Amtrak No. 48 Does the Cleveland Shuffle

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Amtrak No. 48 arrives in Cleveland just after 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 10. The train was forced to use an industrial track to do its station work in Cleveland. One of the Cleveland Amtrak agents has a cart full of luggage ready to load aboard the train.

The eastbound Lake Shore Limited on Friday morning was already running four hours late when it reached the outskirts of Cleveland. Here, it would encounter a complicated situation that delayed it by three more hours.

I don’t know all of the information behind the situation, only a few bits and pieces. I’ll pick up the story when I arrived at the Cleveland Amtrak station at almost 9 a.m. with the objective of getting some daylight photos of No. 48. The scheduled arrival time for No. 48 is 5:35 a.m. Amtrak’s website estimated that it would arrive at 9:08 a.m.

I took up a position on the platform and waited. Shortly thereafter, I saw a train coming toward the platform, but it wasn’t Amtrak. It was a CSX local with steel coil cars doing a backup move. “Not a good sign,” I thought. Amtrak must have been delayed further.

The CSX local went past and stopped east of the station. From the angle I saw I thought it had backed into a siding. Apparently not. A report on Train Orders.com indicates that the CSX crew outlawed and its train was sitting on the mainline that Amtrak uses to go east to Buffalo, N.Y. To see that post and photos go to:

Maybe so, but I also later learned that about 7:30 a.m. a CSX local had run a stop signal near the Cleveland Drawbridge on NS. NS supervisors were on the scene investigating. The CSX crew reportedly claimed that the slack ran out on the train, which is why it went past the stop signal. Whatever the case, it was a factor in Amtrak 48 having to do its station work in Cleveland from a track known as 44 Industrial.

It is not unheard of for Amtrak trains to use this track, but typically that is only for specials. I’m not aware of a scheduled Amtrak train using 44 Industrial to do its station work. It may have happened before, but it is probably not all that common.

There must have been something else going on because Amtrak 48 was stopped west of the Cleveland Drawbridge for quite some time. Initially, the Amtrak agent said 48 would arrive at 9:30 a.m. Then a half-hour later an announcement was made that the train was stopped with mechanical problems. Whatever was going on, No. 48 did not arrive at the Cleveland station until 11:08 a.m.

The train had to make three stops to do its station at the “grade crossing” of 44 Industrial.

The engineer on No. 48 had gone into the station while the boarding was completed. When he came out all of the passengers were back aboard as well as the two conductors. He expressed surprise that the train had been “buttoned up” already. That’s because he wanted to go to the café car the refill his coffee.

He noticed that I had a hand held scanner and asked if I was on channel 64 — the NS Road channel. He seemed surprised to see a digital readout of the frequency and not the AAR number. He also asked “how do you key this thing up.” I explained that it was a receiver and not a two-way radio.

He must have found a two-way radio someplace because I heard him asking the conductors to meet him at the café car for a job briefing. He also must have gotten his coffee refilled while inside the café car.

Finally, No. 48 got the signal to do the backup move and exactly one hour after it had been projected to arrived, it came rolling past the platform at the Cleveland Amtrak station.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Two Cleveland Amtrak agents load and unload baggage from the Boston baggage car of 448.

Two Cleveland Amtrak agents load and unload baggage from the Boston baggage car of 448.

Passengers are lined up waiting to board the train. They are standing on the crossing of the Waterfront Line. The Amtrak station is out of view to the right.

Passengers are lined up waiting to board the train. They are standing on the crossing of the Waterfront Line. The Amtrak station is out of view to the right.

The baggage work is complete and No. 48 is pulling down for the first of two passenger stops.

The baggage work is complete and No. 48 is pulling down for the first of two passenger stops.

Passengers were allowed to detrain for a smoking stop or to stretch their legs. That break has ended and the last of the passengers is reboarding the train. The view shows the sidewalk that leads from the Amtrak station out across the RTA tracks and toward the platform. The two people in the foreground are the Cleveland Amtrak agents.

Passengers were allowed to detrain for a smoking stop or to stretch their legs. That break has ended and the last of the passengers is reboarding the train. The view shows the sidewalk that leads from the Amtrak station out across the RTA tracks and toward the platform. The two people in the foreground are the Cleveland Amtrak agents.

Everyone is on board and the Amtrak train has the signal to do a backup move. The plan was for Amtrak to backup onto Chicago Line No. 1 west of the drawbridge and wait for the CSX local to get out of the way west of the drawbridge on Chicago Line No. 2. Here No. 48 is backing up past the station on 44 Industrial.

Everyone is on board and the Amtrak train has the signal to do a backup move. The plan was for Amtrak to backup onto Chicago Line No. 1 west of the drawbridge and wait for the CSX local to get out of the way west of the drawbridge on Chicago Line No. 2. Here No. 48 is backing up past the station on 44 Industrial.

 

The RTA Waterfront Line trains were passing the Amtrak station frequently as No. 48 did its station work. By the time I took this photograph, Amtrak 48 had been in Cleveland at the Amtrak station for 47 minutes.

The RTA Waterfront Line trains were passing the Amtrak station frequently as No. 48 did its station work. By the time I took this photograph, Amtrak 48 had been in Cleveland at the Amtrak station for 47 minutes.

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This is the photo that I originally had expected to make when No. 48 arrived. This image was made nearly three hours after the Lake Shore Limited had been projected to arrive.

: No. 48 is headed for New York where it arrived at 12:33 a.m., nearly six hours late. No. 448 arrived in Boston at 3:29 a.m., more than six hours late. The baggage car on the New York section looks like it has racked up quite a few miles and quite a bit of use.

: No. 48 is headed for New York where it arrived at 12:33 a.m., nearly six hours late. No. 448 arrived in Boston at 3:29 a.m., more than six hours late. The baggage car on the New York section looks like it has racked up quite a few miles and quite a bit of use.

 

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