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Kewanee Has The Right Idea, Unfortunately at Quincy’s Expense

Tim Boyle, Getty Images

I was reading my Sunday edition of the Quincy Herald Whig when I came across an insert for National Train Day which is Saturday, May 11. The insert was apparently provided and paid for by the Henry County, Illinois Tourism Bureau, The City of Kewanee, Illinois, and the Kewanee Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Mile after Magnificent Mile.

The concept is for people in the Quincy area to board the Illinois Zephyr in Quincy on Saturday morning and ride the train and shop in Kewanee where it arrives at 8:09 a.m.

Then get off the train in Kewanee and enjoy breakfast in one of three restaurants near the train depot. While there you can view some train memorabilia, check out vendor booths and have the kids ride a kiddie train. Also a part of the activities is a storyteller by the name of Brian Fox relating railroad history as told by Abraham Lincoln’s Billie Herdon. By then, you will be ready to catch the Carl Sandburg train back to Quincy where it arrives at 12:03 p.m.

What a great concept by the Kewanee folks. It is a great way to solicit visitors to their town in hopes that Quincy area residents will spend a little money in Kewanee. With that said, why can’t that happen in reverse?

Encourage people from Kewanee, Galesburg or Macomb to catch the Carl Sandburg train in the morning and come to Quincy. Spend the afternoon in Quincy and then catch the Carl Sandburg train back from Quincy at 5:30.

This is “rail marketing” at its best. If it works for Kewanee, it will work for Quincy. Quincy tourism folks need to keep an eye on the event this Saturday in Kewanee and make it work in the weeks ahead for Quincy, as well.

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