Check into upgrading to Sleeper. It comes with free first-class meals and
though food in coach is horrendous. (Microwave and chips err crisps)
Fees for multiples are quite reasonable. You pay for the room with the first
person, it seems.
If you have some time in Chi, I can show you around.....
Finalize your timetable, try to be here over the week end, and I can set
something up. It early May or June, there is a good bourse in DuPage.
Since you're coming to KC, you'll see the restored Union Station - it
is glorious, the ceiling in the main lobby will take your breath away.
The Amtrak station has (finally) been relocated there, so if you
arrange your time, you should have a chance to explore the station.
They have (also finally) opened an exhibit on railroad history, and you
can see the Kansas City Southern F7 as well as several pieces of
Milwaukee Road varnish that the city has purchased for display - at
least, these should be on display if you're arriving later this year.
Be sure and take a walk across the front - there's a sign explaining a
piece of the station's history - in 1933, Frank Nash, a gangster, was
killed in a hail of submachine gun bullets in a botched rescue attempt
(although the most recent analysis indicates that there is a strong
possibility that at least one of the attending agents was killed by
friendly fire as they attempted to defend themselves). The "bullet
holes" in the exterior of the station are somewhat suspect - forensic
attempts to match the damage show that these are unlikely to have been
caused by gunfire. Still, an interesting story and worth the effort to
see the site.
Depending on how your time is organized, you can walk or drive up the
hill to the Liberty Memorial - Kansas City's World War One memorial.
Extensive museum collections, and an unmatched view of the city.
I have taken the Southwest Chief from Kansas City to Raton, New Mexico
and back. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride, but as has already been
mentioned here, if you are schedule bound you are unlikely to be happy.
If, on the other hand, you are on your own schedule, and won't get
frustrated with delays, you'll see a wonderful landscape. I second
that the sleepers or deluxe sleepers are well worth the money - if
you're treating this as a vacation, that is.
Thanks It won't be my first time in KC. I was there in 2002 If
my girlfriend of the time hadn't been there I'd probably still be sat at the
big window that looks out across the tracks in the Science center. There
was a huge double stack container train going past at the time, totally
awesome. It may still be going past now, it was a long train.
The station is very impressive and quite beautiful. I look forward to
seeing the new exhibits. One of the other things I saw while I was there
was the steamship "Arabia" that was pretty cool. Did the Nelson Atkins and
the childhood museum near UMKC too.
I missed getting a Kansas City steak as GF was a Vegan. I hope to correct
that this time, if you know a good place for steak let me know.
I was planning to try and take in Meteor Crater in Arizona so only need to
go as far as Flagstaff I'm looking forward to seeing that part of the
country which I only know from John Ford westerns.
Sounds like you know the place well. I kicked myself for forgetting
the Arabia - it's an incredible exhibit, as you mention. The thing I
like the most about it was that it was the project of one family - the
pictures of them up to their knees in water, digging in the cornfields
in winter bring real pain to mind for those of us that live on the high
If you're looking for a good steak, "Jess and Jims" in Martin City is
always a safe bet. It's quite a way south of the metro, but worth the
drive if you have the time. Also, there's a barbeque place in Martin
City called "The Smokestack" that's also a little bit of heaven on
If you come south, be sure and stop at Show Me Trains in Grandview (not
far out of the way if you go to Martin City) - it's a great store,
fantastic selection, and the owner, Charlie, one of the nicest people
you'll ever meet. The store is a block from the tracks of the Kansas
City Southern, so odds are you'll see some prototype action there -
often they park their work trains on the sidings there, so you may get
to see some unusual stuff. The UP runs through Martin City, so you
might have a train or two with your steak.
The Illinois RR Museum is 50 miles NW of downtown Chicago....
An all day visit of the 8 huge barns is tiring....
However during Spring/Easter, They may be open on Weekends
or NOT at all.... Summer is open every day with 1 mile trolley
loop run on weekdays.. Four trains run on Weekends on the 5 mile
straight track..... Special Weekends have 6 to 8 trains running...
Cost is $6 to $9 per day for unlimited train rides too.
I 'second' the vote for the Science and Industry Museum and the IRM.
The IRM is perhaps 45 miles from Chicago, and is the largest private
railroad museum in the USA. Most railfans could easlily send a whole day
there. The emphasis is on Trolleys and Interurbans, but they have LOTS
of 'mainline' railroad equipment too. The collection includes several
operable steam locos (2-10-0, Shay, 2-6-2, etc.), lots of 'stuffed' ones
(including a N&W Y3 2-8+8-2), many Diesels (most runnable), and a few
electrics (including a CSS&SB "Little Joe" and a PRR GG-1). Many things
operate. They have special weekends when certin types of equipment are run.
Visit their website for more info <http://www.irm.org/ .
We took the 30 day US and Canada trip a few years ago. The stuff we saw
is shown on our website at:
To summarize, ViaRail has better service than Amtrak, and Pennsylvania
is a railroad buff's paradise. The one thing we missed was the Canadian
Railroad Museum south of Montreal. It was closed for construction. I
heard it was well worth a visit.
You're out of the summer season so traveling via the pass will be a lot
easier. I do believe that the pass is basically like an airline
nonreservation ticket so you may be bumped from some trains even in this
season. Easter is the start of the tourist season on the railroads so it
may be likely that you'll have to wait for the next rrain (usually the next
day) if you get bumped or there is no space. Amtrak tends to be run as the
poorboy of the transportation system here in the states.
Do be prompt when going for meals on the train as the diner does tend to
Otherwise, enjoy the trips no matter how long they may take and be prepared
to have delays hold you up. Also, don't forget to ride the EL for some
commuter fun and take a ride up on the push-pull trains going north as they
are a blast sitting up by the engineer. They are probably the only way that
you're going to see what it is like riding in a loco when the train is being
Why do penguins walk so far to get to their nesting grounds?
For AMTRAK Superliner rides, bring along a Garmin GPS with a US
basemap.... You can anticipate the 'next city' distance by
using the find command.... You must be riding in the SuperDome
Car (freebe) for GPS to function. GPS measures accurate speed
Max SuperLiner speeds are 79 MPH or 91 MPH out West. In the
speeds can be 30 MPH....
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.