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Thu October 6, 2011
Train from Detroit to Chicago, time out for good news
AccuWeather, the respected private weather forecasting service based in Pennsylvania, is predicting this will be a horrible winter, worse even than the last one. This news came on the very day it became certain that it will
soon be faster to escape to Chicago.
After negotiating for months, the Michigan Department of Transportation announced yesterday a deal to buy one hundred and thirty miles of track between Kalamazoo and Dearborn. This track badly needs improving, and next summer, they’ll pour close to two hundred million dollars into expanding and improving it, so trains can go up to one hundred and ten miles an hour.
That will be a good thing, partly because federal funds are going to be used to pay for virtually all of this. When the work is done, it should be possible to get to Chicago by train almost as fast as by air, when you count the time standing in line for security.
Train travel is also cheaper and far more comfortable than air these days. But, what does this welcome bit of news have to do with the weather? Simply this. Originally, the track was supposed to be upgraded this year, but
negotiations took longer than expected.
That may sound like bad news, but it is a blessing in disguise. The weather in Chicago this winter is supposed to be the worst of all. So there will be no point in trying to escape to the Windy City this year. So, everything
works out for the best. Or, we hope so, anyway.
But if a few of us are thinking about trains, a few million more are hoping fervently that the Detroit Tigers manage to beat the New York Yankees tonight. If the Tigers win, they go on to play Texas for the pennant, in what you could see as a sports metaphor for the battle between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry for the Republican presidential nomination.
Actually I am probably the only person who would see it that way, but I am a political analyst. Even if you aren’t a baseball fan, you have to root for the Tigers; another round of playoffs would mean a few million more
dollars pumped into Detroit’s struggling economy.
Selfishly, some of us want the Tigers to keep winning so we can spend less time thinking about other things, like the economy and crooked politicians. Not to mention the weather. These days, there are so many playoffs that
the World Series frequently extends into November, not long before AccuWeather says the first killer snowstorms may hit.
It would be something if the World Series were to be snowed out. But as anyone over the age of six knows, weather forecasts are notoriously unreliable, and meteorologists disagree.
The Old Farmers Almanac in fact predicts the opposite of Accuweather, and says this will be a milder than normal winter. Frankly. I have to hope they are right. See, when they told me the improvements to the railroad tracks would be made this summer, I bought tickets to take the train to Chicago next January.
But if I end up stuck in Chicago till spring, there are consolations. Whatever happens with the Yankees, we know the Tigers can at least beat the White Sox.