Posts Tagged ‘#ViewsOnATrain’

Sunrise at Butler

February 14, 2019

The sun is rising as Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited bangs the diamonds at Butler, Indiana, on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

It is May 22, 2014, and I am on the first leg of trip that will take me to Seattle on the Empire Builder, across Canada on VIA Rail Canada’s Canadian, and back home via the Maple Leaf and Lake Shore Limited.

No. 29 is a little behind schedule and will lose more time before reaching Chicago due to track work on NS in Northwest Indiana.

The crossing track is another NS route, which at one time was the Wabash Railroad line between Detroit and St. Louis.

Somewhere in North Carolina

February 12, 2019

Some memories that some photographs trigger tend to stay with you longer than others.

Such is the case with the image of Amtrak’s northbound Silver Star on Dec. 14, 1979.

I created this image from an open vestibule and have no idea where the train was at the time other than passing through North Carolina.

My sole purpose for riding this train was to ride the train. My mother had died two months earlier and I wanted to get away for a while.

I wasn’t traveling to visit family or friends, to go sightseeing, or to make a business trip. I was traveling just to travel.

I still had vacation time to use at work so I booked a long Amtrak journey that initially took me from east central Illinois aboard the Panama Limited to Chicago.

I then rode to New York on the Lake Shore Limited, my first experience aboard that train and my first experience in a Heritage fleet sleeper. From New York it was south to Washington on the Crescent, my first time riding that train, and a connection to the Silver Meteor to Miami. It was my first time aboard the Meteor.

After an overnight stay in a motel I was back aboard the train, taking the Silver Star to Washington. It was my first time aboard the Silver Star.

I stayed overnight in a motel in suburban Virginia and then took the Colonial to New York and a connection with the Lake Shore Limited back to Chicago.

The last segment was back home aboard the Panama Limited. During this trip I picked up a lot of new miles.

Spending days at a time riding trains just to ride trains was something that I did back during that time of my life. Today, it is something that I rarely do.

There is much to see here that can’t be seen anymore, starting with the two SDP40F units (Nos. 647 and 645) wearing the Phase I livery.

None of the streamliner era passenger cars visible here are still on the Amtrak roster. Note that one of those cars appears to be a former Southern Railway car that Amtrak acquired when it took over the Southern Crescent on Feb. 1, 1979.

I still have a number of memories of this trip. They include milling about the platform in Miami to get photos of the train, a sunset over a lake as the Star cruised through Florida, the process of joining the Miami and St. Petersburg sections at Aurbundale, trying to sleep sprawled across two coach seats and disembarking at Richmond to make more photographs.

I recall at one point during the night feeling the train stop and seeing light from the station platform lights illuminating the inside of my coach. But I didn’t bother to raise up to look out the window to see where we were.

To this day still wonder where that was. Probably it was in South Carolina.

Thus far this has turned out to be the last time that I’ve ridden either the Silver Meteor or Silver Star.

Maybe some day I’ll get back aboard one or both of those trains. If so, it will be a nice ride, but it can’t be the same as it was on this day.

Tailing Off Into Infinity

February 5, 2019

The Railroad Passengers Association has been running a photo competition titled #ViewsOnATrain. It’s purpose is to publicize what passengers would see out the window of an Amtrak train.

I haven’t entered the contest although I’ve thought about it. I’ve made dozens of views from inside of Amtrak trains over the years.

It can be challenge because the windows are tinted and often dirty from having traveled hundreds of miles.

I would also have a tough time picking out which photos I would want to enter in the contest.

This image, though, is one of my favorites. It was made from my sleeping compartment aboard the westbound Empire Builder as it traveled through  eastern Washington state on a Saturday morning.

I have no idea what road this is, where it goes or where I was when I made the image,

But it summarizes my conception of travel as a journey along an endless road to a destination unknown. Who knows what you might find there?