Memories: Chicago Train Ride

by Carol Lawyer
( IL)

I am going to share about my train ride when I was a little girl going to Chicago on a train. This was a luxury to go into Chicago in the first place. I was so happy as I got to sit by the window and it was an exciting time for me and I had my nose pressed to that window as I didn't want to miss anything along the way.


I can still hear the whistle blowing and the conductor shouting "All Aboard" we were taking off and I was so excited. Then I heard the chug, chug of the engine and then the click, click of the train wheels as they were going faster and faster.

As I looked out of the window I could see us leaving the city of Elgin, I saw some children playing ball out in the back of their yard and they waved as the train went by. I am sure they were use to seeing the train.

Farther down the road was a wooded area and it had a small lake there and could see men and children fishing from the lake. I wondered if they were catching anything. As the train went on, there was a house with a pond in the back yard and the mom was out there with the children as they were swimming and looked like they were having a lot of fun.

Then as we went on, there was a big farm and the farmer was working out in the field with his horses out there with him. I could see the chickens running around the yard and saw some of the cows out in the field. Also saw a dog running out there and lots of cats sunning themselves in the sun by the barn.

I thought it would be so much fun to live on a farm with the farm animals and would be nice to just run in the open fields there.

As we traveled along we would stop in different towns to the train depots there and pick up people and could see the little town or stores.

Along the line was another house and the lady was hanging the clothes out on the line and I could see the children playing ball there too. One of the boys had a wagon and was pulling the other boy in it and was going down a hill and it tobbled over. The mother went rushing over by the children and brushed the legs off and hugged him and set him back into the wagon for another ride. I am sure he was not hurt, but scared.

As we were getting closer to Chicago, I could see the gas station and the Attended out there pumping gas and cleaning off the windows of the old car. Then I could see a grocery store and people were sitting on a bench in front of the store talking and then there were some other stores and people were walking down the street and shopping and visiting with others. They seem to be having such a nice time. And even saw an Soda Fountain Store and I thought that would be fun to go into and get an ice cream cone.

As we were coming closer to Chicago, I could see the tall buildings and I was so excited. I really did enjoy the trip to Chicago so much and wanted to sit by the window coming home too.

As I am now an adult and taking the trip into Chicago is so different as the Metra Train is just a small train compared to the big one we used to ride on. And this one blows the whistle and off you go. You don't hear the chug, chug of the engine like the old one. And this one travels so fast and looking out of the window now you see the big apartment complexes and the swimming
pond is now a big swimming pool with the life guards and lots of kids swimming.

The farmer is no longer there and in its place is a shopping mall that has been put up. You don't see people walking and visiting, but scurrying along and also getting into their cars and going on their merry way.

The Forest Preserve has the little lake for fishing, but it is has benches and picnic tables where you can picnic and enjoy that too. As you enter into Chicago you see the Condos and big buildings and all that has been added along the way. So a vast difference now. Which is better?

Who knows? I think that people are just too busy though to enjoy the beauty around them and taking the time to visit and enjoy each other. What would take us a couple hours to get into Chicago only takes us half the time now...Is Faster better? In our busy schedule...! think so!

So there are pros and cons about everything we do today. I just thank God that I can enjoy what I can.

Comments for Memories: Chicago Train Ride

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Riding Coach in the Old Days
by: Barbara


Thanks for all the train info! I inhaled it, being an inveterate lover of trains.

Many years ago, I was a student at the University of Kentucky. I lived near Washington, D.C. and on rare occasions when I had enough money, I went back and forth on holidays--by train, of course.

I always went coach, and accordingly, sat up all night in the coach car with its lights dimmed. But it was lovely, especially at Christmastime, looking out the window to see all the passing little towns decorated with lights. I didn't get much sleep because the train did indeed rock 'n roll, but I was young, so it didn't matter too much.


Bring Back Our Trains
by: Pegbert2

That was very enjoyable. As a child, I rode the now defunct "Doodle Bug" from Coldwater, KS to Wichita, woo hoo, the "big" city. My last ride I took on it nearly shook the fillings out of my teeth, and it was hard to remain seated. There were no belts of course.

As an adult, I rode the Panama Ltd from Champaign to Chicago. Ah, the luxury in those days! We ate in the dining car with starched white linens, china and sterling cutlery. The professional, immaculate waiters could have served in the fanciest restaurant in either NYC or London. Lordie, I miss those days.

On the weekend of 9/11, I rode Amtrak between Kansas City and St Louis. It was bare-bones and a bit grubby, but the airports were closed and no car rentals were available. As I traveled along the trash strewn and scrubby rail line, I could only compare it in my mind to the beautifully gardened plots rented out to Germans in the Frankfurt area.

In South Africa, we rode the Blue Train from Capetown to Pretoria, a lovely ride in a beautifully restored train. They have recaptured the elegance and luxury, but you pay dearly for it.

In 2009, we herded three Asian exchange students up to Williams, AZ to ride the train to the Grand Canyon. It's a fun ride that Teddy Roosevelt once took. The students were a hit, and they loved the pretty ride and the grandeur of the canyon.

Still on my list is Valley Verde, which is up in the Sedona, AZ area, and I want to take the Canadian cross continent ride (in summer of course).

Loved your story. As you can see, it struck a nerve. Peggy Greene, Tucson

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