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plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3

Nebraska Zephyr Excursion

The Illinois Railway Museum, in cooperation with Amtrak and BNSF Railway, will operate the Nebraska Zephyr, powered by CB&Q 9911A "Silver Pilot", on an excursion between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois on September 22nd and 23rd.

Each day, the Nebraska Zephyr will depart Chicago Union Station at 9:00 AM 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.

There will be two classes of service, Coach and Parlor. Both classes will include meal service in the Dining Car "Ceres". Parlor class seating will be very limited.

Tickets will go on sale beginning the week of August 27th and prices will be available at that time.

For more information, please see the link below

»www.irm.org/events/zephyrexcursion.html

--Brian
--
============================
--Brian Plencner

E-Mail: CoasterBrian72Cancer@gmail.com
Note: Kill Cancer to Reply via e-mail


StepR
Code Warrior
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Elgin, IL

interesting, but where is the link to tickets and pricing?



plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3

StepR See Profile,

According to the information on the IRM webpage, tickets won't go on sale until early next week (they say the 27th). At that time, they will announce what the prices are, and probably have an online order form as well.

From what I have read, seating is very limited, so once they do go on sale, you should probably try to order them as soon as you can if you are interested in riding.

--Brian
--
============================
--Brian Plencner

E-Mail: CoasterBrian72Cancer@gmail.com
Note: Kill Cancer to Reply via e-mail



Jon
Premium
join:2001-01-20
Lisle, IL
reply to plencnerb

Is there anything interesting to do in Galesburg?
Is it a scenic ride?



plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3

said by Jon:

Is there anything interesting to do in Galesburg?
Is it a scenic ride?

As far as what there is to do in Galesburg? If I remember correctly, its not a far walk from the train station to the historic district, where there are a lot of restaurants, art galleries, and so on. Also, at (or about a block from) the train station is the Galesburg Railroad Museum. Its small, but I do know they have CB&Q #3006 on display.

More info on the Museum and the city in general can be found at the links below

»www.galesburgrailroadmuseum.org/index.html

»www.visitgalesburg.com/

The route that is being taken is the same route that Amtrak's #380 Illinois Zephyr takes. I have ridden that route a few times as one of the stops along that route is Macomb, IL (home of WIU, class of 1995).

The route mostly travels over the farmlands of western Illinois, and does pass through the following towns once you are west of Aurora: Sandwich, Plano, Mendota, Princeton and Kewanee.

--Brian
--
============================
--Brian Plencner

E-Mail: CoasterBrian72Cancer@gmail.com
Note: Kill Cancer to Reply via e-mail


Jon
Premium
join:2001-01-20
Lisle, IL
reply to plencnerb

Not much of a railroad buff. Not sure riding through the flat plains of IL would be very exciting. If you like trains though it sounds great. I would like to take a train ride cross-country some day. Maybe to the pacific northwest or maybe east. Something that goes through the mountains.

Don't think this one would interest me but thanks for pointing it out. Someone will enjoy it I'm sure.



StepR
Code Warrior
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Elgin, IL

I am reminded of a Mike Royko column from 1984 when he rode Amtrak across the country to go to the convention in San Francisco. All of a sudden some nearby German tourists stood up and exclaimed, " Mein Gott, when will it end?" Royko thought something terrible had happened, but the tourist was only frustrated with the endless waves of grain.

I think a trip as far as Galesburg will not draw such emotion. It will be just long enough to enjoy travel as it was 80 years ago. I imagine my wife and I dressing in period clothing enjoying the countryside go past while we enjoy the art deco interior.



jester121
Premium
join:2003-08-09
Lake Zurich, IL
reply to Jon

said by Jon:

Is there anything interesting to do in Galesburg?

Turning around to head back is the highlight.


VegasMan
Are We There Yet?
Premium
join:2002-11-17
Schaumburg, IL
Reviews:
·AT&T Midwest
reply to plencnerb

I was interested until I saw the prices. $800 r/t for two people out of my league.
Segment Miles Coach Parlor
Chicago to Galesburg 162 $129 $229
Galesburg to Quincy and return to Galesburg 200 $139 $239
Galesburg to Chicago 162 $129 $229
--
In need of a Vegas vacation.



plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3
reply to plencnerb

As VegasMan See Profile pointed out, the webpage that I referenced in my original post has been updated to show the prices, and when they go on sale.

I knew this was not going to be a cheep Excursion, but I did not think it would be that much.

To compare, I went to Amtrak's page, and looked up a one-way ticket between Chicago and Galesburg on the Illinois Zephyr route (which is the same route the Nebraska Zephyr is taking). The cost of that ticket is $27.00 for coach class. So, this trip is $102 more then that one way.

While you do get meal service in the Dining Car "Ceres" (which, I'm hoping for the price is included), I know I cannot see paying that kind of price. Sure, it would be a historic ride, but not for that kind of cash.

--Brian
--
============================
--Brian Plencner

E-Mail: CoasterBrian72Cancer@gmail.com
Note: Kill Cancer to Reply via e-mail



snipper_cr
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Wheaton, IL
reply to Jon

I see the plains a lot from 37,000 feet and the view isn't much better up there!

I think in this situation, the joy is more in the method of transportation than in the actual destination. I know plenty of railroad buffs that would jump on this in an instant (I have forwarded it to them). I think this will draw plenty of railroad buffs. But I agree, a trip through the mountains or along a coast would provide more to see.

To each their own.
--
The early bird catches the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
CPL:IA;ASEL/AMEL. CFI:ASE/AME; IA



Jon
Premium
join:2001-01-20
Lisle, IL
reply to VegasMan

said by VegasMan:

I was interested until I saw the prices. $800 r/t for two people out of my league.
Segment Miles Coach Parlor
Chicago to Galesburg 162 $129 $229
Galesburg to Quincy and return to Galesburg 200 $139 $239
Galesburg to Chicago 162 $129 $229

Yikes. that's expensive.

andyross
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-04
Schaumburg, IL
reply to plencnerb

I think the main key is that it's 'expensive' because it's partially fundraising for the IRM. Also, these older trains are not necessary cheap to run, and I assume there may also be insurance, fuel, and other higher-than-normal costs.



insomniac
Oh Yeah
Premium
join:2002-09-22
Naperville, IL
Reviews:
·Comcast

"Fundraiser" is the key word here, but it seems pricey even for that. I mean, I paid $40 for an IRM fundraiser to ride a set of 2200-series El cars around Chicago for a day, but even that was relatively reasonable.
--
If everything seems to be going well, you've obviously overlooked something.


Stevert

join:2001-10-23
Algonquin, IL
reply to plencnerb

Just bought my tickets for all three legs of the excursion. Yeah, it's expensive, but it's historically significant for a couple reasons. First, how often do you get to ride 75-year-old equipment outside a museum setting, and even more so, behind the last E5A locomotive in existence and without helper engines from the host railroad? Secondly, this route is the Zephyr's home rails. It provided service on this same route until it was retired in 1968. So it's like a homecoming of sorts.

As for the price, as already noted it's a fundraiser to provide for the ongoing maintenance of the Zephyr. The bad thing about a 75-year-old trainset is that things break, and when they do, you can't go to your local auto-parts store and pick up replacement parts.

And the insurance on these excursions is the real killer. Several years ago, the railroads raised their insurance requirements through the roof, which caused a big cutback in this type of excursion. At least one locomotive was even "re-retired" because of these high insurance rates (»en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SLSF_1522). My guess is that that's why the IRM site notes that this excursion is in cooperation with Amtrak, even though no Amtrak equipment will be used - IRM is probably able to somehow piggyback off Amtrak's insurance.

Being a railfan, for me this was a no-brainer. Yeah, it's a few dollars, but it's a rare opportunity that also helps preserve a unique piece of history.



plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3

I agree 100% with what you have said Stevert. Its trips like these that allow IRM (and others like it) to raise money to help keep equipment like this around for years to come.

Again, if I had the money, I would also be taking this trip, for all the reasons you said above.

--Brian


andyross
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-04
Schaumburg, IL
reply to plencnerb

And, it's also so much more expensive than regular Amtrak because it's 100% private, and not subsidized by several levels of government support.



plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3

1 edit
reply to plencnerb


Picture #1

Picture #2
 
The other thing I've been trying to figure out, but have not yet, is when IRM is going to move this from Union to Chicago before the excursion, as well as move it back to IRM afterwards.

The reason I say this is that the UP Line that they will most likely do this on runs between Union and West Chicago (the Belvidere sub), and then onto Chicago.

That line runs right though Elgin. In fact, you can get very close to the line on the Fox River Bike Trail between Elgin and South Elgin. To help show where I'm talking about, I've added two pictures. Picture #1 was taken from BING Maps. The green arrow is the Fox River Bike Trail, and the red arrow is the Belvidere sub (owned by the CPRR). The 2nd picture shows the general area in South Elgin, with the area from picture #1 generally inside the black box. By the way, north is at the bottom of the first picture (I flipped it to get a better view from bing's birds eye), and in the 2nd picture, north is at the top.

I was thinking that would allow some good photographs and or video while it was being moved.

However, I have not been able to figure that out yet. I suppose I could call IRM and ask, but I'm not sure if they would tell me.

So, if anyone does find out, let me know. If I find out myself, I'll post it as well.

--Brian

Stevert

join:2001-10-23
Algonquin, IL

said by plencnerb:

The other thing I've been trying to figure out, but have not yet, is when IRM is going to move this from Union to Chicago before the excursion, as well as move it back to IRM afterwards.

Brian,
I read somewhere that the deadhead to CUS was going to be on Friday 09/21, but no idea what time. It will have a UP motor on the point for the ATC on the Geneva sub.

I don't have any info on it's return to IRM, although I'm sure it'll have a UP motor on the point for that move as well.


StepR
Code Warrior
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Elgin, IL
reply to plencnerb

The Belvediere Line runs thru Elgin, north of Wing Park, then runs parallel to the Milwaukee Road line until both lines cross the river south of National Street at the US-20 overpass. It then runs to South Elgin. A photo on the bridge would be cool, and there a lot of wooded areas south of the bridge along the bike trail. However, it sounds like it will have a Union Pacific engine pulling it to Union Station. The question is whether the orinal engine is still attached during that trip.



plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3
reply to Stevert

I came across this page

»www.trainorders.com/discussion/r···,2854518

One of the comments made by "NebraskaZephyr" is below

quote:
The main difference is "you will need to add an ATC-equipped pilot loco to go from West Chicago to Western Ave."

So, going by this, it sounds like the Zephyr will be under its own power from Union, IL to West Chicago, IL, and then have a Pilot loco attached to the front for the rest of the trip.

However, knowing that the requirement for an ACT-Equipped pilot is a UP rule, I don't see why it would not be enforced for the trip between Union, IL and West Chicago, IL, as that is a UP line as well. In any case, even if it has a ATC-Equipped pilot, it still would be cool to see it rolling by.

Moving it the day before (9/21) sounds like a good bet to me as well, with the return from Chicago Union Station to Union IL being the Monday following the Excursion (9/24).

If I do come across more exact dates/times, I'll post them here.

Thanks,

--Brian
--
============================
--Brian Plencner

E-Mail: CoasterBrian72Cancer@gmail.com
Note: Kill Cancer to Reply via e-mail


StepR
Code Warrior
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Elgin, IL
reply to plencnerb

To see it on a Saturday, maybe I will bike down to Aurora or Sandwich.



plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3

I was thinking the same thing. Of course, with it leaving Chicago at 9 AM, it will probably be in Aurora around 10 or 10:30 AM. To get from Elgin to Aurora by bike (about 30 miles) we would probably have to leave around 6 AM (assuming 10 miles each hour) which would put us in Aurora around 9 AM (just as its leaving Chicago).

I've done that trip before by bike (its a really nice ride), but never have left that early. So, it is something I am thinking about doing, either on Saturday or Sunday.

--Brian
--
============================
--Brian Plencner

E-Mail: CoasterBrian72Cancer@gmail.com
Note: Kill Cancer to Reply via e-mail



djdanska
Rudie32
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
San Diego, CA
kudos:4
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
reply to plencnerb

In galesburg? I'm there a lot. No. Not much to really do. The downtown district is eh, ok. Some expensive restaurants not too far.

If you do go, and want something cheap but good, check out pizza house. Not too far and really the ONLY pizza i will eat in town. I call galesburg forgotonia. Hell, even at&t doesn't have 3g there!
--
The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult. The day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.
Alden Nowlan



plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3
reply to plencnerb

I did want to add that I made contact with IRM in regards to the Deadhead moves prior to and after the Excursion.

Below is the information that I got.

quote:
If I had to guess it would move in non rush periods down to the coach yard to rest overnight. I doubt it could or would be spotted directly in CUS until just before boarding time.

So, this would imply to me that the move prior to the Excursion would take place sometime on Friday September 21st during "non rush periods". So, that would then be between 9 AM and 3 PM, or after 7 PM. I would also think that these would be the times the train would be in route between West Chicago and CUS, to not impact normal rush hour operations.

I also did some searches on the IRM site, and found that this is not the first time the Nebraska Zephyr has been on special excursions.
In reading the December 1993 edition of Rail and Wire (the Museum's official newsletter)

»www.irm.org/railwire/rw153.html

It talks about a trip that was done in December of 1993. In it, it has a somewhat detailed report of the trip, indicating that the Zephyr left Union, IL at 8:20 am and "less than an hour later the Zephyr is cooling its heels at the West Chicago yard limits.". So, that would have put the Zephyr in West Chicago around 9 AM.

I make a note of this to show how long it takes to go from Union to West Chicago, as that may help those of us trying to catch a look at the deadhead moves.

As far as tracking it, IRM does have a "Nebraska Zephyr GPS Tracking" page.

»www.irm.org/events/zephyrtracking.html

It does appear to be still working, so we could use this to track when it leaves Union on Friday the 21st, and Chicago on Monday the 24th, as well as the excursion itself.

--Brian
--
============================
--Brian Plencner

E-Mail: CoasterBrian72Cancer@gmail.com
Note: Kill Cancer to Reply via e-mail

lstone19

join:2000-03-12
Roselle, IL
reply to plencnerb

said by plencnerb:

However, knowing that the requirement for an ACT-Equipped pilot is a UP rule, I don't see why it would not be enforced for the trip between Union, IL and West Chicago, IL, as that is a UP line as well.

The requirement only applies in ATC territory. The Belvedere branch (Union-West Chicago) is dark (unsignalled).

said by plencnerb:

Of course, with it leaving Chicago at 9 AM, it will probably be in Aurora around 10 or 10:30 AM.

By 10:00, it should be well west of Aurora. The schedule calls for 2:40 Chicago-Galesburg, comparable to scheduled Amtrak trains. Since those schedules allow 35 minutes for Chicago to Naperville, I'd expect it past Aurora between 9:35 and 9:40. Of course, that all assumes an on-time departure.

Stevert

join:2001-10-23
Algonquin, IL
reply to plencnerb

IRM has posted a schedule that includes the deadhead moves to/from CUS:

»www.irm.org/events/zephyrschedule.html



plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3

Good catch!

Now I can plan when I can see it on Friday and Sunday night in Elgin.

--Brian


Stevert

join:2001-10-23
Algonquin, IL
reply to plencnerb

Interesting, you can now buy tickets for the Friday move from IRM to CUS:

»www3.irm.org/store/index.php?mai···_id=1957



plencnerb
Premium
join:2000-09-25
Carpentersville, IL
kudos:3

That is interesting indeed.

Cost for that trip is $65, and of course, is only one way. You would have to find your own way back to IRM (if you drove out there to get your car).

Makes you wonder if they will offer a similar purchase for the move back to IRM Sunday night.

--Brian