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Pullman Cars Connect Madison, Chicago by Train for First Time in 40 Years

By Kyla Gardner | September 12, 2014 8:02am
 The historic cars have been restored by Pullman Rail Journeys and will make trips between Madison, Wisconsin, and Chicago.
Pullman Rail Cars Now Go to Madison
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CHICAGO — For the first time in 40 years, you'll be able to travel between Madison, Wisconsin, and Chicago by train — and in style, to boot.

Restored, vintage Pullman rail cars from the famous Chicago Pullman Co., will be making the run, and everything from the decorations to the service and food is meant to recreate the experience of early 20th century train travel.

Company Pullman Rail Journeys began operating a line between Chicago and New Orleans in February 2013, with food from Bridgeport chef Dan Traynor and music from the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Kyla Gardner serenades you with her new fiddle skills to replicate the old-time feel of the train ride to Madison:

The new Chicago-Madison service, called The Varsity, will make three limited-run round trips in October, with two of them scheduled around college football games.

The train runs on tracks that are part of the old Milwaukee Road, a network of rails that stretch from Illinois to Washington. Passenger service was halted on those tracks in 1971.

The restored cars aim to be as historically accurate as possible, down to the linens, textiles, silverware, plates and company uniforms, according to Pullman Rail Journeys.

"We have invested countless hours of labor restoring these cars and tapped hundreds of years of combined passenger rail travel experience  to make sure customers enjoy our trains," said Ed Ellis, president of Iowa Pacific Holdings, Pullman Rail Journey's parent company, in a statement.

But the historic cars do offer some modern comforts — like Wi-Fi, showers and outlets.

The Varsity line features seats for both $99 and $199 and will travel to Madison Oct. 3, with a return trip on Oct. 5.

In addition, there are same-day, round-trip journeys:

• On Oct. 4, the train will take fans from Madison to the Wisconsin vs. Northwestern football game;

• On Oct. 11, the train will leave Chicago to take fans to the Illinois vs. Wisconsin football game.

For tickets or more information, click here.

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