Last February my son, grandson, and I took the Missouri River Runner (MRR) to Kansas City. We departed from Kirkwood, MO. It was a great trip. My grandson's first.
I had highlighted the route in my atlas and marked the towns that the MRR stopped at. My son directed his son's attention to the highlighted route and stops as we traveled across the state. We nade sure he understood that this was the route that Lewis and Clark had traversed many years ago. His second grade class was studying about Lewis and Clark.
The train was punctual and very well patronized. Union Pacific has spent a lot on money on longer sidings, and double tracking at least one bridge over a river, the Gasconade I think. Those improvements have eliminated passsenger trains being sidelined by freights and the delays at the bridge bottle neck. More work is planned. I believe that the Railroad Improvement Grant was a big help. The state has been supportive also.
We arrived in KCY in the evening. For those who have never been in the Kansas City Union Station it is a remarkable and unique experience. The station is connected to a significant portion of the downtown hotels, resturants, and retail by the "Link". It is a climate controlled walkway, with frequent historical information along the way, through which you can view the skyline, look down on a couple of city parks, walk to several hotels, Hallmark Crown Center, and all the activities that go with it.
Plus, if you are a train fan, Kansas City Union Station is worth the visit. Magnificent. It barely escaped the wrecking ball.
The next day we went to the Sea Life Aquariaum, Lego Land, the Crayola Restaurant, and the huge model train layout in Union Station. All kid stuff (fun for us too). He enjoyed it. I was exhausted.
We had supper at an excellent German restaurant across the tracks from the station. One of the famous KC barbeque restaurants was too busy (I don't stand in line for much anymore) so we opted for the German establisment and were not disappointed. We dined on sauerbraten, pork knuckles, and bratwurst along with lots of potatoes and red cabbage, and some really good beer.
The next morning we caught the eastbound MRR back to Kirkwood. The train was so full that the conductor asked averyone to double up. There were no empty seats. My grandson had fun getting a big breakfast sandwich in the cafe car. The coffee was good. The train was on time all the way.
Unfortunately, while in KC, I was not able to visit my favorite restaurant, the Majestic. Great steaks, wine list , and jazz. The trip had to be a little more child oriented. The Majestic was the headquarters for Boss Pendergast. Most people probably don't realize how dominating the organized crime gangs were in KC. A great book, Truman, by McCullough sheds a lot of light on that era and Truman's interesting relationship with Pendergast. It's a good read.
One of the reason's for the heavy ridership, I am guessing, was due to the Big 12 Basketball Conference Tournament. But we picked up and let off a lot of passengers along the way. So the tournament was not the only source of ridership. The train remained quite full.
It was a wondeful experience for grandpa, dad, and grandson.
Posts: 140 | Registered: Nov 2008
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Thanks for the trip report - I did a roundtrip from Washington, MO to Kansas City where I stayed one night last summer. While the trains weren't absolutely full, they were nearly so. The trains were on-time or very nearly so as well.
-------------------- David Pressley
Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!
Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes. Posts: 4203 | From: Western North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2004
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Nice trip report. I can add that the WWI museum is right by the KC refurbished station, and I found it a great way to spend a couple hours. don't know if a 2nd grader would ahve enjoyed it too much.
Posts: 406 | From: La Grange, CA | Registered: Sep 2007
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In Nov 2011 I went from St Louis to Jefferson City and then next day Jeff City to Kansas City on the Missouri River Runner. Trains were not busy but very nice. First leg of the trip had some lovely scenery, and I really enjoyed the stop in Jeff City, including the station building and helpful volunteers.
Posts: 2630 | From: upstate New York | Registered: Mar 2004
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