Posts Tagged ‘boarding passengers’

Boarding in Durand

August 12, 2018

Passengers board Amtrak’s westbound Blue Water in Durand, Michigan, with most of them en route to Chicago.

The tracks used by Amtrak here are owned by Canadian National but their ancestry is Grand Trunk Western.

GTW’s trains to Chicago were discontinued with the coming of Amtrak in 1971, but later revived with funding from the State of Michigan.

Waiting for His Passengers

January 16, 2018

An Amtrak sleeping car attendant stands on the platform of the north concourse of Chicago Union Station to welcome passengers for his car aboard the westbound Empire Builder.

These tracks were once used by trains of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul and today Amtrak uses the ex-Milwaukee Road route between Chicago and the Twin Cities.

Although boarding of No. 7 began on time, the train will depart late from Chicago largely due to late inbound trains, most notably the Lake Shore Limited. Also being held on this day for connecting passengers were the departing California Zephyr and Southwest Chief.

Amtrak Institutes New Chicago Boarding Procedure

November 18, 2016

Amtrak institute new boarding procedures for coach passengers at Chicago Union Station last month.

Amtrak logoPassengers boarding trains that require reservations are now required to check in on the day of travel and obtain a boarding pass.

Once passengers have checked in and received a boarding pass, they will be directed to the appropriate boarding area to wait for their train.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said “the earlier you check in, the earlier you’ll be in the boarding process. If you don’t check in, you’ll be among the last to board.”

The check-in procedure will not apply to Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha Service trains because they are unreserved.

Boarding will begin about a half-hour before departure and passengers will board with their assigned group much in the same way that Southwest Airlines handles boarding of its planes.

According to the service advisory, general boarding for passengers traveling in coach class will take place in the Great Hall where there will be signs directing passengers to the location of their assigned group.

Passengers may purchase a $20 priority boarding pass for the Legacy Club, making them the first coach class group to board. Uniformed military personnel can enjoy the Legacy Club free of charge.

Seniors age 62 and over, customers with disabilities, families with children 12 and under, and non-uniformed active duty military personnel can board with assistance from the south boarding lounge, ahead of general boarding.

Passengers in sleeping car or business Class, or are a Select Plus or a Select Executive Amtrak Guest Rewards member will not need a boarding pass. They will board from the Metropolitan Lounge and continue to receive advance boarding.

Amtrak advised that passengers should be at Chicago Union Station no later than 45 minutes before departure and 60 minutes if assistance is needed with ticketing, baggage, pets, bikes or other services. Boarding gates will close five minutes before train departure time.

Amtrak’s Illini is Now Boarding

November 7, 2016


There is nothing extraordinary about this photograph that you will be able to readily see.

It was made at Chicago Union Station in March 2014 at the boarding gate of the Illini, a Chicago to Carbondale, Illinois, train that is funded by the State of Illinois.

Departing at 4:05 p.m., it is one of the most popular trains for passengers traveling to the downstate Illinois points of Kankakee, Gilman, Rantoul, Champaign-Urbana, Mattoon, Effingham, Centralia, Du Quoin and Carbondale.

What you don’t see or can’t tell is why I made this photograph. It wasn’t to show a boarding gate at CUS.

It was to make a record of the last time that I would ride a train that figured in my life for 20 years.

I moved to Cleveland in August 1993. The following April, I began what would be a twice-a-year ritual of taking Amtrak to visit my Dad in Mattoon, Illinois.

I would ride either the Capitol Limited or Lake Shore Limited to Chicago and then take the Illini to Mattoon. I would return to Chicago from Mattoon on the City of New Orleans and, later, the Saluki. Then I had my choice of either No. 30 or No. 48 to return to Cleveland.

But I always rode the Illini to Mattoon. In 20 years some changes were bound to occur even if they were relatively minor.

When I first began riding the Illini it was No. 391 and departed at 4 p.m. Once the Saluki began service in 2006 the number of the southbound Illini changed to 393. The schedule changed slightly to depart at 4:05 p.m.

My Dad moved to Arizona in May 2014 and I knew when I visited him in March that it would be the last time that I make that Cleveland-Chicago-Mattoon trek by rail.

So I made this image to record what for me was the end of an era.