Since July 2015, Interpretive
Guides with the APRHF Rail Rangers program have been educating (as well
as entertaining!) train passengers about what can be seen out their
window. Without a doubt… travelers love learning about the people,
places, and history of the various areas they are passing through. It
helps pass the time aboard the train for many… and makes one better
educated about the country. Perhaps you have caught one of the APRHF
Rail Rangers’ “history talks” on a private rail excursion somewhere
across the Midwest… or the South Shore Line between Downtown Chicago,
Illinois and South Bend, Indiana?
One of the biggest challenges the APRHF Rail Rangers program has
faced over the past three-and-a-half years is trying to reach out to as
many train passengers as possible with on-board educational programs.
Interpretive Guides with the Rail Rangers currently ride the South
Shore Line two to three weekends per month year-round… and are on
private rail excursions out of Chicago Union Station up to one dozen
times per year. However, that barely scratches the surface for the
millions of train rides passengers take every year across the Upper
But… what if you could take the APRHF Rail Rangers with you
whenever you are on a train ride in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan,
Minnesota, Missouri, and/or Wisconsin?
Well, now you can!
The APRHF Rail Rangers are proud to announce they have researched,
written, and recorded 18 different MP3 podcasts for all of the major
regional and long-distance passenger train lines across the Midwest.
Rail Rangers Chicago Coordinator Kandace Tabern (left) records a
podcast session with Interpretive Guide Joe Kuczynski (right)
It doesn’t matter when you take a train ride — you can now purchase and
download an MP3 podcast from the APRHF Rail Rangers to learn about the
areas you are traveling through. Podcasts are now available for train
routes running between Chicago and Milwaukee (Wisconsin), St.
Paul-Minneapolis (Minnesota), La Plata (Missouri), Quincy (Illinois),
St. Louis (Missouri), Carbondale (Illinois), Indianapolis (Indiana),
South Bend Airport (Indiana) on the South Shore Line, and
All 12 of the APRHF Rail Rangers worked hard and contributed their
voices for the MP3 podcasts. For example, purchase and download the MP3
podcast from Chicago to Milwaukee (or Milwaukee to Chicago) and listen
to Interpretive Guides Kathy Bruecker and Steve Snyder telling you
about the urban area between Chicago and Milwaukee… the scenic
Driftless Region of Southwest Wisconsin… and the various Mississippi
River towns in Minnesota. Heading between La Plata, MO and
Chicago in the future? You will want the Rail Rangers podcast featuring
APRHF President Bob Cox and APRHF Treasurer Amy Cox to learn about
historical landmarks along the Santa Fe and old CB&Q. APRHF Rail
Rangers Executive Director Robert Tabern and Chicago Coordinator
Kandace Tabern co-host all 18 podcasts. Other contributors include Rail
Rangers Interpretive Guides Fred Glure, Joe Kuczynski, Alane Morgan,
Robert Neil, Lowell Olberg, and Dave Poole.
The Rail Rangers’ Podcast lengths range from a little over 20 minutes
to a little over one hour depending on the route. Separate podcasts
have been recorded for each direction of a route, so that passengers
will see the appropriate landmarks — as described on being out the
right or left hand side windows. All podcasts cost $9.95 each, with all
proceeds going to help support the APRHF Rail Rangers program, an
affiliate of the 501(c)(3) non-profit American Passenger Rail Heritage
Interpretive Guide Dave Poole records a portion of the Rail Rangers' Chicago to St. Louis podcast for TrainPodcast.com
Rail Rangers Executive Director Robert Tabern explains, “We are really
excited about this new chapter for the APRHF Rail Rangers and think
it’s the future of on-board educational programs… as well as a great
fundraiser. We really get such positive feedback about our programs —
but we also have people approach us and say — wow, I’m going to
Carbondale next weekend, I wish you were going to be on our train.
Well, now we can! Just click, download, and bring your ear phones
with you — and we will be with you on any train. You can learn about
your window regardless if you’re traveling north, south, west, or east
out of Chicago.”
APRHF Rail Rangers Chicago Coordinator Kandace Tabern says, “We really
put a lot of effort into recording these route guide podcasts… it
really was a year-long process. First, we cut down the route guide
material in our books and e-books that we have sold for a few years now
into something that would be around 30-60 minutes in length. We don’t
want to talk non-stop during someone’s train journey. Then we had to
find time to record with all 12 of our Interpretive Guides… all of whom
have a busy schedule. And then finding the time to edit 18 different
podcasts was also a challenge. But, we got it done! We are so
happy to be able to share this with passengers. We are the only ones I
know who have done train route guide podcasts for all of the major
train routes out of Chicago.”
Rail Rangers Interpretive Guide Robert Neil studies his notes before recording a voice track for TrainPodcast.com
So, are you convinced and want to give the APRHF Rail Rangers brand new podcasts a try?
It’s simple… just head over to www.TrainPodcast.com and make your purchases!
The whole process is quite simple to use and understand. Each MP3
podcast download costs just $9.95 — and for that — you get 5 copies of
the podcast you purchased. You can download one on your phone, laptop,
desktop computer, tablet… and still have one download left to perhaps
share with a friend or family member perhaps. Each download features
the MP3 audio file as well as a PDF index sheet that shows a listing of
the towns talked about. Basically, you listen to the story of an
upcoming landmark… pause the podcast until you pass the landmark or
town… and then listen up for the next story/landmark… and so on.
Discounts of www.TrainPodcast.com will also be coming soon for certain APRHF Members.
APRHF President Bob Cox says, “At a recent Board Meeting, we decided
that starting in January 2019, TrainPodcast.com is going to offer
Pullman Members ($65/year) a 15% discount code for podcasts and route
guide e-books… and Engineer Members ($120/year) and above will get a
25% discount code for podcasts and route guide e-books from the APRHF
Rail Rangers. It’s going to be yet another perk to look at upgrading
Even though route guide books and e-books… and now route guide
podcasts… give passengers more options to learn about the various train
routes out there — you will still find the friendly faces of the APRHF
Rail Rangers’ Interpretive Guides aboard the train too!
APRHF President Bob Cox narrates for passenger on the South Shore Line as part of a Rail Rangers program
Robert Tabern says, “We are not going anywhere! We will still
have our Interpretive Guides on the South Shore Line two to three
weekends per month and we are going to still do as many private rail
excursions as we can given the new restrictions Amtrak has placed on
private car movements earlier this year. Think of the podcasts as a big
addition to our program when we are not on the train — but we hope
people will come out an experience our live programming too because
nothing replaces that one-on-one interaction we can have together on
And, even though all 18 Midwestern podcasts are done… that doesn’t mean there are not more podcasts coming!
Kandace Tabern explains, “We are going to take a little break now that
we have produced podcasts for all of the major Midwestern train routes.
However, starting in 2019, look for new podcasts to begin trickling on
to the website. We have signed an agreement with author Eva Hoffman of
the “Flashing Yellow” Route Guide series — and will begin producing
podcasts for some of the routes she has written about. First up, will
be for the daylight stretches of the California Zephyr
between Chicago and Omaha, Denver to Green River (Utah), and from
Winnemucca (Nevada) to San Francisco. We will then move on to the Southwest Chief and other routes. We got a lot more podcast coming!”
Once again, the APRHF Rail Rangers’ podcasts are now for sale at www.TrainPodcast.com.
For more information about the APRHF Rail Rangers on-board educational programs, check out www.RailRangers.org or www.DunesTrain.com