Ultra Late 49 and About to Get Later

The westbound Lake Shore Limited is more than 10 hours late as it saunters through Olmsted Falls, Ohio, on Sunday, July 20.

The westbound Lake Shore Limited is more than 10 hours late as it saunters through Olmsted Falls, Ohio, on Sunday, July 20.

Amtrak’s westbound Lake Shore Limited left New York Penn Station six hours late after a Saturday afternoon rock slide near Peerskill, N.Y., blocked the tracks. Not only was Amtrak affected, but so were Metro North commuter trains.

Hmmmmm. If this keeps up, No. 49 will be through Cleveland in late morning or early afternoon. No. 49 is scheduled to arrive into Cleveland at 3:27 a.m. and although it is frequently late, it seldom is late enough to be seen in daylight.

I kept an eye on No. 49 and decided to capture it at Olmsted Falls. Amtrak Julie predicted a 1:44 p.m. arrival before I left my house just after 11 a.m.

At some point, the Amtrak website put No. 49 into “service disruption” mode and the last report was departing Buffalo Depew station at 10:44 a.m., 10 hours and 45 minutes late.

I would later learn that No. 49 had arrived in Cleveland at 2:06 p.m., 10 hours and 33 minutes late.

With Julie of no help, I had to rely on radio reports on the NS road channel. The NS dispatchers had their hands full, particularly the Toledo East dispatcher who had to contend with 18 miles of single track west of CP 216 near Vermilion.

At one point, trains 21Z, 21G, 27J, 15N and 417 were backed up waiting for track as a small fleet of eastbounds was allowed to move on the single track.

On the Cleveland Terminal side, westbound 19A tripped the detector southeast of Cleveland. Trains 65R and 65K were re-crewed in the Cleveland area and from the sound of things on the radio more westbounds were coming.

The first report I heard of No. 49 was about 2:10 p.m. when the Cleveland Terminal dispatcher reported that Amtrak had just left the station. Shortly thereafter, the terminal dispatcher called Amtrak 49.

“Hey, do you guys have any passengers on that train?”

“Oh yeah, we’re packed.”

Presumably, the dispatcher took this information into account in deciding what trains to move and when. His immediate interest was the 65K, which had re-crewed at CP Max and was ready to leave. At first the dispatcher told the 65K that it would follow Amtrak out of CP Max.

Then the 65K was told to take ’em down to Eastland Road. Ultimately, the 65K was told to watch for signal indication at CP 194. No sooner had that information been conveyed but the Toledo East dispatcher came on to tell the 65K not to go past Lewis Road (MP 195) until instructed to do so.

Amtrak typically leaves the Cleveland station on Track No. 1 but must cross over to Track No. 2 to work the platform at Elyria. I am not sure if No. 49 crossed over at CP Max or at Berea. Whatever the case, the engineer called a clear signal for Track No. 2 at 195.

Shortly after Amtrak had passed Olmsted Falls at 2:35 p.m., I heard the Toledo East dispatcher tell the foreman at the single tracking site that five eastbounds would the next movements.

The dispatcher told Amtrak that it would go two to one at CP 210, I think it was, and would pull in behind a freight at CP 216. If I understood this correctly, it meant that No. 49 would be waiting for the five eastbounds plus the westbound in front of him to get out of the way.

I would find out later that I had heard correctly. A friend reported that No. 49 went through Vermilion at 5 p.m. it had taken an hour and a half for No. 49 to travel about 20 miles.

Here is what my friend reported:

“It [No. 49] ended up sitting for six eastbounds and the 15N went ahead of it through the single lining. We never did see the 417; it was the low man on the pole and then some. They ran the 65R oil train around it, as well.

“The 65K was still being held as were the 145, 11V and at least two others. The 18N was coming out of Bellevue and wondering why he was going into the siding at Avery with the trains it was meeting no where in sight. ‘No where for you to go once you get to Vermillon,’ came the explanation from the dispatcher.

“The dispatcher shifted the traffic direction to eastbound for the 20E, just as we were leaving about 6:15 p.m.

“There were some good chuckles from listening to the radio conversations. The 65R and the foreman were having a tough time hearing each other, but everyone else on the railroad could hear both of them just fine.”

An online report indicated that No. 49 terminated at Toledo and the passengers were taken by bus to Chicago. Passengers for No. 48 on Sunday night were to travel by bus to Toledo.

At about 6 a.m. on Monday morning, the Amtrak universe in Northeast Ohio had returned to normal. No. 48 was doing 79 mph east of Sandusky and appeared to be operating about an hour late on the Track a Train feature. The status mechanism said information on arrival and departure times at Cleveland were unavailable due to a service disruption.

As for No. 49 today, it was running an hour and 16 minutes late. I’m sure some passengers grumbled about that. If they only knew what they missed had they been scheduled to board their train a day earlier.

Late4902

Three generations of Amtrak rolling stock can be seen in this view. There are Amfleet II coaches, a heritage fleet dining car and two Viewliner sleepers.

Three generations of Amtrak rolling stock can be seen in this view. There are Amfleet II coaches, a heritage fleet dining car and two Viewliner sleepers.

Two passengers wave from the back of private car Mount Vernon.

Two passengers wave from the back of private car Mount Vernon.

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One Response to “Ultra Late 49 and About to Get Later”

  1. Aaron Bransky Says:

    Interesting post — as the old saying goes, “A late train just gets later”.

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