Ex-MKE Road Cars to Operate on Empire Builder

Two former Milwaukee Road passenger cars will operate in May in a charter trip sponsored by Friends of the 261 on the rear of an Amtrak train

The “Windy City Express” from St. Paul to Chicago will depart St. Paul, Minn., on May 21 on the eastbound Empire Builder en route to Chicago.

The consist will include former Milwaukee Road Skytop parlor lounge observation Cedar Rapids, Milwaukee Road Super Dome No. 53, and ex-Union Pacific baggage car No. 2450.

All three cars are painted in Milwaukee Road’s original orange and maroon passenger car colors.

It will be the first trip to Chicago for the Cedar Rapids since it was restored in 2014 to its as-built appearance.

The equipment will return to St. Paul on May 24, giving passengers the opportunity to ride the Milwaukee Road cars on their original route.

Both the Skytop and Super Dome were part of the consist of the Twin Cities Hiawathas, which operated between Chicago and Minneapolis.

Restoration work of the Cedar Rapids included new wood, carpeting, reupholstered seats, and new linoleum to bring the car back to its original appearance. The car was built in 1948 by the Milwaukee Road at its Milwaukee Shops.

Round trip tickets are $359 with one-way fares available at $189. The group, which operates Milwaukee Road 4-8-4 No. 261, is also offering ticket/hotel options available. Fares include food and drinks on the train. For more information go to www.261.com.

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