Front Range Explorers - 2016

High Iron's Front-Range Explorers special train at Slayton, WY June 3, 2016.

2015 High Iron Travel Review

We continued to travel over unusual and “rare” rail lines during the year, starting with “The Texas Special,” AAPRCO’s Spring trip to San Antonio. The train of private cars assembled in Albuquerque for departure the morning of April 19. The routing took us via BNSF to Houston, TX via Lubbock, Temple, Somerviille and Dobbin. At Houston we entered the Union Pacific’s Sunset Route, then onto their ex-MKT line to San Antonio. Some 1181 rare miles! Returning to Chicago was on the rear of Amtrak’s Texas Eagle.

Only a month later, beginning on May 28, High Iron ran its “BNSF Circle Trip.” Starting in St. Louis with five cars, including a full diner and an ex-Santa Fe “Big Dome,” we wandered down the former Frisco river line to Memphis. A significant length of the line runs adjacent to the Mississippi River. We had tried to cover this route twice previously, only to be rerouted due to flooding. This time we made it, and spent the night at the Memphis Amtrak station. The next day we headed to Springfield, MO, again on the former Frisco. This line sees very heavy freight traffic and 22 of the 23 sidings had trains in them. The dispatching was impressive with no delays to anyone!  Kansas City was our destination on the 31st. Much lighter traffic was on this route, and a mid-afternoon arrival in KC gave us time for a bus trip to experience the “Kansas Belle” dinner train. The third day took us up the former Burlington line to Quincy. Here the trip ended and our equipment continued to Chicago on the rear of Amtrak’s Quincy train.

Our final extravaganza was participation in the AAPRCO Convention train to St. Louis.  Leaving Chicago Sep’t. 27 at 5AM, we proceeded to Ft. Wayne, IN on the ex-Nickel Plate main line; then turned south to New Castle where we entered the ex-PRR Panhandle line via Richmond to Cincinnati.  Our special parked for two nights at Boathouse the current terminus of the former riverfront line.

After a day of exploring Cincinnati, including a behind-the-scenes tour of Union Station, we proceeded south on the CNO&TP, Norfolk Southern’s “rat-hole” line to Danville, KY. Here we turn west on the former Southern RR St. Louis line. Another free day in Louisville gave the passengers a chance to visit Churchill Downs and a bourbon distillery in downtown Louisville. The next day we continued west, reaching St. Louis in the early evening, parking for the convention at the former St. Louis Union station tracks.

After the convention, on Monday Oct. 5, our special headed back to Chicago via the former Chicago, Burlington & Quincy RR river line via Quincy and Galesburg.

Travel in 1940's Pullman style and comfort aboard the Caritas or one of our other fine cars on a first class excursion.

High Iron Travel specializes in unique tours by rail, and features first-class service

For over 25 years, High Iron’s special trains have visited the far corners and out-of-the-way places of North America. From the tall timbers of Oregon, to the wilds of the Yucatan, to the stately peaks of the Canadian Rockies, the Caritas and accompanying Pullman and Dome Cars have delighted adventurous travelers and railway enthusiasts.

Join us on one of our scheduled tours, or let us create a special tour for your group

Click on the Schedule page to see what’s in store in the near future. We always look forward to our next trip and you can too, by getting on our mailing list (just click here). But we can also develop a special trip for you and your group, using our fine railcars in a special train, or as a separate section of an Amtrak train. Either way, you will travel and sleep in Pullman safety and comfort, and you’ll enjoy fresh food prepared on board, continuing a long tradition of railroad dining experiences.


Deposits: 50% deposit on any published fare will hold space until 60 days before trip.
Payment: Check, Mastercard, Visa
Reservations: Print out our order form and mail or fax

Phone: (608) 285-5489

P.O. Box 337
Waunakee, WI 53597

Interested in a steam adventure? Contact Texas State Railroad

For corporate information, contact Iowa Pacific Holdings



Current Happenings

Boston Trip, April 13

Photo courtesy: Andrew Wirth


New additions to the fleet, qualified for up to 110 mph and fully Amtrak certified:

Sky View DomeSCENIC VIEW and SKY VIEW are former Santa Fe full-length dome cars, and feature unsurpassed viewing for 66 guests from the upper level with a full kitchen table seating for 22 on the lower level. Both cars are available for 2012 trips and charters.

is a former Illinois Central parlor/club car which has been upgraded with a master room, two double bedrooms, and a full kitchen.