I grew up bike-riding distance from one of the coolest interchanges in the Midwest. Rondout, Illinois. As I grew up. My dad instilled in me a love of
trains and being so close to a prime railfanning spot, many hours were spent by me and my friends watching trains, walking the tracks, hanging out
under the trestle over the river, etc. As I got older, I would take my lunch breaks in my car, sitting in a gravel parking lot next to the (now)
Canadian Pacific tracks. Long freights we common and the Metra commuter trains were on regular schedules. Amtrak used the line too, so, a
point-to-point Amtrak train would go through 4 or 5 times a day as well.
Sundays were the best, though. Low Metra numbers and there just might be a unique train excursion running from Milwaukee to Chicago. Steam and old
diesel train lash-ups are a sight to see.
One bright sunny Sunday I was sitting in my camper van watching trains go by and a...different train went by. It was just like a lash-up Amtrak train
with a P-40 Loco on one end and a Dash 8 on the other with cars in between. I thought it was odd because it wasn't
and Amtrak-marked train.
The equipment was all white and the 8 or 9 baggage cars were white with a blue, wide stripe and blue car numbers with only numbers and no designation
letters. Just low numbers, like, 82, 67, 155. I don't remember the actual numbers, but, I did note the oddity of no reporting owner marks like DTTX
Another difference was Amtrak trains rarely stop. Usually, they are hauling ass, kicking up a great following of dust and debris as they rip on
through the grade crossing. This one stopped about 100 yards before the grade crossing and just sat there, idling. 10 minutes later, it throttled up
and continued south towards the city. This in itself isn't too odd because many trains pause here while an EJ&E freight passes at the crossing of the
CP 60 yards south of the grade crossing (Illinois Rt 176). But, this one stopped and nothing crossed or interfered with it's journey that I could
see from my good vantage point. As it passed, I lazily watched but thought it odd that there were no passenger-hauling cars, but, just the baggage
cars that usually
accompany the passenger cars.
As a train-fan I was pretty intrigued by the color, numbers and actions of the train, but, it wasn't till a few years later, with my interest in
Conspiracy-themed stuff, that I really thought it fishy.
This thread really woke it up from it's slumber in my memory.
Thanks, OP Leo.
Starred and flagged.