Northeast Railroading Again
May 30-June 25, 2015

Don Winter


This trip was to attend the 2015 R&LHS Annual Meeting in Altoona, PA and the NRHS Convention in Rutland, VT. We also spent five days riding new (to us) lines on the Long Island Railroad As usual, we traveled out and back on Amtrak.

The Journey East (5/30-6/3)

Saturday, May 30th, 2015

After lunch, we finish packing, pack the car, and head off for Los Angeles, making our usual stop for a biology break. At LA Union Station, we park on the bottom floor of the parking garage, and take all the luggage with us as we head for the Amtrak ticket windows (and baggage check), where we check one suitcase to New York City. We then make our way up the elevator to the new (at least to us) Metropolitan Lounge for LAUS, situated on the second floor of the station buildings, overlooking the stub end of the platforms.

While we are there, several people depart on the platform side of the lounge, heading for Business Class seating on Pacific Surfliners, and when the time comes to head for the Southwest Chief, it requires at least four redcap buggies to take all of the waiting passengers and luggage out to the train. Because we go around the end of the tracks and then head for the front of the train (where the sleepers are), I'm able to collect the consist as we drive alongside the train, requiring only a short walk forward when we get to our sleeper to finish the job.


P42                    187
P42                      20
P42                    190
Baggage            1731
Dorm                39045
Sleeper             32076
Sleeper             32091
Diner                38042
Lounge              33049
Coach                34037
Coach-Bagg.    31010
Coach               34100           

Train 4, 5-30-2015



Los Angeles

 6:15 pm

6:15 pm


6:50 6:49-55


7:33 7:48-50

San Bernardino

7:59 8:09-17


Kingman, AZ 1:33 am 1:51-2:02 am

Flagstaff, AZ

4:41 5:08

Winslow                             PT

5:39 6:12

Gallup, NM                        MT

8:21 9:00-07


11:42 am
12:10 pm
11:28 am
12:10 pm


1:17 1:30-33

Las Vegas, NM

3:03 3:22-24


4:50 5:28-35

Trinidad, CO

5:49 6:35

La Junta 

Lamar                          MT 8:40 pm 9:01 pm



Kansas City, MO               CT

7:24 am
7:18 am

La Plata

9:55 10:08-10

Ft. Madison, IA

11:07 11:17-22

Galesburg, IL

12:05 pm 12:34-38


12:58 1:22-24


1:19 1:45


2:42 2:41


3:15 pm 3:34 pm

Southwest Chief route description

On the train, we get our reservation for dinner, and Marti Ann Draper, the conductor as far as Kingman, AZ, collects our tickets and spend a moment or two discussing my Facebook status showing where we are going on this trip. We eat dinner between Fullerton and Riverside, and go to bed as the train climbs Cajon Pass, anticipating the time advances on the next day of the trip.

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

After being awake at some of the stations overnight, I'm up in time to observe the freight traffic east of Winslow, AZ. We cross over four times between Winslow and Gallup, alternately meeting and overtaking BNSF freights, and three more times between Gallup and Dalies, NM, for the same purpose. At one crossover, I observe three opposing trains waiting for us. At breakfast, one of the people at the table across the aisle is the head of the Amtrak Reservations office at Riverside.

After Dalies, the two Amtrak trains, along with some New Mexico Railrunners and a BNSF peddler between Isleta and the junction for Santa Fe, are the only trains around. Chris and I eat lunch north of Albuquerque. Once we've met Train 3, at Fox, there's no more traffic until La Junta. We do, however, get a high wind warning for one 60 miles stretch, and numerous 25 mph slow orders where BNSF still needs to repair the track pursuant to its recent agreement to do so, extending all the way to La Junta.

 As usual, we eat dinner on the plains east of Trinidad, and go to bed before the Kansas state line, having advanced our watches twice during the day.

Monday, June 1st, 2015

I awake as we leave (7:02 am) the fuel rack at Argentine Yard, a regular stopping point for the Southwest Chief, with about 20 minutes to go to Kansas City Union Station. Now that we're back on the same tracks as the freight Transcon (until Cameron, just west of Galesburg), the freight traffic we meet and pass has increased again. East of KC, the dispatcher regularly moves us from one track to another to overtake eastbounds and meet westbounds, as required. Chris and I eat breakfast just east of KC, and lunch between Fort Madison and Galesburg.

After crossing to the former CB&Q at Cameron, the freight traffic is different (coal trains from/to Powder River Basin mines), but seems almost as dense. We cross over twice between Galesburg and Aurora, and three more times on the tiple track raceway, meeting Train 5 at Naperville and running around Metra trains in both direction before reaching the platform at Chicago just six minutes late (due to the magic of schedule padding).

After sitting in the Metropolitan Lounge for awhile, Chris and I decide to go to Elephant & Castle for dinner. This proves to be a mistake, firstly because of the mass of commuters heading in the other direction (the escalators are all running in the wrong direction for us), and secondly because the wind blowing off the lake is quite frigid, causing distress in my lungs as we walk east, more slowly than we had anticipated. After returning from dinner (the food was excellent as usual), we have some more time to wait in the lounge before boarding our train for New York City, where we go to be immediately, since there is another time change immediately east of Chicago.


P42                    46            )    off at Rensselaer
P42                                    )
P32                   709            )    on at Rensselaer
P32                                     )
Baggage        61039
Sleeper          62003
Sleeper          62028
Sleeper          62007
Diner                8519
Cafe              28015
Coach            25048
Coach            25178
Coach            25044
Coach            25123
Coach            25023          

Train 48, 6-1-2015



Chicago                               CT

9:30 pm

9:30 pm

Cleveland                   ET 5:50 am 6:35 am
Erie 7:20 7:31-37
Buffalo 8:46
Rochester 9:50 10:09-14
Syracuse 11:18 12:24-43 pm
Utica 12:15 pm 1:37
Schenectady 1:53 2:59-3:01
Albany-Rensselaer 2:50
Rhinecliff 4:31 4:28-41
Poughkeepsie 4:49 4:58-5:01
Croton-Harmon 5:35 5:57
New York City 6:23 pm 6:47 pm

Lakeshore Limited route description

While we're getting ready for bed, the train is running very slowly over the NS Chicago Line as it heads out towards South Bend. By the time we reach the latter, I'm in bed and no longer taking notes.

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

I'm awake at Cleveland and up by Erie, where for the first time in several trips east on this train, we don't make an extended stop for the DEA to case the train. For the early part of the day, we're running on the more northerly track, overtaking several eastbound CSX freights on the other track. Chris and I eat breakfast approaching the junction in Buffalo. After the turn east at Carroll Street and the stop at Buffalo Depew, our train crosses back and forth between tracks, alternately meeting and overtaking CSX freights, and eventually meeting the day's westbound Amtrak trains..

Ever since we collected the consist, I had been wondering about the arrangement of the train, compared to the times we had taken it when there was an obvious "Boston-section" that could be removed from the front with jut one cut. At Albany-Rensselaer, all becomes clear, when the Boston passengers make a cross-platform transfer to another train, which includes sleeper space, and all of our train heads forward to New York City. Why this change ahs been made is unclear to us. It is noticeable, however, that while it no longer takes an hour to make the split, the timetable seems not to have changed to accommodate this.

The run doown the Hudson is uneventful, and we're less than half an hour late at New York Penn. Station. Here, we collect the checked bag, and one of the redcaps then takes our luggage on his barrow across the station, and across 7th Avenue to the Hotel Pennsylvania. Unlike in Los Angeles and Chicago, we have to walk, however. After checking in, we walk east to Herald Square and have dinner from some of the food stalls gathered there for a food festival.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

This morning, we check-out and get one of the hotel's bellmen to take the luggage over to the Amtrak area in Penn. Station, using the elevator at the 31st Street entrance. He transfers the luggage (and us) to the custody of the redcaps in the Amtrak seating area (our Business Class tickets today don't qualify us for Club Acela), where we wait until the redcaps know the track our train will depart from, and take us down there to the Business Class car on Train 43.


ACS-64                    613        off at Philadelphia
Business                81533
Cafe                       43374
Coach                    82538
Coach                    25107
Coach                    25007
Coach                    25088
P42                            179    on at Philadelphia         

Train 43, 6-3-2015



New York

10:52 am

10:53 am

Newark 11:08 11:09-12
Trenton 11:44 11:42-44
Philadelphia 12:12 pm
12:15 pm
Paoli 1:12 1:11-13
Lancaster 1:52 1:51-57
Elizabethtown 2:06 2:14
Harrisburg 2:26
Lewistown 3:46 3:52-54
Huntington 4:22 4:32
Tyrone 4:48 4:58
Altoona 5:06 5:14

Pennsylvanian route description

AS we depart Penn. Station, New York, we note that the west throat tracks are no longer open to the skies above. We're delayed out of the station area due to a track gang working in the area of the tracks leading to the tunnel. Leaving Trenton, we're switched to the slow line so an Acela can overtake us, causing us a 3-minute delay over that section. Later, after the usual unexplainable half-hour to switch locomotives and reverse in Philadelphia, we run slowly on the "wrong" track from Elizabethtown into Harrisburg. West of Harrisburg, we run very slowly past the NS yard, and then have to deal with freight trains the rest of the way to Altoona.

On arrival in Altoona, we ask the station agent to call us a taxi to get to the hotel. He actually calls two of them (different companies), and then departs immediately, leaving us standing on the street corner. Both taxis show up at the same time, an hour later, and one of them then takes us out to the hotel, next to the Convention Center but nowhere near any of the venues for the next several days. When we come to the hotel's 'bistro' to get dinner, we're hailed by Dan Butler, from the Spokane area, whom we had met at the previous year's R&LHS meeting, and we sit chatting with him while we eat dinner..

At the R&LHS Meeting (6/4-6/7)

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Having notied that the 'bistro' doesn't serve lunch, we make sure to eat a big breakfast, and then retire to the room until  registration time for the meeting, later in the day. Unfortunately, I misremember the time for this, and we get there just after the bus for the evening's events has left. However, Sophia Vaughan, who has been handling the desk, checks us in and then takes us over to the location in her personal SUV.

At the event, we find that folks who have just arrived on today's Pennsylvanian (we had deliberately arrived a day early) have gone directly to the location (it's across the street from the station), where Sophia handles their registration. Among those doing this is Bob Brewster. A buffet dinner is served, after which there are three slide shows on Altoona area subjects, two of which we're later able to acquire the related Arcadia Press book on.

At the end of the evening's events, we go back to our hotel (there is at least one alternate) on the appropriate bus.

Friday, June 5th, 2015

The major event that led me to want to come to the R&LHS Annual Meeting is first up this morning. We're going to take a tour of the shop floor, etc., at the Juniata Shops, once the birthplace of Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotives, but now the major heavy repair shop on Norfolk Southern, which now operates the ex-PRR main lines hereabouts. Because we're going to be stopping for lu nch, I eat a much smaller breakfast at the bistro this morning, before heading outside to board the bus (we have two this year, with 97 or 98 people attending this meeting) that will take us down into town to the parking area outside the shops.

Once off the buses, we enter one of the long office buildings and walk to the far end, where there is a room with a model of the workshops and the tracks (with model NS locomotives, tilted so it can all be seen by a standing audience. Dan Faulkner, NS General Superintendant at the shop gives us all an intro. into what is there, and what we will be seeing. Unfortunately, there are no seats in this room, so my standing time is already nearing expiry before we even start on the walk around the shops, which perform 200-400 locomotive rebuilds a year, along with truck exchanges and an SD 60 rebuild program.

The main shop, which dominates the area, has four long bays, labeled A to D, crossed with 27 tracks, and serviced by overhead cranes permitting any locomotive to be moved to any location in the shops. Our party has been divided into groups, and each group is taken around the main shops, stopping at a number of locations for a comprehensive explanation of what is going on there. Unfortunately, this means a lot of time is spent standing, and I soon find myself looking for places to sit every time the group comes to a stop. It transpires that there is a golf cart and guide taking around a couple of people, more or less shadowing our group, and soon, Chris gets me a seat on that cart to complete the tour.

Outside the main shops, the major locations we visit are the paint shop and the wreck shop, and then a couple of outdoor areas (but we don't get to see the executive F-units that I had seen from the train on Wednesday, since they're out in an area of storage tracks and only barely visible from where we're allowed to go).

Back on the buses, we head to Hollidaysburg, where we visit Curry Rail Services, who now have an operation inside the old PRR Hollidaysburg Car Shops (taking up about one-third of the space) This operation has been located here since early 2014, but the company has been in operation elsewhere since 1932. Today, it makes and repairs flat cars, covered hoppers, and locomotive cabs for NS locomotive rebuilds. Each of two groups of R&LHS visitors gets a slide presentation and a tour of the operation. I'm not up to walking around for the latter, so I watch the slides twice.

After lunch at a nearby restaurant (where Sophia Vaughn had been the manager), the buses head west to take us to the Alleghany Portage National Monument, which Chris and I had visited back in 2000. There are outdoor exhibits showing how the barges on the Pennsylvania Public Works (a canal system) were lifted over the Alleghany ridge, before the railroad came. There's an interesting movie to watch, but entering the theater I trip on the steps, ending up with deep bruises on a though and upper arm, and breaking my reading glasses in the process.

The R&LHS groups then head for the museum and viewing area at Horseshoe Curve, where again, Chris and I had visited back in 2000. So, with the help of Alan Maples (meeting organizer and Sophia's boss at the Everett Railroad), we prevail upon Sophia to take us to a Walmart where I can get a replacement set of reading glasses, and then take us back to the hotel ahead of the buses.

An evening event at a local "resort" provides the R&LHS annual banquet, and the annual meeting. Chris and I have an interesting chat with Ken and Ann Miller before and during dinner.

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Today starts out with our ride on Alan Maples' Everett Railroad, over a curving line south and east from Hollidaysburg. The Everett railroad operates 23 miles of former PRR branch line, of which we ride between half and two-thirds.


GP-16                    1828        ex-SAL 1798
Combine                    23        ex-B&LE 23
Coach                       105
Coach                       103
Office Car                912        ex-B&O 912

The train leaves Hollidaysburg at 8:49 am, stop from 9:15-20 to remove a tree which had fallen on the line in Friday night's thunderstorm, stops for a photo runby at a quarry from 9:30 -50 am, takes a break at the Roaring Spring depot, where there is delicious ice-cream on sale, from 9:56 to 10:46 am, and arrives at Martinsburg Junction at 11:14 am, backing around the wye into Martinsburg, and arriving at 11:22 am.

We leave the train at the east end of the line, and board the buses for the ride east to Orbisonia, with a stop for lunch in the Huntingdon area. At Orbisonia, the original schedule called only for a visit to the Rockhill Trolley Museum, but in the even we also get guided tours of the East Broad Top Railroad's well-preserved early 20th-century workshops and steam roundhouse, courtesy of the Friends of the East Broad Top.

The workshop is a wonderful time capsule of the full variety of overhead belt-driven machinery, all kept in working order and used until recently to keep the several steam locomotives operational. We're given a guided tour of each of the machines and what each does and has been used for. Those operational steam locomotives are kept in the roundhouse, where, when the line was still operational, they were prepared for their daily operations and cleaned up afterwards. (Chris and I had ridden on the tourist operations, back in 2000.)

On this visit, we also ride one of the restored trolleys on the short operational line east into the woods, and some people take a trip back to one of the trolley museum's shops. The buses then take us back to Altoona, where we have a buffet dinner at the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum, across from the Amtrak station, and then get to spend a couple of hours on an after-hours visit to that museum. Again, some members of the party get to visit the museum's archives (normally closed to the public), but since there's only one guide on duty, and he has to remain with the people in the archives, only one group of peple gets to go up there, and the rest of the people get shortchanged in the rest of the museum.

Sunday, June 7th, 2015

Once again, this morning, we eat a hearty breakfast in the bistro, making sure to have enough to eat that we don't really want lunch from the Amcafe on our train ride, and then saying our goodbyes to folks leaving by car this morning.

There are a number of people at the hotel who need to get to Amtrak in time for the 10:01 am train today, a problem that is solved by another ride in Sophia's SUV, and for some others, a ride in Ken and Ann's car. The train is on time, so at about 9:45 am, the agent invites the waiting passengers to head out over the footbridge onto the platform, and those of us riding in Business Class head to the west end to board our car. Because we're at the rear, I collect the consist as the train arrives in the platform, slowing rapidly.


P42                     91    off at Philadelphia
Coach            25030
Coach            25055
Coach            25031
Coach            82617
Cafe               43395
Business        81532
AEM-7              948    on at Philadelphia

Train 42, 6-7-2015




10:01 am

10:00 am

Tyrone 10:17 10:15-17
Huntingdon 10:44 10:42-44
Lewistown 11:21 11:21-23
Harrisburg 12:55 pm
12:35 pm
Elizabethtown 1:23 1:24
Lancaster 1:40 1:38-44
Exton 2:12 2:19-21
Paoli 2:24 2:30
Philadelphia 2:55
Trenton 3:50 4:13
Newark 4:30 4:46-50
New York City 4:50 pm 5:03 pm

The NS Pittsburgh Line is quite busy today, and we cross over at one point to pass around someone going teh same way we are, as well as meeting freights going the other way. East of Harrisburg, with no NS trains to contend with, we meet Train 43 near Bird-in-Hand.

There are five people whom I recognize as having been at the R&LHS Meeting riding in the Business Class car, and at Philadelphia 30th Street, the three men all get out to watch the AEM-7 reverse onto our car and couple up, a process that takes what seems to me to be an unnecessarily long time. Near Levittown, PA, the train comes to a stop for ten minutes, and crew members get off to inspect something from the ground. Leaving Trenton, we cross over to a southbound track at Fair, and pass trackworkers working on the track we would have been on. Later, still on the sb fast, we meet a southbound Acela on the sb slow at Princeton Junction. We then cross back over to the northbound fast at Jersey Avenue.

At New York City's Penn Station, a redcap takes us across the station, up the alternate escalator (the one at 32nd Street is still broken, so we must use the one at 31st Street) to Seventh Avenue, and across the street to the Hotel Pennsylvania, where we are staying for the next six nights. After checking in and getting up to our room, Chris and I go to a nearby restaurant for dinner.

The Long Island Railroad Marathon (6/8-6/12)

Monday, June 8th, 2015

When I first drew up plans for this trip, it became clear that we had five days to spend, somewhere, between the end of the R&LHS Meeting and the train to Rutland for the NRHS Convention. Since we had already ridden basically all of New Jersey Tranist, and all of Metro-North Railroad, it seemed that riding the Long Island railroad would be a good time filler, so I e-mailed Gary Kazin to ask what we could get done, in how many days. Gary's response was encouraging, including an itinerary for four days of trips that left a couple of lines over for the fifth day.

The Long Island Railroad, once a PRR subsidiary and now part of the New York area Metropolitan Transit Authority, extends from Manhattan Island to the far eastern reaches of Long Island. Many of the lines nearer to New York City are electrified on the third-rail principle, while the outer regions use diesel haulage. Since there are two western termini, some of the electric-powered trains start from Penn. Station, in Manhattan, and some start from Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, serving different destinations from each other. The lines meet at Jamaica, on Long Island, which has the facilities for cross-platform interchange among both eastbound and westbound trains.

The diesel-powered trains start from Jamaica, or from stations at or near the outer end of the electrified lines, and shuttle from there to the outer termini. The actual service patterns' will become clearer as we ride the various lines. To make it clearer what we have covered, and what we still have to cover, we decide to start out with the long distance rides to the east end of Long Island. So, after we walk two blocks north to eat a full breakfast at a restaurant there, and taking drinks with us, we head across the street from the hotel to Penn Station to start the first trip—to Montauk

The Long Island Railroad concourse is on the north side of Penn Station (as are the tracks used by the LIRR), down one level from the main entry concourse and the Amtrak level. At that lower level (the same level as Amtrak's "Mezzanine"), there is a set of ticket windows with human agents, and a waiting area. with departure indicators, as well as various food vendors and the like, and the main Penn. Station entrance to the New York City subway.  We buy round-trip tickets to Montauk and await the posting of the track number for our EMU shuttle to Jamaica, where the diesel-powered train to Montauk originates.

Train xx, 6-8-2015





New York City

11:01 am

11:07 am

6:20 pm 6:21 pm
Woodside       6:10
Forest Hills       6:03
Kew Gardens       6:02
Jamaica 11:21 11:17 5:56 5:58
Jamaica 11:25 11:26 5:50 5:53
Babylon 12:10 pm 12:11 pm 5:13 5:14
Islip     5:07 5:07
Great River     5:02 5:03
Oakdale     4:58 4:59
Bay Shore 12:18 12:19-25 4:54 4:55
Sayville 12:29 12:31 4:50 4:51
Patchogue 12:36 12:38 4:43 4:41-43
Belport 12:42 12:45 4:36 4:36
Mastic-Shirley 12:49 12:52 4:29 4:29
Speonk 1:05 1:06 4:14 4:11-14
Westhampton 1:12 1:12 4:02 3:56-4:02
Hampton Bays 1:22 1:23 3:44 3:45
Southampton 1:32 1:33-35 3:34 3:34
Bridge Hampton 1:40 1:42 3:24 3:26
East Hampton 1:50 1:50-52 3:15 3:16
Amargansett 1:55 1:57 3:10 3:10
Montauk 2:15 pm 2:12 pm 2:51 pm 2:52 pm

Long Island Railroad route descriptions

The express run out to Jamaica is reasonably dramatic, with a run scheduled for 20 minutes accomplished in ten. The connecting train (loco 422 plus four cars) is, as promised, across the platform. The cars have on-board a large number of college-age people who all seem to be going to some summer program at Southampton, many of whom know each other from previous programs together.

Leaving Jamaica, it takes the St. Albans line, and then along the line makes a 7-minute stop for an EMU ahead to clear (why, we cannot see). We meet a freight west of Babylon, and a westbound passenger from Montauk west of Speonk. At Southampton, it takes several minutes to get all the students and their luggage off the train. While there's a depot building at Montauk, there are currently no facilities there, except for the crew. While the train remains open, the cab-car (location of the only toilet) is locked until the westbound crew shows up.

West of Babylon, on the way back, the train runs at fairly high speed along the pair of tracks without local platforms, until it reaches the junctions approaching Jamaica, where there are a couple of short stops.

The connecting EMU to Penn Station has evidently come from somewhere east, since it is quite full already. (There's also a connecting train to Atlantic Terminal on the other side of the train from Montauk.)In Penn. Station, we use the only available non-stairs method of getting up (the escalators are running down), which is quite a distance west on the platform, and brings us up in one of the cross=halls at the mezzanine level, from which we make our way to the main level, and then have to take the escalator at 31st street, since the other one isn't yet fixed.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Today, we're going to Greenport. There's only one possible daytime out-and-back, with the change from EMU to diesel-powered coaches at Ronkonkoma. The preocedure of ticket acquisition and waiting room is the same as before.

Train xx, 6-9-2015





New York City

9:14 am 9:17

4:02 pm

4:04 pm

Woodside 9:25 9:29 3:52 3:55
Jamaica 9:35
Hillside Support Facility   9:41-46    
Mineola 9:51 9:54-56 3:26 3:31
Hicksville 9:59 10:01-03 3:16 3:21
Bethpage 10:05 10:08 3:12 3:15
Farmingdale 10:10 10:12 3:07 3:11
Pinelawn 10:14 10:16 3:03 3:06
Wyandanch 10:16 10:20 3:01 3:02
Deer Park 10:21 10:25 2:56 2:57
Brentwood 10:28 10:30 2:51 2:52
Central Islip 10:30 10:34 2:47 2:48
Ronkonkoma 10:37 10:41 2:40 2:40
Ronkonkoma 10:44 10:49 2:22 2:24
Medford 10:55 11:01 2:11 2:13
Yaphank 11:03 11:09 2:03 2:04
Riverhead 11:29 11:34 1:37 1:38
Mattituck 11:45 11:50 1:21 1:22
Southold 11:59 12:04 pm 1:08 1:09
Greenport 12:09 pm 12:13 pm 12:58 pm 12:59 pm

The doors close at 9:14 am, but the train doesn't leave for another three minutes. Two trains pass us during the Woodside stop, but then we pass them before Jamaica. East of Jamaica, the train stops for LIRR employees at the Hillside Maintenance Facility platform, then runs express to Mineola and Hicksville. We change trains at Ronkonkoma onto another train that follows ours into the same platform (diesel loco 415 plus cars).

At the terminus at Greenport, which is right on the water, light rain is falling as we make our way, slowly, to the nearest restaurant, which doesn't seem too happy with a request for the food "to go", even though they claim to do that. Chris' mac & cheese comes with no utensils!

As on Monday, the same trainset takes us back to the changeover point, where we board an originating EMU, which takes us through to Penn. Station, where the scenario is the same as on Monday. Later, we eat at a "pub" across 33rd Street from the hotel, where all the seats are high bar-style chairs.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Now that we've done the long-distance trips, it's time for the nearer-in trains to the various branches. Today we'll be doing the lines to the south, including the Atlantic Coast of Long Island. Trains for these segments are mostly hourly. Since the Far Rockaway EMUs start from Brooklyn's Atlantic Terminal, we will start today's odyssey from that location, getting there on the 7th Avenue subway.

The ticket agent seems confused by a request for "two tickets Atlantic Terminal to Far Rockaway, two from Far Rockaway to Long Beach, two from Long Beach to West Hempstead, and two from Hempstead to Penn Station". Once the tickets are in hand, we walk over to the subway ticket booth, and buy a Metrocard with two rides on it. Then we swipe that card twice to get us both in the subway, after which we head to the southbound express platform for the subway train to Atlantic Terminal. It's still "early", so the train is crowded as far as the financial district ("downtown").  When we get to Atlantic Terminal, we find that the LIRR platforms are cheek-by-jowl with the subway, at the same level as the subway platforms

In the event, we accomplish this, in time to catch a train an hour earlier than I had anticipated (with about five minutes to spare).

Train xx, 6-10-2015





Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn

9:35 am

9:36 am

Nostrand Avenue 9:42 9:44    
East New York 9:47 9:48    
Jamaica 9:56
Locust Manor 10:03 10:04    
Laurelton 10:05 10:06    
Rosedale 10:08 10:09    
Valley Stream 10:12 10:14 10:56 10:56
Gibson 10:16 10:17 10:52 10:52
Hewlett 10:19 10:20 10:49 10:51
Woodmere 10:21 10:23 10:47 10:48
Cedarhurst 10:24 10:25 10:44 10:46
Lawrence 10:26 10:27 10:42 10:42
Inwood 10:29 10:29 10:40 10:41
Far Rockaway 10:33 10:32 10:36 10:36

It's interesting coming into Jamaica from a different direction. On leaving Jamaica, this train turns sharply south onto the route via Laurelton, rejoining the route we took on Monday before getting to Valley Stream, where we then diverge south of the Babylon line and head southwest to near the coast. At Far Rockaway, it's much too early for lunch, and we're nowhere near the ocean, so we get right on the waiting train in the next platform, and head right back to Valley Stream. At the latter, it's a gorgeous day to sit on a bench on the elevated platform, waiting for a train—sunny, comfortable temperature, and just a light breeze. While we're waiting, several express trains thunder past on the other pair of tracks.

Train xx, 6-10-2015





Valley Stream

11:42 am 11:50 am

2:29 pm

2:30 pm

Lynbrook 11:45 11:54 2:24 2:27
Centre Avenue 11:47 11:57 2:21 2:24
East Rockaway 11:51 12:01 pm 2:17 2:20
Oceanside 11:55 12:05-07 2:13 2:15
Long Beach 12:04 pm 12:13 pm 2:07 pm 2:08 pm

The Sperry Rail Services inspection car, crawling by on its working trip, forces our train to be late at Valley Stream, and on the wrong track when it reaches the platform. Our train crosses over after the Sperry train leaves the main at a yard just east of Valley Stream.

At Long Beach, it's time for lunch, which we eat at a nearby Subway restaurant, taking (as I anticipate) longer than would permit taking the 1:07 pm train back to Valley Stream. That's OK, because that train doesn't provide a connection to West Hempstead. It's beautiful, sunny weather in Long Beach, but neither of us wants to make the effort to walk the couple of blocks to the actual beach, which we can see at the end of the cross streets.

Train xx, 6-10-2015





New York City


4:55 pm

5:00 pm

Forest Hills     4:41 4:45
Kew Gardens     4:39 4:42
Jamaica     4:38 4:38
Jamaica     4:29 4:29
Valley Stream 2:45 pm 2:45 pm    
Westwood 2:49 2:49 4:13 4:13
Malverne 2:51 2:52 4:10 4:11
Lakeview 2:53 2:55 4:08 4:09
Hempstead Gardens 2:55 2:57 4:06 4:07
West Hempstead 3:00 pm 3:00 pm 4:04 pm 4:04 pm

The train the West Hempstead is waiting across the platform when we get to Valley Stream, but doesn't open its doors until a connecting train from the west has called. Our train must then take a series of crossovers over the express tracks before reaching the connection to the West Hempstead line. At the end of that line, we have an hour to wait before our return train, during which Chris gets to pet a local stray cat that passers-by tell us won't let anyone touch it. Our return train is through to Jamaica, and express from Westwood, along the express tracks at first, but them taking the Laurelton line up to Jamaica. The connection onwards at Jamaica is cross-platform, as always (so far).

We eat dinner in an Indian restaurant next to the pub of the previous night.

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Today, it's time for the mid-length north side branches. The same ticket agent has to handle today's complex ticket order! This time, however, our train starts from Penn. Station, an EMU headed for Babylon which we will take as far as Jamaica.

Train xx, 6-11-2015





New York City

10:35 am 10:35 am



Woodside 10:46 10:46    
Jamaica 10:56 10:56    
Jamaica 11:03 11:04    
Mineola 11:19 11:16-19 1:10 pm 1:15 pm
East Williston 11:23 11:23 1:05 1:08-1:10
Albertson 11:26 11:26 1:02 1:06
Roslyn 11:29 11:29 12:59 12:59-1:03
Greenvale 11:33 11:33 12:55 12:56
Glen Head 11:36 11:36 12:52 12:53
Sea Cliff 11:39 11:39 12:48 12:49
Glen Street 11:41 11:41 12:46 12:47
Glen Cove 11:44 11:44 12:44 12:44
Locust Valley 11:49 11:49 12:39 12:38
Oyster Bay 11:59 11:58 12:28 12:29

Again, the onward train from Jamaica is diesel-powered with just a few coaches. The train leaves the main line at Mineola, heading north, and passing through Harry Pearson's Sea Cliff on its way out to Oyster Bay. At the latter, we can clearly see a large inlet from Long Island Sound, and watch train passengers as they walk out to the shore after leaving the train. We sit on a bench on the platform, as there is clearly nowhere here to get lunch and the train has departed eastward. It's unclear whether it's the same trainset when it returns after 25 minutes to take up the return working. We detrain at Mineola for our connection to Port Jefferson, and get lunch from a cafe that I had seen from the train going the other way. It's lunchtime and the cafe is crowded, especially with to-go customers (like us), but we get our food in time to get across the tracks for our outward train (an EMU to Ronkonkoma, which we will take to Hicksville).

Train xx, 6-11-2015





New York City


6:05 pm

6:05 pm

Woodside       6:04
Forest Hills       6:02
Kew Gardens       6:01
Jamaica     5:46 5:47
Jamaica     5:39 5:38
Mineola 1:51 pm 1:51 pm    
Hicksville 1:59 1:59    
Hicksville 2:05 2:05    
Syosset 2:13 2:12    
Cold Spring Harbor 2:18 2:19    
Huntington 2:24 2:29 5:03 5:04
Greenlawn 2:29 2:33 4:58 4:59
Northport 2:34 2:37 4:53 4:55
Kings Park 2:42 2:43 4:39 4:46
Smithtown 2:42 2:43 4:31 4:31
St. James 2:58 2:58 4:24 4:24
Stony Brook 3:03 3:04 4:18 4:18
Port Jefferson 3:13 pm 3:13 pm 4:06 pm 4:07 pm

At Hicksville, we change to a diesel-powered train (loco. 410 plus cars) that directly branches off east of the station, continuing through the end of electrification at Huntington and out to Port Jefferson. The station here proves to be adjacent to the town, so we walk slowly over to a small grocery store and buy drinks before returning to the station, where we're glad the air-conditioned depot is open, since the weather has turned warm. The return train is the same trainset, and is through to Jamaica (express from Huntington). There are several operating stops between stations, but most seem to be anticipated in the timetable. A cross-platform change at Jamaica gets us on into Penn. Station.

We eat dinner in the lower-level of the Sbarro at 33rd Street, which proves to be at a subway entrance onto the northbound platform, making trains visible as they pass through.

Friday, June 12th, 2015

There are two more segments of the LIRR which we can reasonably do—the Port Washington Line and the Hempstead Branch. We will do these as separate trips from Penn. Station. We get done with getting drinks and then the tickets quickly enough to be on a train an hour earlier than I had anticipated.

Train xx, 6-12-2015





New York City

9:19 am 9:20 am

10:55 am

10:52 am

Woodside 9:30 9:30 10:45 10:43
Flushing Main Street 9:30 9:39 10:35 10:36
Murray Hill 9:41 9:42 10:33 10:34
Auburndale 9:44 9:44 10:29 10:32
Bayside 9:47 9:47 10:27 10:29
Douglaston 9:49 9:50 10:24 10:26
Little Neck 9:51 9:52 10:22 10:23
Great Neck 9:54 9:55 10:20 10:21
Manhasset 9:57 9:59 10:17 10:18
Port Washington 10:05 10:05 10:10 10:11

Back in Penn. Station, we get something for lunch at one of the outlets in the LIRR concourse before boarding the EMU to take us to Jamaica, where we change trains for Hempstead.

Train xx, 6-12-2015





New York City

12:05 pm 12:06 pm



Woodside 12:16 12:17    
Jamaica 12:25 12:28    
Atlantic Terminal     2:03 pm 2:05 pm
Nostrand Avenue     1:58 1:59
East New York     1:53 1:54

Hillside Facility   12:37   1:38
Holton 12:34 12:39 1:34 1:36
Queens Village 12:37 12:42 1:31 1:33
Bellevue 12:40 12:45 1:27 1:29
Floral Park 12:42 12:47 1:25 1:27
Stewart Manor 12:45 12:50 1:22 1:22
Nassau Boulevard 12:48 12:53 1:19 1:20
Garden City 12:51 12:56 1:17 1:18
Country Life Press 12:54 12:59 1:14 1:14
Hempstead 12:58 pm 1:03 pm 1:11 pm 1:11 pm

At Hempstead, we have to cross a footbridge to get to the other island platform for the next departing train. I had been looking at subway lines to get from Penn. Station to the Atlantic shore of Brooklyn for the rest of our afternoon, but when I notice that the Hempstead trains serve Atlantic Terminal, which is also served by subway lines to the shore, we change our return destination (without change of tickets) and take this train all the way in to Brooklyn. We then get a pair of Metrocards with multiple rides on them, and proceed, down an elevator, to the platforms for line Q, which we take outbound from the city. It soon emerges from the tunnels and runs on the surface or elevated tracks directly south to the ocean area, and then west to the terminal at Coney Island, passing the famed amusement park on the way.

At this location, we take a break to get some ice cream (it's a warm day) and more drinks, before heading back to midtown Manhattan on subway line D, which is again elevated until the vicinity of Atlantic Terminal. This is an express train once it gets under Manhattan, so we miscalculate, get off one stop too far north, and have to backtrack one stop before emerging at the same location as the 33rd Street PATH station for a one-block walk west to the hotel.

Later, we go to the other pub across 33rd Street for dinner, and then pack for our departure.

The NRHS Convention (7/2-7/5)

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

We're in no hurry this morning, so we finish packing slowly, check out, and get the same bellman as ten days earlier to take us across the street and hand us off to the redcaps in the Amtrak area of Penn. Station, where we eat lunch. Some time after 2 pm, when they know which track our Ethan Allen will depart from, the redcaps take us down to the Business Class car on the train (only half of a cafe car, on this train), where we encounter Burt Eisenberg, one of the NRHS volunteers in Phladelphia, who is going to the NRHA Convention to speak about the work of the volunteers in their new quarters. He is accompanied by his wife.


P32                    700
Coach              82553
Coach              82598
Coach               82792
Coach               82994
Cafe/Buainess 48140

Train 291, 6-13-2015



New York City

3:15 pm

3:17 pm

Yonkers 3:39 3:33-39
Croton-Harmon 3:58 4:02
Poughkeepsie 4:40 4:24-46
Rhinecliff 4:56 5:03
Hudson 5:15 5:21-26
Albany-Rensselaer 5:45
Schenectady 6:24 6:22-24
Saratoga Springs 6:50 6:56-59
Fort Edward 7:10 7:21
Castleton 8:24 8:15
Rutland 8:48 pm 8:33 pm

Ethan Allen route description

After Poughkeepsie, we meet Train 48 heading for New York City. At about this point, Chris tries her Tablet on the Amtrak wi-fi, but although she connects, and the Tablet shows us at Rhinecliff, there isn't enough bandwidth for her to download the June jigsaw puzzles. We meet Train 68 (the Adirondack) at Albany-Rensselaer. The light holds all the way into Rutland, allowing me to complete the route descriptions for the segment north of Schenectady.

In Rutland, Steve Miller meets the train, with a hotel van to take conventioneers and luggage to the Holiday Inn. There are too many people for the van, but Steve has a car that can accommodate the rest. At the hotel, we check-in, making sure that the hotel's bathroom has a grab bar, which it has now become clear is necessary to permit me to take a bath, and then head to the restaurant for dinner. On the way there, we run into Tony White and Joe Maloney, at the bar.

For dinner, I have a small appetizer and a large bowl of soup. Chris orders what turns out to be a huge plate of nachos, which she eventually has to turn over to Tony and Joe for completion. There are quite a number of NRHS folks here already, for the Sunday photo freight which I had chosen not to take, since it seemed it would be too much effort for the photos, and would not cover any trackage we didn't get later in the week. By now, it has become even more obvious that the constant on-and-off, and standing in photo lines, would indeed be too much effort for me.

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

Today is our down day, which Chris uses to do the needed laundry (halfway through the trip). We get up to eat the included breakfast, and then go to the restaurant later for their huge brunch. Even after a smaller dinner later (this is hard to do, here, since the portions are so large), we have had so much to eat that finding meals that are small enough for us to eat will be hard for much of the week.

Monday, June 15th, 2015

Today's excursion is bookended by trips on Amtrak between Rutland and Saratoga Springs. This means we have to be up early enough to eat breakfast and take one of Steve Miller's schoolbuses over to Amtrak in time for the 8 am departure. While waiting to board, we see many old friends and acquaintances for the first time at this convention, including Diane and Braley Pastorino and Bob and Diane Heavenrich. The NRHS folks take up several complete coaches on this train, so when boarding time comes, we all have to troop out in the rain to reach the appropriate boarding doors. Regular passengers seem stunned to find so many people on this train at this stage of the journey.


P32                            701
Coach                    82581
Coach                    82728
Coach                    82634
Coach                    82624
Cafe/Business        48174

Train 290, 6-15-2015





Rutland, VT

8:00 am 8:00 am

8:48 pm

9:35 pm

Castleton 8:19 8:17-19 8:24 9:21
Fort Edward 9:16 9:12-16 7:10 8:19
Saratoga Springs 9:37 am 9:37 am 6:50 pm 7:56 pm

It takes the NRHS folks several minutes to detrain at Saratoga Springs, and then several more minutes elapse, still in the light rain, before the Saratoga & North Creek train is reversed into boarding position on the nearer track. As a result, the expected 10 am departure is actually 10:12 am.


BL2                         52
Baggage    SLRG 1140
Dome        SLRG   508
Coach       SLRG 3005A
Coach        SLRG 3005B
Coach        SLRG   140

Saratoga & North Creek route description

Taking seats across the dome table from us is a couple who live relatively locally, and thus recognize the various locations, as they're familiar with them from the roads. On the way north, there is a photo runby at Corinth, , from 10:50 to 11:16 am, and the train reaches North Creek at 12:56 pm. Here, we have approximately two hours to get lunch, but first I make sure I get a photo of the very rare locomotive.

Then we walk up the road to the village, in the dry but overcast conditions. Unfortunately, that proves to be very "up", for us, and we take much longer than expected to get to a reasonable cafe. After ordering our sandwiches, we sit with Al and Eileen Weber, among others, while eating our excellent sandwiches. In spite of the length of time this seems to have taken, we're back at the train in plenty of time, to find that we can't yet board, and there are insufficient seats around for those of us who can't stand for long. Fortunately, we find some inside a museum, and have a chat with Gary Kazin.

The train leaves at 3:01 pm, makes a photo run at MP 70, and gets back to Saratoga Springs at 5:55 pm. Here, we find that our return Ethan Allen is an hour late, so we will all have to find somewhere to wait for that period. A cafe has newly-opened (today) in the station, and was about to close, but faced with this level of unexpected custom, it stays open and serves us with drinks (but not much more). Here, we see Roberta Ballard, among others, for the first time this trip.

Some people plan on eating on the train on the way back to Rutlland, while others of us wish to eat at the hotel when we get back. We make sure that appropriate people let the hotel restaurant know the train will be late, so that we can still get dinner when we get there.                  


P32                         712
Coach                  82657
Coach                  82729
Coach                  82696
Coach                  82783
Coach                  82713
Cafe/Business     48155  

The sparsely-distributed passengers on the train are surprised when several hundred people board the train at this location, and two young women in adjacent rows, who are traveling together, move to a single row so that Chris and I can sit together. Convention staff take a count of those wishing to eat at the hotel, so they can relay it to the hotel for its decision on how many staff to keep on. Those who have chosen to eat on the train create a 25-minute line in the cafe, and completely clean the cafe out of food. (It's unclear how the cafe will restock for Tuesday morning's 8 am departure.)

In Rutland, Chris and I manage to get on the first bus back to the hotel, and yes, the restaurant is open and awaiting us.

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

The remainder of this week's excursion trains don't start until 10 am (from the Amtrak station), since the trains cannot come into the station for loading until after the 8 am Amtrak has left. This means a first bus at about 8:30 am. We get up in time to eat the included breakfast before boarding the first or second bus over to the station. When the NRHS train is positioned for boarding, it does so with the door to the full-length dome adjacent to the short high-level platform, which helps us with boarding.


GP40                    301
GP40                    304
Business        McIntyre
Lounge    Dover Harbor
Coach                  280
Coach                1306
Coach                1317
Coach                1319
Coach                1313
Table                 3089
Lounge               3091
Dome        SLRG 512
Generator           9105

In the event, the dome car is only a little over half full. Seated across from us is Alex Powers, who is from Long Beach. Nearby is Gary Faucon, who has a vacation home nearby to Rutland, and thus is familiar with all the lineside locations as we pass. Nina Lawford-Juviler and Don Bishop are sitting across the aisle from us. Several of our usual companions in such accommodations turn out to be in the even more expensive (and exclusive) accommodations at the other end of the train.

Rutland to Bellows Falls route description

The train leaves Rutland at 10:02 am, a couple of minutes off the advertised. There is a photo run at Ludlow from 11:54 to 1219 am. The train stops to load lunches at Chester, at about 1:30 pm. By now it has become obvious that Vermont's luxuriant tree growth on those "green hills" results in rail lines running through 'tree canyons' (and sometimes 'tree tunnels') that tend to obscure much of the scenery, even from the dome we are sitting in.

Approaching Bellows Falls, we stop adjacent to the Riverside yard because a passenger has become ill, and then pull slowly forward to a point where the locomotives can run around the train for the return trip to Rutland. From the furthest point we reach, we can see the New England Central (former Central Vermont) bridge over the Connecticit River, which has been on our east side ever since approaching Riverside Yard, but from our end of the train, we never come within sight of the flat crossing with that line at Bellows Falls. The total time here is from 2:26 to 2:31 pm.

Late in the afternoon, there is a photo run at MP 45, from 6:21 to 6:53 pm, and the train arrives in Rutland at 7:18 pm, to find that the buses are not expecting us for another half hour! Eventually, one bus appears, and then another. Somehow, we're back at the hotel by 8 pm, and sitting down for dinner shortly thereafter.

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

Today's sole event for us is a vist to the railroad museum located in the former Rutland Center depot. A bus is shuttling back and forth all morning long, and Chris & I elect not to be on the first one (which will permit shots of the morning Amtrak going past the depot). When we do go over, there is a freight switching an industry on the way, and as we arrive at the museum, there is a photo line awaiting its arrival, but the train goes by at speed before I can join that photo line.

The museum itself is a disappointment, being completely taken up by model trains (including an operating layout of the Rutland area), but I do get time for a chat with Dan Meyer, who is there with his wife Dawn Holmberg. Back at the hotel, the restaurant is open for lunch, and the two of us then spend the afternoon sitting around the room (while the Board Meeting and Advisory Council Meeting are taking place). Chris & I eat dinner quite early, for once.

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

The first part of the day is the same as Tuesday, but the train is going the other day, today, so the consist (same as Tuesday) has been reversed to face the other way. We're in the same car as Tuesday, but sit at the othe end to have the appropriate view out of the end of the dome on the outward trip. The train sets out in the same direction as Amtrak, leaving Rutland at 10:01 am, but takes the northern fork at Center Rutland. The scenery is much the same, also, with tree canyons and tree tunnels predominating.

Rutland to Burlington route description

There is a photo run from 12:56 to 1:34 pm, during which a southbound freight passes us. A stop is made at Shelburne to drop of people who want to visit the museum there, and the train reaches Burlington at 2:10 pm (where some people take a roundhouse tour). I take a couple of photos of the locomotives befoe the train is backed out for servicing and loco run-around, and Chris & I then eat at the Skinny Pancake, a nearby restaurant with hippie-style pretensions. (Skinny pancakes are crepes, but that's not what we have to eat.) After walking back to the train, there's ice-cream available from a vendor on the platform.

Bart Jennings tells us that "service will resume in six miles", which is when Sara Jennings gets back on after the Shelburne visit. There's a traffic stop at Proctor from 7:12 to 7:36 pm, and the train gets back to Rutland at 8:01 pm. Buses are waiting.

Friday, June 19th, 2015

This morning's trip is back up the Burlington line to ride the short sput to the Omya quarries. Because the spur can take only a short train, the riders have been divided into two groups, one of which will ride the train there, and the other will ride the train back. Buses will cover the reverse trips, and photo runs will take place as the train arrives and departs Omya. Chris and I are on the train-there group. The tran is somewhat reduced from the excursion train we've been having on the other days.


GP40-2                    311
Coach                    1313
Coach                    1319
Coach                    1317
GP40                       301

The train leaves Rutland at 10:01 am, makes some incidental stops, reverses off the main line at 11:05 am, and reaches Omya at 11:17 am, with members of the other groups forming a photo line. We leave the train, and they board. I take the opportunity to have a few minutes conversation with Bob Heavenrich, whose tale of issues makes ours seem like a walk in the park. I squeeze off a couple of shots as the train departs, and we then board the buses for the return to the hotel.

At the hotel, we, and everyone else on the trip, are surprised to discover that the hotel doesn't serve lunch on Fridays, and thus we have to go elsewhere to get food and drink. But first, Chris notices that Jim Shaughnessy is already setting up for his talk, so we go into the room and buy copies of the three books he has on sale. This is good, because he runs out of one title before the end of the talk!

We get food at the nearby Taco Bell, and return in time for Jim's talk. Later, we attend the NRHS Annual Meeting, and then in the evening, the Annual Banquet.

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Today's excursion will cover the third and remaining main route of the Vermont Railway out of Rutland, south to North Bennington and then west to Hoosick Junction.  The arrangement are the same as on Tuesday and Thursday, and the consist is the same except loco. 311 has replaced 304.

Rutland to North Bennington

North Bennington to Hoosick Junction

As usual, the train departs Rutland at 10:01 am. We're in the same dome car as before. There is a runby at South Wallingford from 11:17 to 11:43 am, a stop to detrain passengers at North Bennington from 2:10 to 2:25 pm, the locomotives run around to 2:40 pm, and the train backs to Hoosick Junction, arriving at 3:35 pm and departing almost immediately (3:44 p). The train picks up the folks on the ground at 4:12 pm, and retruns to Rutland at 7:40 pm.

The buses back to the hotel provide the formal end to the convention, but we will continue to see folks all the way to New York City on the Sunday, and to Chicago on the Tuesday.

The Journey West (6/21-6/25)

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

On checking in, we had asked the hotel about late check-out on Sunday (the Amtrak train isn't until 5 pm on Sundays), but they had declined to answer until they saw how many requests they got. There were too many, so no late checkouts were granted. However, after breakfast (with Tony and Roberta), when we go to checkout, the hotel extends our room key until 3 pm!

Lunch is again the hotel's huge brunch. After we checkout at 3 pm, we find that Steve Miller is still running transportation, and the hotel van will be taking luggage over to the station, while a group of passengers get to ride a bus. By the time Amtrak is ready to board people, the station is quite full. As usual, Chris & I are riding in the Business Class section, which boards at the short high-level platform. Dover Harbor is also heading south on this train, right behind Business Class.


P32                        702
Coach                 82598
Coach                 82792
Coach                 82994
Coach                 82670
Cafe/Business     48154
Private     Dover Harbor

Train 296, 6-21-2015




5:05 pm

5:05 pm

Castleton 5:24 5:25
Fort Edward 6:25 6:22-25
Saratoga Springs 6:47 6:47-49
Schenectady 7:28 7:30-32
Albany-Rensselaer 7:53
Hudson 8:40 8:44-46
Rhinecliff 9:01 9:09
Poughkeepsie 9:15 9:27
Croton-Harmon 9:55 10:09
Yonkers 10:16 10:27
New York City 10:50 pm 10:48 pm

At Saratoga Springs, we take the siding while Train 291 holds out for us. Then we wait at the south switch from 6:51 to 7:02 pm. We then meet a northbound CP freight at MP 483.x at 7:09 pm. From 7:33 to 7:41 pm we wait at the east end of double-track, Schenectady, for Train 49.

In New York City, a redcap takes the Eisenbergs (who rode down in Dover Harbor) to the Amtrak waiting area, and then takes us across the street to the Hotel Pennsylvania.

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

I had hopes to get the luggage over to Club Acela (and checked, for one bag) this morning in time to go subway riding, but when we get down to the lobby and check out, today's bellmen refuse to take the luggage over to Penn Station. Chris walks over to the station, and gets the redcaps to agree to meet the bellman at the curb of Seventh Avenue, but only after 11 am, when their morning rush slacks off. This is duly accomplished, but by the time we have the bags stashed in Club Acela, it's too late to do what I had wanted to do on the subway, so we don't do anything.

Chris wants KFC for lunch, so we go to a distinctly lower class food court, in the station, to eat her desired lunch. I hate the whole experience. About 3 pm, the redcaps take us down to Train 49, which is now waiting in its appointed track, and we settle into our sleeper space, which is again on the Hudson River side of the train.


P32                        709            ) off at Rensselaer
P32                        716            )
P42                          76            ) on at Rensselaer
P42                          64
Baggage              61066
Sleeper                62014
Sleeper               62012
Diner                     8521
Lounge                28004
Coach                  25042
Coach                  25087
Coach                  25608
Coach                  25119
Coach                  25013         

Train 49, 6-22-2015



New York City

3:40 pm

3:49 pm

Croton-Harmon 4:26 4:32-34
Poughkeepsie 5:10 5:16-19
Rhinecliff 5:27 5:36
Albany-Rensselaer 6:20
Schenectady 7:32 7:40-50
Utica 8:48 9:08-13
Toledo 5:55 am
6:50 am
Bryan 7:05 8:18-29
Waterloo 7:33 8:44-47
Elkhart 8:25 9:40-42
South Bend                ET 8:49 10:10-13
Chicago                     CT 9:45 am 11:01 am

The conductor, on taking our tickets, tells someone on the radio that he has "passengers chasing him from Rutland". (He had been our conductor from Rutland to Rensselaer the night before.) We meet Train 48 at Poughkeepsie, and an Empire Service train shortly thereafter. At Albany-Rensselaer, work is underway to lengthen the main platform so that the whole of trains 48 and 49 will fit at one time. When we arrive, the sleepers are stopped beyond the north end of the platform (next to the construction), and only backed up onto the live platform just before departure. One on the main CSX line, west of Schenectady, the train is crossed over to meet and pass freight trains as needed.

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

I awake as the train arrives in Toledo (I recognize the bridge over the Maumee River, even before sitting up.) Heading west on the Chicago Line, in addition to meeting many NS eastbound freights, we stop to pick up the conductor of one to help him find the source of his train's emergency stop. When he does (an air hose is off), we stop to let him off again. As usual, the dispatcher crosses us back and forth to overtake and meet freights, as required, on this overloaded main line. At breakfast, we see John (from Spokane), who had left Rutland a day later than we did, and boarded this train at Rensselaer.

In Chicago, Chris and I decide to go to Elephant & Castle for lunch, and again our bodies soon tell us this was a mistake. After a delicious meal, we decide to take a taxi back to the station. None of the western trains have left yet, so the Metropolitan Lounge is completely full of people, some sitting on portable chairs. (Coach passengers for these trains are seated in the Great Hall this year, with only disabled people permitted to use the close-in coach lounges.)

One by one, the other long distance trains are called, heading for Texas, San Francisco (well, Emeryville),  and Seattle, and then there's a gap before the Southwest Chief is called. We ride out to the train with the redcaps, and I capture most of the consist as we ride by, getting the rest quickly before boarding the sleeping car. As usual, with the new rules to satisfy Congressman John Mica, there's no coffee in the car this afternoon, so we increase Amtrak's coffers by buying some in the lounge car, when required!


P42                        23
P42                        39
Baggage              1708
Dorm                39019
Sleeper             32007
Sleeper             32118
Diner                38024
Lounge              33007
Coach               34076
Coach               34078
Coach-Baggage 31011
Coach                34046

Train 3, 6-23-2010




3:00 pm

3:00 pm

Naperville 3:35 3:32-35
Mendota 4:24 4:25
Princeton 4:46 4:49
Galesburg 5:38 5:48-54
Fort Madison 6:42 6:49-56
La Plata 7:51 7:59-8:01
Kansas City (arr.) 10:11 10:04
Garden City               CT 6:21 am 6:21 am
Lamar                        MT 6:59 7:35-40
La Junta 8:15
Trinidad 9:50 10:17
Raton 10:56 11:12-20
Las Vegas. NM 12:35 pm 1:12-17 pm
Lamy 2:24 3:15-23
Albuquerque 3:55
Gallup                     MT 7:06 7:44-48
Winslow                   PT 7:50 8:48-50
Victorville 4:18 am 5:56-6:00 am
San Bernardino 5:32 7:04-08
Riverside 5:53 7:25-28
Fullerton 6:24 8:12-15
Los Angeles 8:15 am 8:56 am

Train 3 gets delayed by Train 5 (which was only 5 minutes late leaving Chicago) on the approach to Galesburg, including a six minute stop. We eat dinner west of La Plata.

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

There are some soft stretches of track in western Kansas and Eastern Colorado. We stop for five minutes east of Animas Junction. Just further west, there are cows on the right-of-way, on both sides of the track. Later, there are a number of slow orders (some 10 mph) in New Mexico.

Back on the Transcon, west of Dalies, we see thirteen eastbounds before reaching Gallup. West of Gallup, we cross back and forth five times before Winslow.

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Almost two hours late at Victorville translates to only 40 minutes late arriving in Los Angeles. After reclaiming the checked bag, we stop at Bristol Farms for breakfast and groceries. When we get to Tehachapi, the outside temperature is 96 degrees!