Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited’

The Cleveland Shuffle

January 15, 2020

It’s 0 dark 30 at the Cleveland Amtrak station and passengers are coming and going from the eastbound Lake Shore Limited. I set my camera on a tripod and captured this seen with a telephoto lens.

The view is looking primarily at the Amfleet II coaches. No. 48 still carried a Heritage Fleet dining car and crew dorm in those days.

One Night at the Cleveland Amtrak Station

January 7, 2020

On most days if you want to photograph Amtrak in Northeast Ohio you’ll need a good tripod because the four trains that cross the region daily do so between 1:30 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Back in the late 1990s I dabbled with making night photographs of Amtrak trains at the Cleveland station.

The two images shown above were made on Aug. 22, 1998. You’ve probably forgotten but it was a momentous day in railroad history because Norfolk Southern and CSX took administrative control of Conrail.

That had no effect on Conrail operations because the carrier continued to operate as normal until being formally divided on June 1, 1999.

In 1998 Amtrak’s P42DC locomotives still wore the Phase III livery in which they were delivered although some had the Phase IV look and the now ubiquitous Phase V livery would be introduced in the next year.

Shown above is dome lounge No. 2511. Like any Heritage Fleet car that was still operating in the late 1990s, this car has an interesting history.

It was built by Budd in April 1950 as Pacific Park for the Union Pacific, a 10 roomette, 6 double bedroom sleeper. At UP it was No. 1430.

It initially carried Amtrak roster 2623 and became the 2923 when rebuilt in September 1977 for head end power capability.

It was transformed into a dorm lounge in April 1998. Amtrak’s thinking at the time was that it could double as a lounge, but that apparently didn’t happen because Amtrak onboard crew members objected to having revenue passengers in their dorm car.

Amtrak retired the 2511 in June 2006. It was stored at the Beech Grove shops for several years until being offered for sale in 2018.

Bring ‘er on Back

January 6, 2020

Every day the Lake Shore Limited engages in a ritual at the Albany-Rensselaer, New York, station that is as old as the train itself.

The Boston and New York sections separate and a new locomotive is put onto No. 48 to take it to New York City.

It is July 1999 and I’m watching that ritual play out as a crew members gives the engineer of P32DMAC No. 712 a signal to back up and couple onto the consist of No. 48.

Soon I’ll be back on board and on my way to the Big Apple.

Long Way From Its Roots

January 5, 2020

Amtrak dining car 8507 was part of the consist of the eastbound Lake Shore Limited in Albany-Rensselaer, New York, on July 12, 2000.

It is wearing at least its third roster number since being built in 1957 by Budd for the Northern Pacific, which assigned it to the North Coast Limited.

At one time this dining car was NP No. 463 and Amtrak No. 8049.

It became No. 8507 when it was rebuilt in March 1980 with head-end power capability.

It is wearing the Phase IV livery with its emphasis on Federal Standard 15090 blue along the windows.

No. 8507 would be among the last of the Amtrak Heritage Fleet dining cars in active service before it was retired in April 2018.

We Interrupt Your Errands for an Amtrak Train

December 13, 2019

The photographer reported that he was running errands on Thursday morning when he learned that Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited was running more than two hours late.

Some quick calculations found that he could be trackside in Painesville, Ohio, on the CSX Erie West Subdivision that Amtrak No. 48 uses in about a minute after making its scheduled stop at the post office.

He waited five minutes before No. 48 came charging past with Phase III P42DC heritage unit No. 145 on the point.

No. 48 was late because it was stuck behind the eastbound Capitol Limited after it struck a vehicle at a grade crossing in Ligonier, Indiana, on late Wednesday night.

The driver of the vehicle was killed. Police said he pulled onto the tracks in front of Amtrak No. 30.

Photograph by Edward Ribinskas

F40s Were Still the Motive Power of Choice

December 6, 2019

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited saunters through Berea, Ohio, on March 30, 1996.

No. 48 was running late that day although I no longer remember how far behind scheduled it was.

At the time, F40PH locomotives were the motive power of choice on the Lake Shore.

But not for much longer. Already P40 units were on the property and Amtrak would begin taking delivery of P42DC locomotives starting in August 1996.

For those who like to pay attention to consists, Nos. 48 and 49 in this era was a mixture of three equipment types. Heritage fleet baggage cars, sleepers and dining cars co-mingled with Viewliner sleepers and Amfleet coaches and cafe cars.

The Lake Shore also had a healthy load of material handling cars tacked on the rear carrying mail and express shipments.

That is a Conrail auto rack train passing No. 48 on Track No. 1.

Amtrak Handled Heavy Loads During Thanksgiving

December 3, 2019

Amtrak trains ran most full with many selling out during the Thanksgiving travel period.

A survey conducted by Trains magazine found there were numerous sell-outs or near sell-outs on Sunday between New York and Boston.

Winter weather may have helped boost travel on Sunday in the East. Weather related delays were mostly minimal in the Northeast Corridor, averaging about 30 minutes.

In the Midwest, Trains found that all Chicago-St. Louis and Chicago-Michigan trains sold out on Wednesday and Sunday.

Some seats were available on other Midwest trains, many of which had additional coaches for the travel period.

Long-distance trains leaving Chicago on Sunday were mostly sold out although some coach seats were available on the California Zephyr and Lake Shore Limited.

Winter weather caused delays into Chicago of long-distance trains of about three hours. An exception was the California Zephyr, which arrived at Union Station seven hours late.

On Friday the Empire Builder was eight and a half hours late arriving in Chicago.

No trains were canceled due to the winter weather conditions.

Amtrak Adds Padding to CONO, WB Lake Shore Limited

November 23, 2019

Amtrak has been quietly adding additional running time to some routes, including the City of New Orleans and Lake Shore Limited.

Most of the changes have involved endpoint terminals, but in some instances time has been added at intermediate stations.

Schedules posted on Amtrak’s website for the City of New Orleans effective Oct. 1 show that 20 minutes has been added to the northbound arrival time of in Chicago since May 2018.

Effective with the May 13 departure from New Orleans, No. 59’s arrival time in Chicago was changed from 9 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.

The Oct. 1 schedule change shows No. 58 is now scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 9:20 a.m.

The times at stations north of Mattoon, Illinois, for No. 58 also have been adjusted with the time at Champaign-Urbana moved from 6:10 a.m. to 6:15 a.m., Kankakee was changed from 7:13 a.m. to 7:18 a.m., and Homewood was changed from 7:44 a.m. to 7:49 a.m.

The arrival time in New Orleans for No. 59 has been lengthened by nine minutes, but times at intermediate stations are unchanged from their earlier schedules.

In fact, the times at intermediate stations for No. 59 are unchanged from Amtrak’s last printed national timetable, which was issued on Jan. 11, 2016.

The intermediate times for No. 58 are unchanged since 2016 from New Orleans to Mattoon.

It is not clear if the recent changes to the schedules of the City of New Orleans are linked to a battle Amtrak has been having with host railroad Canadian National over what Amtrak believes is poor dispatching.

Amtrak has asked the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to intervene, but thus far the STB has urged the two sides to continue in mediation.

The current schedules posted on the Amtrak website for Chicago-Carbondale, Illinois, corridor trains the Illini and Saluki, which use the same tracks as the City of New Orleans show no changes in schedules.

Those schedules were last updated on Sept. 13, 2017. That schedule also continues to show No. 58 scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 9 a.m.

As for the Lake Shore Limited, the only change in the schedule dated Nov. 11 is to change the Chicago arrival time of No. 49 to 9:50 a.m. It had been 9:45 a.m.

Times at intermediate stations served by No. 49 remain unchanged as does the schedule of eastbound Train No. 48.

The Nov. 11 schedule for the Lake Shore Limited continues to show that café car service remains unavailable on Nos. 48 and 49 between New York City and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

Amtrak has also posted new schedules for the Cardinal, Crescent, Capitol Limited and Silver Meteor that show no schedule changes but reflect the inauguration of flexible dinning service for sleeping car passengers.

Springfield Station Work to Be Completed Soon

November 23, 2019

A platform construction project at Springfield Union Station in Massachusetts is expected to be completed soon, perhaps in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas travel periods.

The Springfield Redevelopment Authority, which owns and manages the depot, said the last work to be completed includes installation of an elevator to take passengers to the boarding platforms and completion of work on a pedestrian tunnel to the platforms.

The $11 million state-funded project includes a new ADA compliant high-level platform.

Although the new Platform C has been ready to use for some time, but stairs and elevator have not.

Most of the work on the station was completed in June 2017, but Platform C and the rest of the $103 million refurbishment of the station was not.

An inspection found the original platform was too narrow to meet ADA standards and replacing it was a lengthy process involving coordination among the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the railroads and the redevelopment authority.

Amtrak moved its ticket office last summer to the main concourse where it is near Greyhound, Peter Pan Bus Lines, a Subway sandwich shop, Dunkin’ Donuts, an auto rental counter and a convenience store.

In an unrelated development, Amtrak released ridership figures showing an increase in patronage on routes serving Springfield.

The New Haven-Springfield route — which operates in tandem with the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s CTrail Hartford Line — had a 26.5 percent increase from 286,477 in fiscal 2018 to 362,442 in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

Ridership of the Vermonter up 1.4 percent from 97,909 to 99,280.

The Lake Shore Limited saw patronage rise 5.9 percent from 337,882 to 357,682.

NY Amtrak Routes Posted Ridership Gains in FY2019

November 23, 2019

Ridership numbers for various Amtrak routes are starting to be released in the wake of the passenger carrier releasing a summary of its fiscal year 2019 performance.

This includes routes serving the Empire Corridor of New York where the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf posted a 6.5 percent increase to 390,355 passengers.

The Lake Shore Limited, which links Chicago with Boston and New York, saw a 5.9 percent gain to 357,682 passengers, while the Empire Corridor south of Albany posted a 5.5 percent gain to 1,214,206 passengers.

The Adirondack between New York and Montreal was up 5.5 percent, while the Ethan Allen Express between New York and Rutland was up 1.7 percent.