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Midwest Rail Rangers on TrainWeb: Sky Parlour Car Open House Event on October 5, 2019

Midwest Rail Rangers - Sky Parlour "Open House" Event

A Article by the Midwest Rail Rangers, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization presenting onboard educational programs on the South Shore Line and private rail excursions across the Midwest


Robert Tabern - President, Midwest Rail Rangers &
Kandace Tabern - Educational Officer, Midwest Rail Rangers

Published: September 16, 2019

Midwest Rail Rangers Education Officer Kandace Tabern discusses plans for the October 5, 2019 "open house" with Wisconsin Great Northern Staff

The Midwest Rail Rangers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides on-board educational programs on private rail excursions across the Upper Midwest several times a year... as well as on the South Shore Line between Chicago and South Bend two to three times per month... and on Amtrak coach car charter trips organized by the 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago. The Midwest Rail Rangers also attend several outreach events every year... such as Trainfest in Milwaukee and MadCity Rail in Madison, Wisconsin...  as well as providing route guide books, e-books, and MP3 route guide podcasts for purchase for Amtrak passengers who travel on their own train trips when Guides are not available.

And now... the Midwest Rail Rangers are proud to launch a new "test" endevador... and you're invited to come out and participate! 






Interpretive Guides with the Midwest Rail Rangers will be at the Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad in Trego, Wisconsin on Saturday, October 5, 2019 from 10:00am to 4:00pm for a special "open house" event that will be held aboard the railroad's new Sky Parlour Car. Before arriving at the Wisconsin Great Northern on July 11, 2019, the Sky Parlour saw service on the Santa Fe Railway (1956-1971) as a Hi-Level Lounge Car... and on Amtrak (1971-2018)... where it was a See-Level Lounge Car and a Pacific Parlour Car on the famed Coast Starlight.

The "open house" event will feature a tour of the Sky Parlour car given by Midwest Rail Rangers President Robert Tabern, Educational Officer Kandace Tabern, Interpretive Guide Bruce Stahl, and/or Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad staff members. There will be historical displays about the car's former Santa Fe and Amtrak history... some of which will feature authentic memorabilia from the El Capitan, Super Chief, and Coast Starlight trains. Visitors can also play a trivia game about the car... and watch a 13-minute movie in the lower theater about the car's history. The Midwest Rail Rangers will also be debuting their new book about the history of the car.  Books are all-color and feature 52 pages of information and historical photos. Authors Robert and Kandace Tabern will be signing copies after the books are purchased in the Wisconsin Great Northern Gift Shop.

The best part?  Because the Midwest Rail Rangers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit... the event will be FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. No tickets or reservations necessary.  Just come on out and have fun with us on the ONLY former Santa Fe Hi-Level Lounge Car/ex-Amtrak Pacific Parlour Car in the country offering regular rides to the public right now.





While the Sky Parlour Car will be stationary for the October 5, 2019 "open house" even in Trego to let people come and join the Midwest Rail Rangers at their convince... there are plenty of other options to take a train ride when you are at the Wisconsin Great Northern that day. Currently, the 12:00 Noon pizza train and the 2:00pm and 3:00pm Sightseeing Excursions have tickets available. You can also come out the following day --- Sunday, October 6, 2019 --- and ride the Sky Parlour Car for a cheese and wine tasting. Please remember it is expected to be a very busy weekend at the Wisconsin Great Northern that weekend (fall colors + Rail Rangers "open house") --- so it's strongly recommended that you get your tickets in advance if you want to take a train ride either before or after our special open house event.




Midwest Rail Rangers President Robert Tabern says, "We are extremely excited to be partnering with the Wisconsin Great Northern for this very special event on October 5, 2019. For 23 years that the Pacific Parlour Cars were operating on Amtrak --- they were among my absolute favorite rail cars. The Pacific Parlours were nicer and more luxurious that some private cars I have been on. Besides that, I have fond memories of the wine and cheese tastings and the special meals that were offered when riding through California, Oregon, and Washington. It really broke my heart... and probably the heart of a lot of railroad enthusiasts,.. when Amtrak made the very poor decision to sell them off last year. Folks living here in the Midwest are really lucky that the Wisconsin Great Northern was one of the lucky successful bidders of this important piece of railroad history... and that one of the cars will atleast be preserved where everyone can enjoy it. Someone could have bought it and used it for their own personal trips. Or it could have went stationary at some museum. But the Wisconsin Great Northern will be running the car and opening it to the public on a regular basis."

Midwest Rail Rangers Educational Officer Kandace Tabern adds, "Partnering with the Wisconsin Great Northern to promote the history of the former Santa Fe Hi-Level lounge and ex-Pacific Parlour Car was a no-brainer!  The Wisconsin Great Northern is family-owned. That is something super rare for a railroad line today... and the Vreelands have been great when we approached them about producing a short film about the car and  book that riders could purchase and take home to remember their ride. They have also been very open to the idea of our Interpretive Guides coming up to their railroad to help share some of the important history about the car with their riders."

The Wisconsin Great Northern is currently finalizing their 2020 operation plans for the Sky Parlour and hope to release the schedule soon. Meanwhile, if the October 5, 2019 "open house" event with the Rail Rangers is deemed a success... multiple additional dates will be added going forward where Interpretive Guides will be aboard the train and historical talks and displays will be available for everyone to enjoy.

The Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad is located on U.S. 53/U.S. 63, north of Spooner, Wisconsin and south of Trego, Wisconsin. It's about a two hour drive from the Twin Cities area, about a five hour drive from the Milwaukee area, and between a six and seven hour drive from the Chicagoland area. (Remember, this is the ONLY place in the country that is currently offering regular rides and historical "open house" events on a Santa Fe Hi-Level lounge car/ex-Amtrak Pacific Parlour Car right now!)

The Midwest Rail Rangers also own and operate, which tells the history of the Pacific Parlour Cars.

Midwest Rail Rangers President Robert Tabern (LEFT) with Greg Vreeland, owner of the Wisconsin Great Northern (RIGHT)

Beverly, the manager of the Wisconsin Great Northern's dinner train, gets cheese, crackers, fruit, and wine ready for passengers on a recent trip.

A new 52 page book by the Midwest Rail Rangers will debut at the Sky Parlour "open house" on October 5, 2019;
it will feature information about the car's days as a Santa Fe Hi-Level lounge car and Amtrak Pacific Parlour Car.
For those who can't attend... copies are available at, the official store of the Midwest Rail Rangers!

We hope you enjoyed this article/trip report from Midwest Rail Rangers on If you did, we hope you are also interested in learning more about the Midwest Rail Rangers. We are an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides on-board educational programs on private rail excursions, Amtrak coach charters, regular runs of the South Shore Line on select weekends, and we make appearance at various outreach events such as TrainFest and MadCity Rail in Wisconsin. Our group of experienced Interpretive Guides have also written a series of railroad route guidebooks, e-books, and MP3 podcasts for the various passenger train lines across the Upper Midwest and across the United States. Check out our website at for more information and our listing of upcoming excursions and trips!


Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad's Website


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