IT WAS COLDER 43 YEARS AGO. The North Shore Line quit early in the morning of January 21, 1963. The day was appropriately clear and very cold, with snow on the ground. This snow arrived overnight, to the surprise of the local weather forecasters. The roads between DeKalb and Elburn and Geneva had received their first plowing but no salting when I left this morning. (Hereafter the train trips start only 15 miles from home. The new Saturday schedule offers a better connection to the Hiawatha, or to the South Shore.) Twenty-five miles of that beats a somewhat longer drive all the way to Milwaukee. And two book reviews are in the works.

Train 333 on the last lap into Milwaukee.

My return to Chicago was not as snappy as the one I reported on last month. There were some speed restrictions for malfunctioning crossing protection.

Amtrak Hiawatha 338, Milwaukee Airport to Chicago, 21 January 2006: 90200 - 54518 - 54067 -54539 - 54581 - 133. The 90200 is a cabbage car (depowered F40 locomotive turned into a driving van trailer, for my overseas readers, see the picture above) the 54-series are short-distance Horizon coaches, 133 is a Genesis series diesel. Temperature in the middle 30s, clear skies and dry rail. Moderate passenger load (empty forward-facing seats available). Start 3.12. Sturtevant 3.28 (elapsed time to stop 15:04, leave 16:02), check for grade crossing at mile 54, pass Rondout 3.54 Glenview 4.07 (elapsed time to stop 54:04, leave 55:22) pass Mayfair 4:15 pass A-5 4:18 arrive Chicago 4.29 (total elapsed time from start at Milwaukee Airport to stop 1:16:48.) That's an on-time arrival, making up 2 minutes from Milwaukee Airport.

At Chicago, the waiting room was closed off for a formal party (Amtrak will let people hire this hallfor a fee.)

I didn't ask what it was about. The photo looks southwest. At the north end of the hall there was the Mother of All Flat Screen TVs with somebody (no, it wasn't Big Brother) describing the activities of the organization that had hired the hall. I didn't want to peek through the curtains too long.

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