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Amtrak Pioneer Route Guide
Route #25 & #26
(discontinued in 1997)
www.trainweb.com/routes/route_25/rg_25a.html

The Amtrak Pioneer Trains #25 & #26 were discontinued in 1997. This Route Guide has been posted here as a historic tribute to this route and as encouragement that this route may someday be revived. There are a number of reasons to believe that the revival of the Pioneer in the future is not totally impossible. Amtrak's expanding express shipping business may create a demand for a revival of this route. Some people have been pushing for Amtrak to create a new in-land route between Los Angeles and Seattle via Las Vegas-NV, Salt Lake City-UT, Ogden-UT and Boise-ID by combining the discontinued segments of the Pioneer and the Desert Wind. The Olympics in Salt Lake City are quickly approaching and this in-land "North South Route" would be ideal for bringing participants from both the north and the south to this major international event. We'll just have to wait and see what the future will hold. In the meantime, read the old route guide of the Pioneer and you will understand why so many people wish to see the revival of this passenger rail route.

Pioneer

SEATTLE*TACOMA*PORTLAND
BOISE
*OGDEN*SALT LAKE CITY
DENVER
*OMAHA*CHICAGO

WELCOME ABOARD!


You're traveling on board Amtrak's Superliner train-the Pioneer. While on board, you'll be experiencing the utmost in train travel,and some of our country's most spectacular and well-known scenery: the Rockies and Blue Mountains; the snow-capped volcanoes and breathtaking Columbia River Gorge of the Northwest; and the exciting golden sunsets of the West. Amtark and your crew are proud to host you on board. We'll do everything we can to ensure you enjoy your trip. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask your Attendant or On-Board Service Chief.

THE FUN STARTS HERE!

The Pioneer features on-board activities the whole family will enjoy. Listen for announcements of the specific time and location of activities,and most of all-have fun!

HOSPITALITY HOUR. Join fellow passengers in the Lounge Car for drinks and complimentary snacks,and don't forget to ask about regional specialties.

GAMES are usually conducted in the Dining Car. Small prizes will be awarded. Listen for annoucements for time and location.

STRETCH YOUR LEGS. The Pioneer stops in Denver so the train can be serviced,refueled and washed. This is your opportunity to do some sightseeing in Denver. Please return to the station platform area well in advance of the scheduled train departure time.

ENJOY ON-BOARD ACCOMMODATIONS THAT PAMPER AND PLEASE!

ROOMY COACH SEATS. Your Coach Attendant will see to your needs. Since your seat is assigned for length of you journey,please do not change without first consulting a crew member.

DINING CAR SERVICE. The Dining Car features complete meals in a comfortable setting. Major credit cards are accepted. Sorry,there is no smoking in the Dining Car. A crew memeber will contact you if dinner reservations are necessary.

SPECTACULAR SIGHTSEER LOUNGE CAR.* Enjoy the magnificent scenery from our large picture windows,and don't forget the sandwiches,snacks and beverages available for purchase at the Cafe Bar. You can also purchase souvenir playing cards,post cards and blankets. Lounge Car hours are generally from 6 a.m. to 12 midnight. Smoking permitted only on lower level.

*SEATTLE*

SEATTLE King Street Station is only blocks away from the busy harbor and piers which make Seattle a gateway to the Orient and Alaska. The tall,white Smith Tower was the tallest building west of the Mississippi up until the 1950s. The Space Needle,built for the 1962 World's Fair,is north of downtown and can be seen as the train leaves the city. Adjacent to the station is the King Dome,home of the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners.

BOEING FIELD (7 MIN./42 MIN.) On the right is the home of the famous family of Boeing jetliners. This historic airport is still used for private aircraft and for Boeing test flights. The original Boeing plant,noe the Museum of Flight,can be seen across the runway.

KENT (16 MIN./33 MIN.) Long Acres Racetrack is on the left near Kent. Local vineyards have helped make Washington State the nation's second leading grape producer.

AUBURN (28 MIN./25 MIN.) The Auburn Power Plant is powered by water coming down from Lake Bonnie and Lake Taps. The train crosses the Green River at this point

PUYALLUP (40 MIN./12 MIN.) This is the home of the Western Washington Fair. The town pronouced "Pew-OWL-up" is named for an Indian tribe. The train crosses the Puyallup Indian Reservation along the Puyallup River

*TACOMA*

TACOMA was called "City of Destiny" becuase of the sawmills and lumder all along McCarver street. Today the dock is the last reminder of the "Lumber Capital of the World." The largest blue round building on the left is the Tacoma Dome,a convention center and general auditorium. Beyond the city,the train follows the Pudget Sound,to the right which was formed by prehistoric glacier movement,causing the water to be very deep. A geological fault runs through the straits of the Pudget Sound, causing earthquakes in the area. The Olympic Mountains rise from the far side of Pudget Sound.

OLYMPIA-LACEY Juat outside of town,the train crosses the Nesqually River. The delta for the river,on the right protective haven for beavers,eagles,ducks,geese,shellfish and oysters. Olympia is the capital of Washington State.

NAPAVINE (12 MIN./35 MIN.) The highest point on the route between Seattle and Portland is at Napavine. There is a 1% grade from here to Chehalis. From this spot on a clear day,Mt. Rainier,Mt. Helens and Mt. Adams can be seen to the left of the train.

Winlock (19Min./28Min.) Winlock claims to be the "Egg Capital of the World." On the right side of the train,the town proudly displays a large "egg" as a monument to its egg production.

VADER(25 MIN./ 23 MIN.) The train passes along the Olequa Creek through Vader,a ghost town that was once a logging center in the late 1800s. Out side of the deserted town,passengers can see three small waterfalls on the right side of the track.

WOODLAND (20 MIN./20 MIN.) The train crosses the Lewis River, which originates at Lake Merwin. Notice the house boats in this area. The Saliahan Vineyards to the east grow European wine grapes. The cilmate is very much like the moderate maritime temperatures of North Europe.

LAKE VANCOUVER (33 MIN./5 MIN.) The marshy bottom lands on the right side of the train are part of the banks of Lake Vancouver.

*PORTLAND*

PORTLAND,The beautiful "City of Roses" is Oregon's only metropolitan area. Known for its parks,fountains and gardens,Portland also features several jazz festivals and, of course,the Portland Rose Festival. Portland Union Station was built on what was known as Couch Lake before the lake was filled in the and the building was constructed on pilings in 1890. Here, the Pioneer changes railroads,the Burlington Northern tracks go north to Seattle and the Union Pacific Railroad extends east to Salt Lake City. East of Portland Station,the train crosses over the Willamette River via the Steel Bridge.

TROUTDALE (25 MIN./29 MIN.) Filbert orchards and a new bridge across the Columbia are on the left. Portland's light rail trransit system can be seen along the highway to the right. East of here, the train begins its dramatic journey on the banks of the Columbia River.

BRIDAL VEIL (30 MIN./42 MIN.) is on the right,next to the Lewis and Clark State Park. An array of waterfalls covers the mountainside like a white veil.

STARVATION CREEK (38 MIN./37 MIN.) Look for a very narrow canyon on the right called Starvation Creek. It extends back for ten miles and sunlight never light its floor.

"BRIDGE OF THE GODS" (51 MIN./26 MIN.) The intricate silver girders of the bridge on the left are on the site of a legendary natural bridge used by the Indians. It was supposedly destroyed by the eruption of two nearby volcanoes.

WYETH (1:05 MIN./20 MIN.) This is said to be the windiest place in Oregon. The packaging of fruits and berries which are picked in the nearby orchards goes on as late as October.

THE CASCADE MOUNTAINS (1:10 MIN./5 MIN.) to the left resembling an Indian on his back. A logging flume on the Washington State side was the last active lumber waterway in use in America. It transported cut lumber from Viphoe through the White Salmon River Canyon. The flume was used in a "Lassie" film set in this area.

HOOD RIVER The Hood,the Columbia and the White Salmon River meet at this point. The towns of White Salmon and Bingen,across the Columbia,is served by Amtrak's Empire Builder route,which can be seen along the oppisite bank of the river. In
this area are the Gifford Pinchot National Forest,to the north,and the Multnomah National Forest,to the south. World Class windsurfing competition is held here every year.

(15MIN./15MIN.) Asmall island to the left has a grey grave stone that honors a white tarder. He is buried among his Indian friends in the Memaloose Island Burial Grounds. Across the river is a series of five sets of tunnels within a one-and-ahalf-mile distance,near the town of Lyle. The white peak of 12,276 ft. Mt.Adams is in the distance.

ROWENA CREST Unusual rock formations can be seen along a scenic 9-mile highway from Mosier to Rowena in the mountains on the right. Notice the cherry orchards on the left side just before the train enters Mosier. Rowena Crest is a high viewpoint on the mountain on the left side of the train.

THE DALLES The Army Corps of Engineers constructed a major river project,The Dalles Dam,one of the ten most powerful hydroelectric generators in the world. A tuor of the facility includes a ride on a small train that is part of the dam. The town of Dalles has a cherry plant on the left of the train,and on the right is the tall red church steeple of old St.Peter's, thre local Catholic Church with stained glass windows donated by pioneer families. Look for wheat and lumber barges on the river.

(19MIN./1:16MIN.) The Maryhill Museum of Art is a mansion on a ledge about halfway up the mountain of the Washington side. It was originally a Quaker settlement on 20,000 acres until Sam Hill built a home there. It was dedicated as an art museum by the Queen of Romania. The train crosses over the nearby Deschutes River. On a clear day,Mt.Hood may be visible. This volcanic mountain,thirty miles to the southwest,rises to 11,235 feet.

(20MIN./1:14MIN.) Across the Columbia River on the Washington side is a sculpture built by Sam Hill,son-in-law of railroad tycoon Jim Hill. Located on a ledge halfway up the mountain, it is a memorial to soliders killed in World War I,a cement replica of England's Stone henge. The Biggs Bridge crosses the Columbia River with a road leading to Yakima,Washington.

JOHN DAY DAM (24MIN./1:10MIN.) Electric power of the Northwest is generated by the John Day Dam, one of many hydroelectric plants along the Columbia River which produce more then one third of the nation's electric power. The lock system can be seen across the river on the left. The dam is named after a famous western hunter and trapper,John Day. The train crosses the John Day River,which can be seen on the right.

BOARDMAN (55MIN./30MIN.) The smoke stack in the distance on the right,which is part of the Boardman coal-fired generating plant,is 13 miles to the southwest. It burns 315 tons of coal every hour. The coal is shipped 1,200 miles to this plant.

COLUMBIA RIVER (55MIN./30MIN.) Boardman is the eastern end of the train's 130 miles journey along the south bank of the Columbia River. The river travels over 1,210 miles on its way from British Columbia to the Pacific.

UMATILLA (1:15/MIN./10MIN.) The small mounds on the left are muniyions bunkers with ammunition buried in neat rows for as far as the eye can see. This is the Umatilla Army Ordnance Depot. Look for an occasional antelope here in the Umatilla National Wildlife Refuge.

HINKLE-HERMISTON is a frieght yard and railroad stop. It is also home for potato processing plant on the right that makes potato chips and french fires.

PENDLETON produces a wide variety of manufactured goods and agricultural products. The rich soil in the Pendleton area yields exceptional wheat,green peas,potatos,apples,and cherries. The Oregon forest provide more than enough raw material for a diverse lumber industry. The Pendleton Woolen Mills on the left side of the train create world famous garments from the local sheep herds. The McKennon Station Flour Mills and Grain Growers Processing Plant on the left is the largest in the Northwest. Pendleton also host an annual roundup and western Ho!parade on the rodeo grounds to the left. East of Pendleton ,the train follows the famous Oregon Trail through the Blue Mountains.

GIBBON (35MIN./1:40MIN.) This town is in the Umatilla River Valley,which empties into the Columbia River Valley and then onto the Oregon Coast. Its name comes from General John Gibbon,commander of the Iron Brigade of the Union Army of the Potomac. The Umatilla Indian Reservation,which the train crosses in this area,extends all the way from Pendleton to Huron. This is sheep and farm country,but also watch for herds of elk in this area.

MEACHAM (1:40MIN./60MIN.) The tree-covered ridge on the right was a route for pioneers on their way west to Pendleton. These rollinghills with trees in narrow valleys are inhabited by elk, deer, bears, mountain lions and rattlesnakes. The train crosses Meacham Creek over two high bridges. This river is a favorite fishing area for rainbow trout and steelhead.

KAMELA (1:51MIN./48MIN.) The summit of the climb over the Blue Mounatins is at Kamela,4,205 feet above sea level. This is a watershed point. The train's ascent up the Kamela Mounatin is a steep 2.2% grade. This is the toughest climben route from Portland. There is a snow marker on the left and a lookout tower near the top of the mountain on the right.

THE GRANDE RONDE VALLEY French Canadian fur traders in this area during the 1820s were insipired by "the great circle" of this valley,and they named it appropriatley. This fertile region is approximately 25 mile across and is served as a truce area for native Indian tribes. It was also a welcome stopover for pioneers who came west over the Oregon Trail and began a settlement here in 1861. This was where the first plow was put into Oregon soil.

LA GRANDE The original town was established in 1862 on high ground at the southwestern edge of the Grande Ronde Valley. The Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company line ws extended through this area in 1884,and the town moved two miles to re-establish itself on the railroad. La Grande's economy is based largely on agriculture and the wood products industry. It is the home of Eastern Oregon State College and the major shipping point for produce from the Grande Ronde Valley. The La Grande airport is on the left. Well-preserved Victorian homes are within five blocks of the Amtrak Depot and the stately City Hall,listed on the National Register of Historic Places,is on the right.

UNION (1:20MIN./45MIN.) This small community in the Grande Ronde Valley has its own sawmill,railroad and dairy. A ring of trees on the left,planted by the pioneers,was used by the early settlers for shearing thier sheep,keeping the animals and the wool inside the trees. The Hot Lake Resort is on the right. A geothermal hot springs can be seen on the left.Catherine Creek runs down through the valley with the beautiful Mt.Prominence,6,725 ft.,on the left in the background.

NORTH POWDER (35MIN./21MIN.) Lumber yards dominate the small town North Powder. The train crosses Wolf Creek. The train runs near the Powder River with the Blue Mountains to the right and the Wallowa Mountains to the left. Long white plastic mounds near barns and framhouses contain silage.

HAINES (48MIN./11MIN.) is a small community with a hot artesian raduim spring located on the left in several buildings with green roofs surrounded by scrub willows.

BAKER CITY became a boom town in 1861,when gold was discovered nearby. Today,several ghost towns located in the nearby hills are reminders of Baker's gold past. Baker was named after Colonel Edward Baker,a senator and close friend of Abraham Lincoln. The white building in the middle of town is the Hotel Antler,built in 1912,on the left. Ranchers and farmers profit from the sale of cattle,lumber and wheat. The Wallowa Mountains and the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area are on the left and Elkhorn Ridge and Wallowa Forest on the right,just outside of Baker.

DURKEE (5:41MIN./1:25MIN.) The train climbs Encina Pass,with a summit at 3,998 feet. Horeshoe curves on the east side of the pass,just outside of Durkee,allow passengers to see the entire length of the train. The Oregon/Portland Cement Company has a large limestone plant that can be seen on both sides of the train.
TIME CHANGE:Set your watch ahead one hour going east,as the train enters Mounatin time in Idaho. Going west,set it back one hour for Pacific time entering Oregon.

FAREWELL BEND There is a stretch of unusual sand dunes on the right. Sand fences were built to protect the tracks from being covered by the sifting dunes. The mountains at Farewell Bend rise to a hieght of nearly 1,000 ft. above the train. The beautiful Snake River winds its way through the rugged terrain.

PAYETTE (1:45MIN./5MIN.) Baseball great Harmon Killebrew ,of the Minnesota Twins.was born in Payette. The train also crosses the Snake River several times in this section,switching from Oregon to Idaho and back again.

ONTARIO Fruit growers and cattle ranchers throughout eastern Oregon ship their products from Ontario.

*OREGON/IDAHO STATE LINE*

NAMPA The Shoshone Chief Nampuh (Big Foot) inspired the nameing of this frontier town. In 1903,a fired destroyed the business district on the very day town's water mains were being replaced. Today,Nampa fruit and potatoes are national favorites. The surrounding region is very nearly desert.

*BOISE*

BOISE This is the capital of Idaho. The Boise Cascade Company,Morrison Knudsen and several national lumber and paper corporations are based in this budding capital city. The beautiful Capitol Building can be seen on the left down Boise's main street,Capitol Boulevard. Note the well-preserved station and landscape grounds on the left.

SHOSHONE is near Sun Valley,a winter resort developed by the Union Pacific Railroad. Ernest Hemingway had a summer home here.

POCATELLO is named after Chief Pocatello,who helped railroaders build a line throough this territory. Today it is the home of the phosphate industry and Idaho State University.
The Pioneer crosses the Idaho/Utah State Line during the night.

*OGDEN*

OGDEN was called "Ogden's Hole" and named for Peter Skene Ogden,one of the mountain men who came looking for beaver in 1825. Mormons arrived at Salt Lake in 1847 ans established a Mormon town there. Brigham Young chose this area be cause of its isolation and excellent soil. An annual celebration,held throughtout the week of July 24, is highlighted by Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo,parades and "All Faces West",an outdoor drama which tells the story of the Mormon migration to Utah. Snow Basin,18 miles from Ogden on the east slope of Mount Ogden,offer winter and summer recreation. Salt Lake City is 35 miles south. At Amtrak's Ogden station,passengers may transfer to connecting motorcoach service to Salt Lake City.

*SALT LAKE CITY*

SALT LAKE CITY The wide streets of Salt Lake City lead downtown to Mormon monuments including Temple Square,the Seagull Monument,the six towers of the Mormon Temple,which are visible from the station,and the Beehive House. The headquarters for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is located here as well as a world renowned genealogical research facility. The prosperous Salt Lake Valley has one of the prettiest natural settings in North America. Today it is home for a growing electronics industry. Most of Utah's rivers,which have no outlet to the sea,are part of the largest area of interior drainage in the U.S. and are used to provide irrigation for thousands of acres of farmland that otherwise would be desert.

WEBER RIVER begins in the Uinta Range and flows through the Wasatch Mountains into Great Salt Lake. The train travels through the beautiful Weber Canyon and over the state line between Utah and Wyoming.

EVANSTON is a trading center,tourist stopping point and a cattle and sheep raising area. Ft.Bridger State Museum,36 miles east,is located in a restored fort named for Jim Bridger,scout and explorer. An annual rodeo is held here on Labor day weekend.

GREEN RIVER is the home of Sweetwater County Museum and is located near Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. The Green River is boadered by sandstone cliffs;the most prominent one,Castle Rock,rises 1,000 feet above the river. Mormons cut a pass at Tollgate Rock and charged a toll of those who passed. Brigham Young is said to have delivered a sermon from Pulpit Rock. Wildflowers are numerous along the rivers,especially red Indian Paintbrush,the state flower. The Green River played an important in the exploration of the West. Early trappers met annual at the Green River Rendezvous were it is joined by Sandy Creek. John Wesley Powell traveled down the Green River by boat starting here in 1869 and again in 1871.

ROCK SPRINGS The streets of Rock Springs make intricate bends and turns because they were built anywhere that suited the builder's taste. Underlying this sheep raising area are some of the greatest bituminous coal reserves west of Mississippi River.

RAWLINS is a farming and ranching area. "Rawlins Red" pigment from local paint mines was used for the Brooklyn Bridge,2,000 miles away. In 1878,vigiantes hung one train robber and sent warning notes to 24 other desperadoes;24 tickets were sold the next morning at the Rawlins railroad depot.

NORTH PLATTE RIVER (20MIN./20MIN.) Our route crosses the river 21 miles east of Rawlins and passes north of the Medicine Bow National Forest,a national range for thousands of deer,elk and antelope,with choice hunting in the fall and trout fishing in season. We cross the Continental Divide twice;once in Rawlins and again 22 miles west of Creston.

LARAMIE was named for the legendary French-Canadian trapper,Jacques La Ramie,who worked in what became southwest Wyoming in approximately 1820 and was killed by Indians somewhere along the river the bears his name. Laramie is a town with a colorful past. Jack McCall was arrested in Laramie on August 30,1876 for shooting Wild Bill Hickock in the back of the head in a Deadwood,South Dakota saloon. One year later, Jesse James was lodged in the Laramie jail as a suspect in a nearby stagecoach holdup. Humorist Bill Nye,a Famous lecturer "Boomerang". a Laramie hardware store where Nye used to sit and spin yarns was the site of his "Den of the Forty Lairs". Laramie is located near Snowy Range,one of the West's most beautiful recreation areas. Leaving Laramie,the train ascends Sherman Hill;the Sherman Mountains,between Laramie and Cheyenne,are unusually rocky ridges eroded into distinct and grotesque shapes.

SHERMAN (25MIN./25MIN.) At an elevation of 8,013 feet above sea level,this is the highest point on the Amtrak route,and was named for General William Techumseh Sherman,the tallest general in the U.S. Army. The original line was built via Ames Monument and the elevation was 8,242 feet,but in 1901 the route was relocated to eliminate the Dale Creek Bridge and to reduce grades. Until the track was constructed "around the hill" in 1953,via Harriman,Sherman was a very important station,as all trains had helper locomotives and it was the point where helpers were turned. In addition,stockyard facilities were located here.

BORIE Named for a train dispatcher on the Union Pacific,this station is important in the fact that the railroad cut-off toward Denver diverges at this point. This is the location of the Amtrak station for Cheyenne,passengers may transfer to connecting motorcoach service to Cheyenne.

CHEYENNE,the capital of Wyoming,was named for a tribe of plains Indians who,with the Arapahos and Sioux,once inhabited this area. Cheyenne's main attraction in 1867 were quick money and cheap liquor. Described as "Hell on Wheels",the town was home to professional gunmen,soldiers,promoters,trainmen,gamblers,and confidence men. It was the scene of vigilante law and wars between cattlemen and sheepmen. Today Cheyenne reamains a headquarters for sheep and cattle interests. Its former spirit is revived annually during Cheyenne Frontier Days,held the last week in July, and one of our largest rodeos. Cheyenne is also located near the Snowy Range,a beautiful section of fishing streams and lakes. We cross the Wyoming/Colorado State Line.

GREELEY was an outgrowth of Union Colony,a cooperative community of New Yorkers conceived by and named for Horace Greeley and founded in 1870 by his agriculture editor,Nathan C.Meeker. Temperance was the colony's first rule. When a would-be businessman set up a sod hut saloon on the edge of town one Sunday,the congregation moved to confer with the proprietor. A fire mysteriously started and the saloon was destroyed. Today Greeley is a rich agriculturarl area and producer of items as diverse as office desks and fishing rods. It is also the home of the Colorado State College.

*DENVER*

DENVER Denver's skyline is notched with impressive array of modern buildings,many built by the energy industry. Historic Larimer Square is only a few blocks away from the train station. The 24K gold-domed state capitol contains the entire world's supply of Colorado Onyx,and the 13th step leading to the capitol is one mile high above sea level. Denver is nestled up against the foothills of the Rockies on the barren High Plains. The trading posts of mountain men and occasional ranch were the only settlements in the Denver area until the 1850s. It was not until the Russell party found gold in paying quantities in Cherry Creek in 1857 that the gold rush was on and Denver was born. With "Pike's Peak or Bust" painted on thier wagons,100,000 emigrants had cross the plains to Denver by the end of 1859. The fabulous Leadsville silver strikewas made in 1875. When gold was discovered in even more fantastic amounts at Cripple Creek in 1890,Denver was was the center of one of the one of the richest mining regions in the world. Denver is the connecting station where the Pioneer jions the California Zephyr from San Fransico and the Desert Wind from Los Angeles. At Denver the train leaves the Union Pacific Railroad to the west and travels on the Burlington Northern Railroad east to Chicago. Denver is a refueling and service stop for the train. Passengers are invited to detrain,stretch thier legs and explore the Denver station.

COMMERCE CITY (20MIN./1:05MIN.) On the northeastern edge of Denver,the train passes through Commerce City. This industrial suburb of Denver has the nation's largest sheep market. It also has a number of sugar beet factories and cattle yards which line the tracks.
During the night the train stops at FT.MORGAN.

NOTE:At the Colorado/Nebraska State Line (45min./1:10min.) change your watch between Mountain and Central,one hour later if going east,one hour earlier if going west.
During the night,the train stops at MCCOOK,HOLDREGE and HASTINGS.

LINCOLN The 400-ft.,14-story,ten million dollar state capitol building,the "Tower of the Plains",dominates this city,on the right. The golden dome has a statue at the top which is not of a University of Nebraska football coach,as many suggest,but the symbolic "Sower". The state fair grounds are to the left. The University of Nebraska campus and stadium are visible from the train,on the right,just east of the station.

PLATTE RIVER Along the historic Platte River,the Mormons traveled the north bank for several hundred miles in thier quest for the holy land. The Pony Express and Oregon Trail followed its south bank.

*OMAHA*

OMAHA was a Missouri River crossing for west-bound pioneers. Ohama has always been a large transportation center,supporting as many as nine railroads. The Union Stockyards were established here in 1884. President Gerald Ford, Henry Fonda, Fred Astaire, Marlon Brando and Malcom X were born here. Boys Town, a refuge for homeless and underprivileged boys is west of town.

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE (10MIN./90MIN.) The Strategic Air Command has its haedquarters here at Offutt Air Force Base,to the right of the train,as does the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing,which conducts global reconnaissance missions. Offutt is the home of the National Airborne Command Post,used by the President in times of crisis (look for military versions of the Boeing 747 on the field). This is also the site of the SAC Museum. The train follows the Missouri,on the left.

MISSOURI RIVER (25MIN./87MIN.) The magnificent Missouri River was called "mini-souri" by the Indians. Its headwaters are in Montana where the Gallatin,Jefferson and Madison Rivers come together. In the 1800s,steamboats plied the Missouri all the way from Omaha to St.Louis,where it flows into the Mississippi. Crossing the Missouri,the train also crosses between Nebraska and Iowa.

STANTON (64MIN./50MIN.) This homestead of Swedish settlers was also the home of the famous TV coffe lady,Mrs.Olson. So,the town's water tower,on the left,is in the shape of a coffee pot.

CRESTON The train crosses the summit of the ridge between the Des Moines and Missouri River Valleys,the highest point east of the Missouri on the train's route. The town's depot is now a national landmark. The tall cement silos of the Farmers Cooperative on the left offer a ride to the top for a bird's eye-view of Creston.

OSCEOLA A carved wooden bust of the Seminole chief,Osceola,can be seen to the right of the train just past I-35,west of the station. Settlers in the 1800s found the first Delicious apple tree here,thirty miles to the north.

OTTUMWA This town rises on terrances above the Des Moines River. It was the home of General Joseph M.Street, Indian agent, who built a trading post in 1836. It was also the hometown of the fictional character "Radar O'Reily" from the television show MASH.

MT.PLEASANT The oldest college west of the Mississippi was established in 1842 as Iowa Wesleyan College,to the left of the train. The first American coed,Lucy Kilpatrick, graduated from there in 1859. The city had the first plank toll roads leading to Burlinton in 1851. And the first Iowan courthouse was built here in 1839.

DANVILLE (15MIN./15MIN.) was the site of a Pony Express and stage stop.

BURLINGTON Flint in the nearby Shoquoquon Hills provided tools and weapons for the Indians,and they considered this area "neutral ground". Zebulon Pike established a fort here in 1805,and Abe Lincoln fought here as a captin in the Black Hawk Wars. Before the first railroad bridge was built in 1868,passengers and frieght crossed the Mississippi in ferry boats. In winter they had to brave the ice on foot. In 1887, George Westinghouse developed the air brake on West Burlington Hill.

MONMOUTH (30MIN./20MIN/) This town is where the western hero Marshal Wyatt Earp was born. Monmouth's industry includes a marketing center from corn and feeder cattle.

GALESBURG Popcorn was invented in Galesburg by Olmstead Ferris. This was also the home of Carl Sandburg,writer and historian. Abe Lincoln and Stephen Douglas debated here at Knox College in the building with the copper spire to the left of the train. This was also a key station in the Underground Railroad of the Civil War. Notice,on the left,Burlington's famous 4-6-4 "Hudson" passenger locomotive used in the 1930s. Galesburg is the home of the Annual Galesburg Railroad Days.

GALVA (20MIN./1:35MIN.) "Bishop's Hill" was a Swedish utopian society of religious dissidents that settled in Galva until the Civil War. It is now a historic landmark.

KEWANEE (25MIN./1:30MIN.) The small industrial city of Kewanee was settled alongside the Spoon River in 1836 by New Englanders.

PRINCETON (50MIN./1:05MIN.) One of the founders of the Republican Party, John Bryant, made his home in Princeton. It was settled by New Englanders in 1833. It is the "Pig Capital of the World". The small red and brown A-frame houses in the fields are what the pigs call home.

AURORA (1:45MIN./10MIN.) This was a transfer station for stagecoaches in the 1830s. It was also the birthplace of Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in 1849. Transportation has always played a large role in Aurora. A large bulldozer factory can be seen to the left.

NAPERVILLE This is the station for Chicago's western suburbs. RTA commuter trains provide connections to Aurora,La Grange,Brookfield and other points. This attractive suburb is a high-tech industrial center and is known for its Riverwalk,a restored hisstoric village,and an example of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture.

*Chicago*

CHICAGO is the crossroad of American manufacturing and distribution,and an important hub of the nation's railroads. The Sears Tower dominates the massive skyline along with the "Gold Coast" highrises along Lake Michigan. As the train backs into Chicago's Union Station,it parallels the Chicago River on the left,it flow reversed in an engineering triumph in 1880-and another engineering triumph-Amtrak's modern yards and maintenance facility,which is the home of the Poineer. The train ends its 2,422-mile run in historic Union Station. Built in 1926,the station serves over 40 Amtraktrains and 160 commuter trains each weekday.


For information on Amtrak trips call
1-800-USA-RAIL

Click here for photos, travelogues and more info about the Amtrak Pioneer.


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