We are on time at station stops at Mendota, Princeton and Galesburg, Illinois. At Fort Madison, Iowa, we stop for a five-minute smoke. The station, located 100 yards from the Mississippi River, is notoriously cold due to winds from the river. Tonight is no exception as the temperature is 32 degrees.

At 7 p.m., we are expecting the train to leave, but chatter on the radio indicates some kind of problem. The conductor says he’s heading over, a light is requested and someone announces there will be delay of 15 minutes. I’ll play detective and attempt to decipher that tidbit of information.