Tag Archives: Burlington Route

Nostalgic rail trips planned this fall to Kansas City and the Colorado Rockies


Trains are in my blood. My grandfather, Ben Miller, shown here, was a Burlington Route conductor.

St. Charles, Ill. (July 23, 2013) — Zephyr Route, a rail tours company based here, is offering two nostalgic rail journeys this fall. One involves a trip to Kansas City for an enjoyable weekend. The other involves a fall foliage trip through the Colorado Rockies.

Kansas City Weekend Tour
The Kansas City Weekend Tour takes place Friday through Sunday, Sept. 13-15. Boarding points are Chicago, Naperville, Princeton and Galesburg, Ill., plus Ft. Madison, Iowa.

A restored, vintage railcar named the Cedar Rapids will provide first-class, individual parlor car seating. Meals will be served at passengers’ seats.
A unique glass-enclosed lounge at the end of the car offers spectacular vistas of the passing scenery.

The tour package includes two nights lodging at the Hyatt Hotel across the street from Kansas City’s historic Union Station. Breakfast is also included.
On Saturday, passengers are free to select their own activities for the day and evening.

The hotel is conveniently located within walking distance to the Hallmark Visitors Center and Shopping Mall and the World War I Memorial. There is easy access by city bus to Country Club Plaza, another famed shopping district.

Zephyr Route is also organizing a short motor coach tour of Kansas City narrated by a local historian.

Passengers also are welcome to join a group dining at Jack Stack’s Restaurant, which has been voted the best in Kansas City for barbeque cuisine. This meal is not included in the tour.

The package price for the Kansas City Weekend Tour is $625 per person for both single or double hotel room occupancy.

The reservation and payment must be made by Saturday, Aug. 31, so Zephyr Route can determine if there’s adequate interest to proceed.

Colorful Colorado Rockies Tour
The majestic and scenic Colorado Rockies between Denver and Glenwood Springs will be the highlight of the Colorful Colorado Rockies Tour also being offered this fall by Zephyr Route.

The travel dates are Thursday through Monday, Oct. 3-7.

Boarding points include Chicago, Naperville, Princeton and Galesburg, Ill., and Burlington, Iowa.

En route passengers will enjoy first-class rail service like that which was offered by the famed Burlington Route. Dining service will be in the traditional manner, with white linens, fresh flowers, chinaware and sparkling glassware and silverware. Savory dinners and breakfasts will be served both going to and returning from the Rockies.

Overnight rail accommodations are in first-class private rooms with private toilets and sinks. Shower service is available on an individual, scheduled basis.

A gorgeous, restored dome car from the infamous Santa Fe Super Chief will provide lounge and dome seating. Since seats are limited in the dome, guaranteed dome seating times will be scheduled so all passengers will have an opportunity to enjoy the dome views.

This trip has been scheduled to hopefully coincide with the spectacular aspen fall foliage time. While not guaranteed, this is generally the best chance to view the brilliant yellow and gold colors amidst the pine trees’ green hues.

Glenwood Springs is the Colorado resort town destination. Lodging will be at the historic Hotel Colorado, once known as President Teddy Roosevelt’s Western Whitehouse. The hotel has been restored to provide excellent accommodations and dining service. Breakfasts at the hotel are included.

Nearby is a huge sulfur springs pool for swimmers, which also has enjoyed longtime fame. Lovely shops and restaurants are within walking distance. Arrangements also can be made for golf at the nearby Glenwood Springs Golf Club.

The Colorful Colorado Rockies Tour package price is $1,995 per person, double occupancy. Please inquire regarding single occupancy rates.

Reservations and payments must be made by Sept. 15 so Zephyr Route can determine if there’s adequate interest to proceed.

Both the Kansas City Weekend Tour and the Colorful Colorado Rockies Tour can be reserved by contacting Zephyr Route. Call (630) 542-3607 or e-mail

The Zephyr Route website,, has a for a printable tour brochure. Click on the “Journeys” button.

By Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This is a news release I wrote recently. I think these will be great trips. There is no copyright on this; share it with fellow rail buffs.

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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Riding the rails in Boone, Iowa

(The photos above, taken by Phil Roberts, are related to the following story.)

As a semi-retired freelance and part-time news reporter for four media sources, I receive lots of news releases and an occasional invitation to one sort of event or another.

One that caught my eye recently was from a railroad-related attraction in central Iowa that’s been on my bucket list.

It was an invitation to attend the ground-breaking for the attraction’s new museum addition, followed by a 45-minute train ride.

I’m a train nut. It’s in my blood. My grandfather on my mother’s side, Ben Miller, worked on the railroad all his life, starting as the water boy for a section gang and ending up a conductor on the Burlington Route’s Mark Twain Zephyr.

I checked our calendar. It was clear the day of the event, so my wife Sherry and I headed to Boone, Iowa, located about 12 miles west of Ames.

If you like the sound of the lonesome train whistle and the clickety-clack of steel wheels rolling down the rails, you’ll love the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad (, located on land near downtown that once housed some railroad car shops.

For its sightseeing and dinner train rides in the countryside from its present combination depot/museum, the railroad uses some of the track from a now-defunct Fort Dodge to Des Moines inter-urban train. More on the ride in a moment.

The attraction will soon be bigger and better.

Ground was ceremoniously broken for the James H. Andrew Railroad Museum and History Center.

The $1.5 million project is named for an elderly farmer from Jefferson, Iowa, who made a significant financial contribution to it and whose extensive railroad collection it will house.

It’s a large project for an organization staffed mostly by volunteers but most of it has already been paid for.

The new museum is expected to open in May.

The ride in the old passenger cars into rural Iowa was lots of fun. One section of track is on a high trestle over a valley. The view is breathtaking.

Our conductor even let us punch our own tickets. That’s a thrill for a railroad buff like me.

Copyright 2011 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Uncategorized


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