On the Train to Chicago, Published 8 June 1942Here you are on a train with me, heading for Madison, Wisconsin, as fast as we can go. We'll visit Chicago, capital of the Isolationist Belt, and we'll go to Wisconsin, a Land of Contented Cows and Discontented Politicians. In this swing of ours through corn acres and dairy pasture, we'll ride seven different railways, study United States at war, and when we go into Madison, we'll put the 48th candle on the travel cake, for this will be the 48th state capital we have visited in these columns.
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In the first place, it is a glorious feeling to be going to Chicago. For me, it is far more thrilling than heading for New York. I first landed in the Windy City, a scared, tired, hungry, impoverished and unemployed youth back in 1917, and the town has had magic for me ever since. It never jades me. Imagine then, my feeling, as I sat down at the depot in the Canadian Pacific train behind 2202, knowing that on the next morning, the modern Samarkand would be out my sleeper window.
They stop an endless time at Carleton Place while they cut the train in two and give you a new engine, but 2509 whisked us down to BrockviIle in jig time, and first thing I knew, I was taking movies of the big streamlined C.N.R. 6403. They cut our car in behind that baby, and after I had got the crew to turn off the steam so I could take a still photo of the old-timer C.P.R. 3011 on the siding, we headed west over the double track.
It's a sweet lullaby she sings, as Pool No. 5 gurgles through the granite rocks, lilts past the limestone, and then straightens out for some local work all the way to Toronto. The heavens outside wept, but my timetable heart sang a song. I was riding the cushions. I was smelling the smoke, I was on the Chicago train.
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At Toronto I stopped off long enough to hold a family reunion in the Royal York Hotel, and then once more I was on a train, this time the crack Canadian Pacific's No. 19. behind the big four-wheeler No. 3000. He lifted us out of the Holy City so fast you'd think sin was chasing him down the tracks. The customs man put the flashlight into my baggage, and the next thing I knew, there was the sunlight splashing all over my Pullman crib. The song the wheels sang was Back Home Again in Indiana.
Then we passed the steel mills of Gary. swung north, and the shrill siren of the Illinois Central suburban electrics told us that the train trip was about over. Big, kindly, friendly Chicago started to crowd in around me, 30 storeys high, the motor cars on the outer drive conserved their tires as usual at a mile a minute, we passed the old Chicago fair grounds and a minute later, the red cap had my stuff.
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Chicago where will you find a place like it? City of 30 railways, home of Amos and Andy, and headquarters for Don MacNeill's Breakfast Club. Home town for the White Sox and the Cubs, not to mention the Black Hawks. Center of isolationism, girdled by the Loop, and baptized at times by gangster lead. But before I get lyric, let me rush you down Michigan avenue in a taxi, where I got colored movies of the fleet traffic on thus one-sided street. Then a swing west into the Loop itself, past the fabulous State street, and over to the Union Depot.
Here, after taking plenty of pictures of the spectacular yellow and red coaches of the Milwaukee Road. I was told it was against the law. The war had caught up with Chicago. Last time I got in trouble photographing trains was in Stolpce. on the Polish-Russian border. I miver dreamed this grim ordinance would come to good old Chicago.
Since I want to tell you more, about wartime breakfast in Chi, I'll break off her and pick you up in the next column