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by Webmaster on October 7th, 2007
Christine and I arrived in Chicago Sunday AM via United Airlines. Our seats had approximately 8 inches of space between the seat in front of us. Flying has become an ordeal.
We took the CTA blue line to downtown for $2.00 each. This is a good deal but the O’Hare end of the line is laced with speed restrictions so allow a good hour when you return to the airport. We spent the next three days visiting museums, eating (never a bad meal) and train watching, including the CTA for which we bought two $12.00 three day visitors passes. We rode the loop many times and it was more interesting this time because the red line is detouring on it due to subway track work. We also rode METRA to Berwin for $2.15 each and watched the evening rush hour on the BNSF (old Burlington) mail line. This line is triple track all the way to Aurora and all tracks are signaled for both directions. Trains depart Union Station on 5 to 6 minute headway and frequently end up running beside each other. The speed limit is seventy MPH and believe me they do it.  It’s not unusual to see BNSF or Indiana Harbor Belt freight trains intermixed with the passenger trains. Amtrak is a frequent visitor also. We lost count after 18 trains in less then one hour. Berwin has a four star Italian restaurant with a perfect view of the tracks so we stayed for dinner.
We also rode the Brown line to Kimbal. This line is elevated and in places is four tracks wide because of sharing with the red line. We rode the first car and the motorman opened his door and we chatted for most of the trip. The end of this line returns to grade and believe it or not has four grade crossings with automatic gates!
A boat ride on the Chicago river is a must, Chicago architecture stands second to none. The museum of Science and Industry has rebuilt the model railroad in HO scale and is a must see.
Take some time off and visit down town Chicago, it’s a great city, friendly and cheap if you use the CTA.
Carl and Christine

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