Metra teaches ailing child how to operate trains

May 7, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Justin Bonny, 7, of southwest suburban Bolingbrook has a life-threatening medical condition, but on Saturday he enjoyed a unique experience -- he was shown how to operate a Metra train on the agency's simulator.

Then, Bonny took over the controls. He was even given a challenge: driving through a simulated snowstorm.

Metra CEO Alex Clifford praised Bonny for passing the test, and gave him an honorary engineer's license and ID card. The new engineer also received many gifts, including a model engine that's named for him.

Bonny's special day was also the 4th annual National Train Day, as well as Amtrak's 40th anniversary.

Amtrak celebrated with attractions that drew a big crowd to Union Station. There were interactive and educational exhibits, including one for high-speed rail. Visitors were given posters and other mementos of Amtrak's four decades of service.

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