Gourmet Express

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Everyone enjoys a delicious meal with properly paired wines or cocktails in an inviting setting. What if you could combine wines, cocktails and dining with a constantly changing landscape passing before your eyes as you enjoy a rare culinary experience?

Enjoy just such an experience aboard trains operated by Friends of the 261 as we travel along the route of the famed Olympian Hiawatha streamliner, which operated between Chicago, the Twin Cities and the Pacific Northwest via this route. Watch as the beautiful lakes of the Twin Cities Western Suburbs pass before your eyes! Today the tracks are owned by the Twin Cities & Western Railroad, which is hosting our train.

The Gourmet Express will make a seven hour journey through changing landscapes traveling through the cities of Hopkins, Chanhassen, Norwood and Glencoe. We invite you to come aboard our historic, restored train cars for a unique dining experience with specialty wines and beverages to complement a gourmet meal served en route. Sit back and marvel in the lakes and wide-open vistas. Relive the days of fine dining once offered on such famous trains as the Super Chief, Olympian Hiawatha, and the luxurious California Zephyr.

Enjoy ever changing views outside the train’s windows as you sip specially chosen wines and savor a delectable prepared-on-the-cars meal – just like movie stars and titans of industry did in years gone by. Historic locomotives, Milwaukee Road #261 & Milwaukee Road 32A, will be pulling your train. Watch as wisps of steam from No. 261 float by your window. Hear the call of the horn from 32A as it drifts back to your car rolling through the countryside. It’s an experience like no other!

Saturdays departure will be at 1:00 pm with boarding starting at 12:30 pm, Sundays departure will be at 10:00 am with boarding starting at 9:30 am.

The train will include Premium Class, Dome ClassPresidential Class, First Class and Coach seating. Premium Class features seating in glass-backed observation car Cedar Rapids at the rear of the train. Dome Class includes Super Dome #53 a full-length dome car and the Silver Palace, where you will enjoy a meal under glass! Premium class includes a fine selection of complimentary meals, hors d’oeuvres and beverages and deluxe reserved seating, while First Class includes complimentary meals, snacks and beverages in one of our deluxe lounge cars.

Culinary Experience

It is with great pleasure that the Gourmet Express culinary team welcomes you aboard. The Friends of the 261 prides itself on serving the finest cuisine on the rails. During your voyage you will have many imaginative dishes to choose from using only the finest, freshest ingredients. We hope you will find as much joy dining on our train as our culinary team did in creating your food and wine experience. Please join us this once in a lifetime journey.

We wish you Bon Appetit and Welcome aboard.

Boarding location & parking:

500 Market Street, Chanhassen, MN 55317

This year Gourmet Express will be departing from Chanhassen, Minnesota. The ride will still be the same duration as planned; we will just go a little further west on the Twin Cities & Western. As most of you know in Western Suburbs for Minneapolis, they are into a multiyear light rail construction project. This project is requiring new trackage for our host railroad the Twin Cities & Western. Last year’s location in St. Louis Park is now in the middle of a major track shift and the track could be out of service for work crews. After a long search of possible loading locations, we could not find enough parking for all our passengers. The loading location in Chanhassen is located directly next to a large parking ramp and less the 100’ to the railroad track. Located between Great Plains Blvd and Market Blvd next to the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre. The train will arrive 15 minutes before departure from the rail storage yard. Hotels are available within walking distance for our out-of-town Passengers. American Inn & Suites, 500 Pond Promenade, Chanhassen, MN 55317. 888-312-2398. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, 591 W 78th Street, Chanhassen, MN 55317 (952)937-2424.

Passenger Classes available for purchase

Coach Class Tickets:
Coach – $79.00
Child Coach – $59.00
Boxed Lunch – $16.00

Deluxe Coach Tickets:

First Class Tickets:

Presidential Class Tickets:
Milwaukee $2500.00

Dome Class Tickets:
Silver Palace – Dome Seating
Super Dome
Premium Class Tickets:
Cedar Rapids – $329.00

Detailed class descriptions here

All tickets are round trip (Children 3 yrs to 14 yrs require ticket, children 2 yrs & under free if not occupying a seat)

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