Posts Tagged ‘Toledo’s Central Union Terminal’

Getting Up Close With Amtrak P42DC No. 156

May 23, 2016
Amtrak No. 156, the Phase I heritage locomotive, led a train of a Viewliner baggage car, an Amfleet II coach, an Amfleet cafe car and a Viewliner sleeper.

Amtrak No. 156, the Phase I heritage locomotive, led a train of a Viewliner baggage car, an Amfleet II coach, an Amfleet cafe car and a Viewliner sleeper.

Until early this month, I had seen Amtrak P42DC just once. That occurred as I was leaving Chicago Union Station aboard the eastbound Capitol Limited and I got a glimpse of the 156 sitting in the coach yard south of the depot.

My memory is that it went out later that night on the point of the eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

I’m one to think that Amtrak’s Phase I livery was its best. In particular, I liked how it looked on the SDP40F locomotives, but the E and F units looked nice in the “pointless arrow” scheme, too.

The Phase I livery did not look so good on GG1 electric motors, but I never saw any of those other than in photographs.

No. 156 has been all over the country, but our paths have never crossed. I’ve seen scores of photographs of it, including some made in Cleveland.

Some guys I know in the Akron Railroad Club have caught No. 156 more than once. I, though, never even had as much as a near miss with the 156.

I didn’t know that it would be in Toledo for this year’s National Train Day event until Friday afternoon before the event when I saw a posting about it on Facebook. Needless to say, that had me quite excited.

My friend Adam and I arrived in Toledo just after 8 a.m. and there was, at long last, the 156.

Yes, I took a lot of photographs of it. To be sure, it was just sitting there, providing hotel power for an Amtrak display train.

But that didn’t matter. It’s nose was open and it looked like it was pulling a train.

Now that I finally have it, the next challenge is to catch it actually leading a train on the road. That might take some time and a little bit of luck as well.

Of course I made a roster shot of Amtrak 156.

Of course I made a roster shot of Amtrak 156.

The nose needs a little touch-up painting to cover some scratches and dings from life on the road.

The nose needs a little touch-up painting to cover some scratches and dings from life on the road.

The passenger side of the platform with the display train.

The passenger side of the platform with the display train.

If the fuel outlet is where the edge of the "pointless arrow" is supposed to go, no problem. Just paint over it.

If the fuel outlet is where the edge of the “pointless arrow” is supposed to go, no problem. Just paint over it.

Miniature Lake Shore Limited on Display in Toledo

May 8, 2016
Amtrak No. 156 heads a display train at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

Amtrak No. 156 heads a display train at Toledo Central Union Terminal.

Toledo1 May 7-x

Toledo3 May 7-x

Toledo, Ohio, held its annual National Train Day festival on Saturday (May 7) and Amtrak sent a miniature version of the Lake Shore Limited to display.

That included a Viewliner sleeper, an Amfleet II coach, an Amfleet cafe car, a Viewliner baggage car, and P42DC Phase I heritage locomotive No. 156.

The passenger cars were open for public viewing and hundreds of visitors walked through the train.

Amtrak said earlier this year that it would no longer be a sponsor of National Train Day but would continue to provide equipment and its 40th anniversary exhibit train to select events.

The Toledo National Train event has traditionally been held a week before the national date for the event in order to enhance the festival’s chances of obtaining Amtrak equipment for display.

Toledo National Train Day Set for May 7

March 30, 2016

It may no longer be called Amtrak National Train Days, but a national train day celebration will continue in Toledo this year and Amtrak might be a part of it.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari declined to confirm an assertion by the organizers of the Toledo event that it will send passenger cars to Toledo for the May 7 event to place on display as it has done in previous years.

Norfolk Southern plans to send its “Honoring First Responders” locomotive, which carried roster number 9-1-1

Amtrak 4The units is painted in a livery of  red, white, and black. Show organizers say they are planning a ceremony to honor the region’s first responders as part of the event.

The Toledo event also will feature an open house at Central Union Terminal, which is now named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza.

This will be the ninth train day in Toledo and as in past year there will be operating model railroads along with railroad-themed vendors, safety exhibits, children’s activities and musical entertainment.

Amtrak said earlier this year that it was ending its sponsorship of National Train Day.

Amtrak’s Magliari said that before National Train Day began in 2008 that the passenger carrier would on occasion send an equipment display to various cities for promotional purposes.

“Each event request every year, everywhere, will continue to be considered,” Magliari said.

Greyhound Move to Toledo CUT Gets OK

December 22, 2015

Greyhound will move into the former Central Union Terminal, now used by Amtrak, under a lease agreement approved by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority last week.

The board also approved the lease for a Subway restaurant franchise to be located in the terminal.

Buses will load and unload under a canopy at the terminal, which now known as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Plaza.

The current Greyhound station is located on Jefferson Avenue in downtown Toledo adjacent to the Pythian Castle, a long-vacant building now owned by the Lucas County Land Bank, which is trying to find a developer for the site.

“Every developer that we have ever talked with about the Pythian Castle has always said that the Greyound station is an impediment to its development,” said Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz, chairman of the land bank board. “If the Greyhound really is moving that could be a game-changer for developing that building.”

Toledo officials have long wanted to move the Greyhound station.

Greyhound buses and Amtrak trains will not be using CUT at the same time.

The 24 scheduled Greyhound buses leave Toledo between 6:20 a.m. and midnight while Amtrak’s Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited are scheduled to call in Toledo between 11:39 p.m. and 6:15 a.m.

Paul Toth, Jr., port authority president, said the new plaza for bus service along with the Subway store will open next May or June after renovations are complete.

He said the port authority is spending up to $500,000 for improvements to make space in the MLK Plaza building for Greyhound and Subway.

Amtrak will occupy 4,560 square feet of exclusive space at $18 per square foot and share 7,385 square feet of space with other tenants at $5 per square foot. The railroad will also pay $31,500 a year for exterior lighting.

Greyhound will rent 750 square feet for its own use and share the 7,385 square feet of common space at the same rates charged to Amtrak.

The bus company will pay $212,000 for its share of the capital improvements being made.

Greyhound spokesperson Lanesha Gipson said the current bus station is up for sale. She said Greyhound is expecting ridership to increase once the company begins using CUT.

Toledo Station to Observe 65th Anniversary

September 22, 2015

Toledo Central Union Terminal will mark its 65th anniversary today with a ceremony and exhibits.

Speakers at the ceremony will include Toledo-Lucas County Port President Paul Toth and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur.

The event will run from 5 to 8 p.m., with refreshments being served. Among the planned exhibits and guests are:

  • Byron “Barney” Stickles, a former terminal agent and telegrapher with the Wabash Railroad, one of the four carriers using the station when it opened.
  • The Toledo History Museum and Steve Rathke, a current railroad engineer, both showing items from Central Union Terminal memorabilia collections.
  • The Northwest Ohio Passenger Rail Association, with information about efforts to promote passenger rail in the region.
  • The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen, with an exhibit about rail labor past and present.
  • Railroad artist Gary Cornell.
  • An exhibit of photographs from the archives of The Blade — the daily newspaper in Toledo — of  the dedication ceremony held on Sept. 22, 1950.
  • Model trains depicting the four railroads that served the station when it opened, including the Wabash, Baltimore & Ohio, Chesapeake & Ohio and New York Central.

“It’s important to discuss the history of passenger trains, as well as the future of passenger trains and the importance of rail in our community,” said Holly Kemler, the port authority’s communications manager.

Toledo Central Union Terminal was built by the New York Central and turned out to be the last major urban railroad station built by a private railroad in the United States.

At the time that it opened, the terminal served more than four dozen trains. Today four Amtrak trains use the facility.

Also using the terminal are local transit system buses and intercity buses that connect with Amtrak trains. In spring 2016, Greyhound bus lines will begin using the facility, which since 2001 has been named Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza.

After Amtrak took over most of the nation’s intercity passenger trains on May 1, 1971, the station was idle.

A short-lived Chicago-New York train began shortly after Amtrak began, but was discontinued in early January 1972 after the states along the route failed to come up with money to underwrite the route’s losses.

Amtrak returned in Toledo in October 1975 when the Lake Shore Limited began operating between Chicago and New York/Boston. Amtrak’s Chicago-Washington, D.C., Capitol Limited also serves the station.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, Amtrak had a Chicago-Toledo train via Detroit named the Lake Cities.

During the Amtrak era, Central Union Terminal continued to serve as a division headquarters for Penn Central and then Conrail.

After moving its offices out of the building in 1995, Conrail sold the terminal to the port authority for $23,000.

The port authority spent $5.5 million to renovate the terminal, which had a grand reopening on Sept. 22, 1996.

At one point, the port authority had to talk Amtrak out of abandoning the facility for a smaller station in Toledo.

Although the renovation of the terminal included bus bays on the west side of the building for Greyhound, that company refused to use them.

Greyhound said it didn’t want to break its lease for its current station at 811 Jefferson Ave. and company practice prohibits backing out of a bus bay and onto a busy street, as it would need to do.

When Greyhound begins using the terminal, its buses will stop along Emerald Avenue in front of the station.

Greyhound currently has 25 daily bus departures for Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus and Indianapolis.

The addition of Greyhound will mean activity in a facility that is closed between mid-morning and late afternoon.

Amtrak on Display at Toledo National Train Day

May 10, 2015
It can't pull a train anymore, but F40PH No. 406 still looks the part.

It can’t pull a train anymore, but F40PH No. 406 still looks the part.

Sure, seeing the Norfolk Southern GoRail locomotive motivated me to drive to Toledo on May 2 for the National Train Day event.

But what I really wanted to see was Amtrak P42 No. 42. It is dressed in a striking livery that honor’s America’s veterans. It was every bit as classy looking as I expected it be and it was my first time seeing it in person.

And then there was Amtrak No. 406. Built in July 1988 by EMD, this F40PH has since had its traction motors removed and been converted to a NPCU, meaning that it can provide head-end power and be used to control a locomotive, but it can’t pull a train.

Yet for appearances, it looks just like it did when it came out of the EMD factory, complete with a Phase III livery.

Last Saturday it provided HEP for the Amtrak exhibit train and I found myself being transported back a decade or two when the F40 was the king of the Amtrak diesel fleet.

During their heyday, the F40 was the Rodney Dangerfield of locomotives.

A lot of railfans didn’t care for them. They made a lot of noise when standing in the station and they were diminutive in stature compared with their big six-axle freight cousins.

Not too many people are going to say they prefer the look of an F40 over the sleek streamlining of an EMD E or F unit.

I’ve always been partial to the short-lived SDP40Fs that Amtrak purchased in 1973 and 1974, but the F40 proved to be the locomotive that enjoyed the longer life even if it had been designed with corridor service in mind.

So I spent some time looking over the 406 and remembering all of the trips I made behind the F40 fleet until it began to be replaced in the middle 1990s.

It’s funny how something that was so common two decades can seemingly vanish overnight.

In time the same will likely happen with the P42. Will I someday have pangs of nostalgia upon seeing one of those? Probably, yes I will. But that day hasn’t come yet.

What I came to see.

What I came to see.

It's almost highball time for the next Amtrak train to New York at Toledo's Central Union Terminal. If only it were true.

It’s almost highball time for the next Amtrak train to New York at Toledo’s Central Union Terminal. If only it were true.

A father and his daughter spend some quality time in the Sightseer lounge, imagining they are taking a train trip.

A father and his daughter spend some quality time in the Sightseer lounge, imagining they are taking a train trip.

Built in 1950 for Union Pacific, sleeper Pacific Bend has racked up thousands of miles and seen a lot of places in its lifetime. No longer carrying revenue passengers, it is now assigned to the Amtrak exhibit train.

Built in 1950 for Union Pacific, sleeper Pacific Bend has racked up thousands of miles and seen a lot of places in its lifetime. No longer carrying revenue passengers, it is now assigned to the Amtrak exhibit train.

Amtrak's latest slogan on the side of former baggage cars turned exhibit cars.

Amtrak’s latest slogan on the side of former baggage cars turned exhibit cars.

The gray of P42 No. 42 is a throwback of sorts to the days of New York Central vanish sitting on these very same tracks.

The gray of P42 No. 42 is a throwback of sorts to the days of New York Central vanish sitting on these very same tracks.

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