The cover of this menu is probably meant to show off the C&NW as an exemplar of modern transportation in comparison to whatever kind of transport is being serviced by the blacksmith in the foreground. Inside, this is a lunch menu for a “Football Special” taking people from Iowa City to Madison for the Iowa-Wisconsin game on October 18, 1958.
That game must have been exciting, as Wisconsin was undefeated up to that point while Iowa had won two games and tied one. Wisconsin’s newly expanded Camp Randall Stadium held its largest crowd up to that point as 65,251 people crammed into 63,425 seats. Iowa managed to win by 20 to 9, and went on to win the conference, the Rose Bowl, and be ranked number 2 in the nation after undefeated LSU.
That leaves the question of how the football special got from Iowa City to Madison. C&NW’s main line didn’t serve Iowa City, and any normal passenger would have to take a bus to Cedar Rapids, then go by train from there to Chicago and change trains to one to Madison. If this were truly a special train, it probably took a freight-only line to Cedar Rapids, then east to De Kalb, Illinois, and from there north to Madison, thus by-passing Chicago.