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Home Travel Western Travel Buzz Latest News, Deals & Savings for Jan. 4

Latest News, Deals & Savings for Jan. 4

The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming launches its Winter Wonder Workshops on Jan. 9, 2010; A new railroad side track that reduces delays on the Amtrak Missouri River Runner train route between Kansas City and St. Louis has opened; and Houston-based Freedom Air Charters has announced new air service for business leaders needing to be at a Texas destination and back in a single day.

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Buffalo Bill Historical Center Launches Winter Wonder Workshops

The Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming launches its Winter Wonder Workshops on Jan. 9, 2010, including the "Learning from the Western Masters" workshop with popular western artist M.C. "Mike" Poulsen.

The studio art class helps participants develop their artistic skills by studying and duplicating the techniques of the great artists of yesterday, all within the extraordinary galleries of the Historical Center.

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The studio art class takes place Saturdays, Jan. 9 and 30, Feb. 20, and March 20, 2010, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. The workshop fee-$95 for members and $105 for non-members-includes all four classes and a luncheon lecture on Feb. 20. Space is limited, and attendees should register by contacting Megan Smith, Adult Education Programs Coordinator, at
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or by calling (307) 578-4028.

Poulsen, a Cody resident, has garnered numerous awards in his 30 years as an artist. In 2008, he was named the Buffalo Bill Art Show & Sale's Honored Artist, with previous "People's Choice" wins in 2007 and 2000.

Find a workshop schedule at
www.bbhc.org/workshop/winterWorkshop_01.cfm.

Committed to connecting people with the Spirit of the American West, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center weaves the varied threads of the western experience-history and myth, art and Native culture, firearms technology and natural history-into the rich panorama that is the American West.

The BBHC, an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, is now operating its winter schedule through Feb. 28: open daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, closed Monday through Wednesday. For general information, call (307) 587-4771 or visit
www.bbhc.org .

New Track Cuts Delays For Amtrak Missouri River Runner Trains

A new $8.1 million, 9,000-foot railroad side track that adds capacity and reduces delays on the route used by Amtrak Missouri River Runner trains between Kansas City and St. Louis has opened.

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The new siding, located just west of California, Mo., helps unclog a major bottleneck that was caused by a 25-mile stretch of single track, and enables slower freight trains to move off the main line. This allows faster Amtrak trains to pass and is estimated to annually reduce passenger train delays by nearly 17 percent.

"We heard loud and clear Missourians' cry for better passenger rail service," said, Pete Rahn, director of the Missouri Department of Transportation. "We are proud to deliver one of the key projects that will ensure rail passengers continue to arrive on time and our freight moves more efficiently. Working as one, Union Pacific, Amtrak and MoDOT are making great strides toward building a faster and more reliable rail corridor."

This location was chosen after a University of Missouri study estimated that building a siding in this single-track area would annually reduce delays to Amtrak trains by the largest amount on the rail line between Kansas City and Jefferson City. Two other future improvement locations are in the Knob Noster and Strasburg areas.

The siding enables the mile-and-a-half long Union Pacific trains that haul low-sulfur coal from Wyoming to electric utilities in the St. Louis area and eastern power generation facilities to clear the way for Amtrak trains. MoDOT secured $4.8 million in state funds for this project, complemented with a $3.3 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration.

According to MoDOT, more than 90 percent of the Missouri River Runner trains arrived at their end-points of St. Louis or Kansas City on time or ahead of schedule. These same passenger trains were operating an average of 64 percent on time during the first 10 months of 2008. These service improvements are directly linked to the capital investment - capacity and maintenance - Union Pacific has invested on the corridor.

Houston-Based Air Taxi Service Focuses On Smaller Texas Airports

Houston, Texas-based Freedom Air Charters has announced new air service for businesses whose leaders need to be at a Texas destination and back in a single day.

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Launched in October 2009, the air charter service is based at Ellington Airport (EFD) in Houston with satellite offices throughout Texas in Dallas, McAllen, Victoria, San Antonio, and Corpus Christi as well as Iowa.

"Because we are flying smaller aircraft - a Beechcraft Baron 58 - We can fly into airports and runways that the bigger jets can't reach," CEO Chris Castill said. "It gives people a choice of which airport they'll fly into, which can save them even more time and money."

While air charters are nothing new, and Castillo concedes there are dozens of jets available for charter out of Hobby Airport alone, he said he's created a new market by flying smaller, less expensive aircraft. His aircraft seats five passengers, and can cruise up to 245 mph, with costs running $495 per hour of flight time for the entire plane.

Castillo's company focuses on destinations that are within three-and-a-half hours of flight time from Houston.

"We're targeting business travelers who need to go somewhere and come back the same day," Castillo said. "A lot of people don't realize if you have a meeting away that only lasts one or two hours, you don't need to stay overnight and spend time away from your office, or away from your family."

The Web site for Freedom Air Charters can be found at
www.freedomaircharter.com.


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