, which departs Chicago-Millennium Station at 8:40am CT and arrives at South Bend Airport Station at 12:10pm ET. After an hour layover, Guides will present a program for westbound passengers on Train #506, which departs South Bend Airport at 1:05pm ET and arrives into Downtown Chicago at 2:39pm CT.
The program is not eligible for National Endowment grants, thus the Rail Rangers are using a more conventional form of crowd funding.
As a fundraiser for their efforts, the Rail Rangers have written and published a 120-page railroad route guide for the South Shore Line between Chicago and South Bend. Copies of “Outside the Rails: A Rail Route Guide from Chicago to South Bend Airport” are available for $20 at midwestrails.com. Guides will also be selling copies aboard select departures of the train. Money raised from the sale of the route guides goes towards funding the onboard educational programs.
The project isn't playing well with some riders, who, in the manner of commuters everywhere, would like some quiet time to nap or read or work at their laptops or chatter on their mobile devices.

But perhaps there's something more ambitious?  On Amtrak, the ranger guides conduct their narrations from the Sightseer Lounge.  I'm not proposing anything that fancy, but recall, dear reader, that South Bend Limiteds once did offer dining and lounge service.

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