I was there to ride the last run of Rock Island Lines' No. 190, the last vestige of the Zephyr Rocket, a Minneapolis-St. Louis streamliner jointly operated by the Rock Island and the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy. The train debuted in 1941, with a sleeper and observation-lounge, as well as reclining seat coaches. By the mid-sixties it was coach-only, but the railroads kept it running until the Post Office canceled the mail contract. Without the Railway Post Office, the lightly-patronized train would become a big money-loser, and the two railroads petitioned for discontinuance in late 1966. After a series of hearings the Interstate Commerce Commission granted the petition.
So I was there on the platform as the train came in, led by a single diesel locomotive, followed by the R.P.O, the baggage car, and a single coach. I snapped a picture of the coach before boarding. I had a simple Kodak camera with a flash attachment. The big press bulbs I had bought captured the image.
The Minneapolis-St. Louis corridor, in a civilized country, would have high-speed trains traversing the route. Instead, we Midwesterners are going to have to fight to keep the few trains we have. It's still possible to go between St. Paul and St. Louis by train, but with a change of trains in Chicago. And if the Trump Administration has its way, the St. Paul-Chicago link will be gone by the end of September. Once again it's time to repeat author Peter Lyon's line from To Hell in a Day Coach: "Passengers of America Unite! You have nothing to lose but your trains!