The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Thinking Trip - Try Amtrak

by Dessa Rodeffer, Publisher/Owner

August 28, 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the "Friends Of The Depot" and the Amtrak officials from Chicago, Washington D.C., and Quincy, in Burlington, Iowa this past weekend. I was made an official "Honorary" Friend Of The Depot and was given an "Amtrak Greeters" badge. Before I knew it, I was welcoming people to Amtrak and the 40th Anniversary Exhibit train.

The Amtrak Exhibit Train was great and I enjoyed meeting all the knowledgeable friendly top officials who came to show off 40 years of history of AMTRAK as well as what the future is bringing..... more high speed trains and more routes, beginning right here in Illinois.

I thought I would stop a day early, to do some homework on what the train was about but when I pulled in Friday evening, the train was open and finishing up with a V.I.P. tour of around 150 Burlington officials. They invited me on board for a private showing and I was thoroughly impressed with the friendliness and with the displays put inside this train. It was a traveling museum for sure. The whole history was there along with the story of how trains are named, the different horns for Amtrak that make its sound distinct, replicas of a sleeping booth, a dining car, the lights and signals and the couplings that hook between each car and what is inside them.

Thirteen hundred people went through on Saturday and another 1250 went through on Sunday, yet everything looked so clean and nice. There were handouts of time schedules, vacations offered on Amtrak such as visiting the National Parks.

The museum tells of their strong commitment not only to safety, and on-time scheduling, and faster trains (160 mph) but also to the environment, communities and depot restoration.

They were very appreciative of the volunteer "Friends Of The Depot" who added to the day in ease and in fun.

I want to take a moment here to thank Bob Petzinger, Friend of the Depot and photographer, for the great photos he sent me from the event, such as the one he took here.

Also, thanks to Dan Gillett of La Harpe who was dressed as a Locomotive Engineer, a member of Friends of The Depot, who was showing off the old black engine of CB&Q that sets in front of the depot and BNSF railroad. All ages climbed aboard. Dan was busy before hand cleaning up the train from the cobwebs and debris. He always dresses the part putting a lot of extra effort into the occasion, whether he is a Civil War reenactor or an engineer for an Amtrak event.

Thank you Amtrak officials Marc (Quincy), Derrick (Chicago), David (Chicago), and others from Washington D.C. for the 40th Anniversary t-shirts and for the roses given to each of the members who volunteer to promote Amtrak.

And as an honorary Amtrak greeter through Friends Of The Depot, I would be remiss, if I didn't encourage each of you to give traveling by Amtrak a try next time you travel. I picked up the free handouts of Amtrak Vacations for 2013-14, this year's timetable for summer-fall as well as the Amtrak story of the 40 years of service if anyones wants to come into the Stronghurst Quill office and look them over. One example is to take a train out of Chicago in the afternoon, sleep in the sleeper car over night and be in Washington D.C. by morning. High speed trains located in D.C. travel at 150 mph to New York City for a shopping trip and can return in no time. There are many things to see in the U.S. that Amtrak can take you to.