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Adirondack Trip 2018:

Adirondack Trip 2018:




††††††††††† Amtrak continued to run the Great Dome on the Adirondack every fall after my trips in 2007 and 2008. They also ran it on the Cardinal and the Downeaster. I rode the dome on the Cardinal in 2010, but never rode it on the Downeaster.


††††††††††† In fall of 2018, Amtrak announced they would retire the dome after its stint on the Adirondack. I decided to go for one more ride. Unlike when I worked at Wal-Mart, I had to request three days off from Home Depot as they were giving me shifts that would have otherwise conflicted with me riding the dome. They granted my request for the second last time the dome would run to Montreal and back to Albany.


††††††††††† My plan was to ride VIA train #62 to Montreal yet again and overnight in Montreal. The next day, I would board the Adirondack and ride to Albany instead of Schenectady as I did in 2007 and 2008. The next day I would take the Maple Leaf home. The trip unfolded as follows.


October 29, 2018:


††††††††††† I took the subway down to Union Station. I got there just before 8:30 am. I joined the line for VIA train #62. Boarding began just before 9:00. I was seated in LRC coach #3330. I had a window seat on the left-hand side of the train. From my seat, I photographed a VIA train on the track next to us which would be going to Ottawa.




††††††††††† I gained a seatmate right away. I logged into VIAís Wi-Fi. The train left on time. I filmed the VIA train on the track next to us. As we passed the TTCís Greenwood subway yard, I filmed it.


††††††††††† We passed a few GO trains and then passed a CN freight train in Pickering. We overtook a GO train and a westbound VIA train passed. I was unable to film the VIA train. The GO train we overtook then pulled ahead.


††††††††††† We did pass the GO train when it stopped at Whitby GO station. We passed GOís new Whitby yard which was now full with trains. We stopped in Oshawa a few minutes later.


††††††††††† Another westbound CN freight passed.Somewhere east of Oshawa, I saw someone filming the train as we raced through a level crossing. My ticket was taken some point later.


††††††††††† We were soon running parallel to the CP main line. I saw a CP hi-rail truck on the line doing maintenance of some sort. The train passed through Port Hope. A westbound VIA train passed, but I was unable to film it. We stopped at Cobourg a few minutes later.


††††††††††† After leaving Cobourg, VIA train #51 passed, but I was unable to film it. I did film the Memory Junction museum as we raced past. East of the museum, the train slowed but soon picked up speed again.


††††††††††† The train slowed as we passed through Belleville. We stopped; but not at the station, (Train #62 does not stop in Belleville). The train crew announced we were waiting for a signal. We were underway a few minutes later. We passed a CN intermodal as we passed through Belleville station. We also overtook an eastbound CN freight which had distributed power. An eastbound VIA train passed, but I was unable to film it.


††††††††††† West of Kingston, a westbound CN freight passed. The train had a GO Transit bilevel as the second last car.


††††††††††† The train stopped in Kingston and then departed a little while later. VIA train #63 passed, but I was unable to film it. I got up and photographed the nose of the locomotive that would lead train #52 east from Brockville.



††††††††††† I bought lunch.After lunch we stopped to separate trains 62 and 52. I got out of my seat and watched the trains get split. I took some photos.





††††††††††† We were soon underway and passed through Brockville. I returned to my seat. The crew announced we were 17 minutes late. VIA train #65 passed, but I was unable to film it. We stopped at Cornwall a little later.


††††††††††† I saw a GATX GP38 with a CN GP9. We crossed into Quebec. We slowed to a crawl outside Dorval. We stopped at Dorval a little while later. We were getting close to Montreal. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.


††††††††††† As we passed over the canal, I looked to the area where I had seen the MR-63s but didnít see them. I had heard the exhibit may have been temporary. It looks like it may have been the case.


††††††††††† I filmed some EXO commuter trains outside Central Station before we arrived 23 minutes late. I got off and photographed the train and VIA train #67.






††††††††††† I went upstairs and headed to the Metro. I bought a day pass and boarded an Azur and rode to Mont Royal. I then took the bus to Parc Avenue. I photographed the bus when I got on.



††††††††††† My bus was a hybrid bus. I rode to Parc Avenue and got off and photographed the bus before I filmed it pulling away.



††††††††††† I was once again staying at the Hotel Parc Avenue.I checked in and went to my room where I dropped my stuff off. I went online briefly and headed out.


††††††††††† I caught an articulated LFS on route #435 to Place Des Arts Metro station. I then boarded a Green Line train and rode to Honore-Beaugard station. I got off and photographed the train.




††††††††††† I went upstairs. I was looking for another 22-000 series LFS; STMís oldest buses in service. I photographed various buses including LFS buses #28-055 and 22-366.









††††††††††† I saw LFS #22-335 was going into service. I photographed it before I boarded it on route #186. I rode the bus a few stops and got off and photographed the bus before I filmed it pulling away.



††††††††††† I then boarded a newer LFS back to the Metro station and boarded a train of MR-73s. I rode to Monk station. When I got off, I filmed the train pulling out.


††††††††††† I then went outside. I was hoping to ride an electric LFS again. I saw electric LFS #36-901 heading in the opposite direction that I was going. I ran across the street and photographed it before I got on.



††††††††††† With 36-901, I have now ridden all three of STMís electric LFS buses though they have more on order. I rode to Angrignon and got off. I saw we were behind electric LFS #36-902! I photographed 2/3 of STMís electric buses.






††††††††††† I had previously wondered if STM ever ran more than one of the electric buses in service. I did learn that one Montreal transit fan saw all three in service at once. I then waited for both electric buses to depart and took photos and videos of them departing.







††††††††††† I soon left on an Azur and rode to Lionel-Groulx station and filmed the train leaving. I then boarded a train and rode to Namur. I was once again having dinner at Gibeau Orange Julep.



††††††††††† After dinner I got on the Metro. I saw I didnít have to go down and around to get back to my hotel. Instead I rode to Cote St. Catherine and boarded a bus on route #129 to the stop where Mark and I boarded the route #129 back in April when we went to the science museum.


††††††††††† I went to the gas station across the street and bought some cereal and milk before I went back to my room. I worked on this report and watched TV before I set my alarm and went to bed.


October 30, 2018:


††††††††††† I got up at 7:10 and got dressed. I ate the cereal I bought the day before and finished packing. I then checked out of my hotel and caught a bus to Place Des Arts Metro station.


††††††††††† I then boarded a train of MR-73s and rode to Lionel-Groulx. I got off at Lionel-Groulx and filmed the train leaving. I waited for the next train which was also a train of MR-73s and photographed it.



This was actually the train I rode to Lionel-Groulx.



††††††††††† I then went upstairs and boarded an Azur on the Orange line. I actually waited two trains because the first train was full. The second one wasnít much better, but there was just enough room for me to get on. I still had plenty of time.


††††††††††† I rode to Bonadventure and filmed the train pulling out. I then went to Central Station to await boarding of the Adirondack. I stopped in a couple stores in the station while I was waiting.


††††††††††† Boarding began shortly after 10:00 am. When I made my way to the platform, I saw the great dome which meant that this trip was worthwhile. I was seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25089. The HEP was off when I boarded. However, HEP was restored just before we left. The train left on time. Shortly after leaving, I photographed the front of the train as we went around a curve.



††††††††††† Since the last time I rode the dome, Amtrak painted the car in the Phase 3 livery. This was done back in 2011 as part of Amtrakís 40th anniversary. We were running beside a CN intermodal which we had to stop to let by so we could stop at St. Lambert.


††††††††††† The dome car opened up right after the train had passed. I walked to the great dome. On my way through the two Amfleet 1 coaches, I saw that like the car on my last trip, these coaches were refurbished with the big leather seats. The Amfleet 2s have yet to get a similar treatment.


††††††††††† The interior of the Great Dome hadnít changed much since 2010. I sat close to the front and talked with a couple railfans. The train stopped at St. Lambert before we departed and branched off from the main line where VIAís Montreal-Quebec trains and the Ocean run.


††††††††††† One of the railfans on the train didnít know that the Great Domeís retirement was imminent. This is due to Amtrakís current president who used to work for Delta Airlines and is a bit of a cheapskate and heís not popular among Amtrak fans.


††††††††††† We passed through several small towns and at one point I photographed an old railway station and a suburban Nova LFS at a crossing.





††††††††††† I eventually made my way to the cafť car and bought lunch. I went back to my seat.


††††††††††† We were soon approaching the border. I had filled out a card for U.S. customs. We stopped at Rouses Point. Customs came on and began interviewing passengers. The agent who interviewed me was okay. Unlike my 2007 and 2008 trips, I wasnít able to step off the train. I did grab one photo of the dome car.



††††††††††† The inspection was complete and we soon departed. I went back to the dome. We were joined by two commercial airline pilots. The train stopped at Plattsburgh and passed through Port Kent where in the summer a ferry service is offered to Burlington, Vermont. We stopped at Westport.


††††††††††† At one point we took a siding to meet the northbound Adirondack. When it came by, I filmed it. Someone called it the train of the future because of the lack of dome car on the northbound!


††††††††††† We were soon underway again and stopped at Port Henry. From the dome, I photographed a bridge named after a town that no longer exists.



††††††††††† I was looking to see if my friend Dan who I met on the Adirondack in 2007 would board there. He did not. I would not see him on this trip.


††††††††††† The train stopped at Ticonderoga. South of Ticonderoga, we passed through a tunnel. We then stopped at Whitehall.At one point, the person from Trails and Rails mentioned the Gimli Glider. I told him I photographed the plane involved!I also told the pilots the story of my saga with Jetblue. The train stopped at Fort Edward.


††††††††††† I chatted with another railfan. I asked if we passed the CP Business train which had been running this section of line the last few days. He said it had gone north the day before. On the Friday before the trip, I had gone out to try to see it pass through Toronto. Unfortunately, I didnít see it and it passed through around 3:30 am; 7 hours late.


††††††††††† When the train stopped at Saratoga Springs, I filmed some former LIRR coaches.

We soon departed Saratoga Springs. As we departed, I filmed a former McKinley Explorer full length dome which is owned by a tourist railway that owns the two LIRR coaches I photographed earlier.


††††††††††† We were soon approaching Schenectady. The Amtrak crew told us they were closing the dome and the first Amfleet coach behind it. I understood the dome, but I was puzzled about the first Amfleet coach as in previous times Iíve seen the New York bound Adirondack at Albany, a P32AC-DM AND a single Amfleet 1 coach were added to the cars that had come back from Montreal.


††††††††††† The train stopped at Schenectady. When I passed through last year, a new station was being built. It is now open. We departed Schenectady.


††††††††††† I attempted to film an Amtrak train passing us on the left-hand side. We were soon approaching Albany. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.


††††††††††† As we passed the Amtrak yard, I filmed the equipment in the yard. I also saw a westbound Amtrak pass by. I then attempted to film a line of private coaches on a siding.


††††††††††† Train #68 arrived into Albany 13 minutes late. I filmed train #449 arriving from Boston before I got off and photographed the train.




††††††††††† I saw that a P32AC-DM had two Amfleet 1 coaches and was preparing to couple up to the Adirondack. I went upstairs and took some photos.



††††††††††† I then left the station to catch a bus to my hotel. I had to take two buses to get to my hotel and they didnít give transfers which is stupid.


††††††††††† I soon got to my hotel which was a Days Inn. I checked in and I was given a key to room #103 which was the same number of the room I had in Montreal! I went online for a few minutes before I headed out.


††††††††††† I knew the Crossgates Mall was in the area. I started walking but eventually caught a bus to the mall. I had dinner in the food court and looked around the mall and had a 20 minute massage. After, I looked around for a few minutes.


††††††††††† There was a Dave and Busterís in the mall. There is one such restaurant/entertainment center in my area. However, I found my Power Card didnít work at the location. I didnít bother to try to get it fixed and went to catch a bus back to my hotel. While waiting for my bus, I photographed a couple other buses.





††††††††††† I boarded a route #10 bus and headed back to my hotel. I went into a gas station and bought some milk. I went back to my hotel and went online a bit. I set the alarm on my phone and called it a night.


October 31, 2018 {Halloween}:


††††††††††† I got up and got dressed. I went to the lobby for breakfast. After breakfast, I went back to my room and finished packing. I then checked out of the hotel and walked to the bus stop. I caught a bus into downtown Albany and then got on another bus to the Amtrak station. I got there about 50 minutes before my train was scheduled to leave.


††††††††††† I bought a bottle of Pepsi from a store in the station while I waited for my train.


††††††††††† I photographed and filmed Amtrak train #280 as it arrived from Niagara Falls.




††††††††††† Soon my train arrived. I filmed it pulling in and photographed it.




††††††††††† I joined a queue line to board. I saw the train was being led by P32AC-DM #701 which I had crossed paths with a number of times on previous trips. One thing to note is that #701 was now in the Phase 3 livery. #701 was removed in Albany to be replaced by a P42.


††††††††††† Boarding soon commenced. I was seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25062. After putting my stuff in the seat, I stepped off and watched as P42 #111 was coupled up to the train. I photographed it and filmed the coupling move.



††††††††††† I then took a few more photos of train #280 before I filmed it departing.




††††††††††† I then reboarded the train. HEP was restored and we departed 6-7 minutes late. After we departed, I filmed the private coaches on the siding again as well as the Amtrak yard. I was hoping that I would be able to see the Great Dome one last time but such was not the case as it was probably inside.


††††††††††† I logged into Amtrakís Wi-Fi network. I had tried to do it the day before, but it didnít work on the Adirondack for some reason. The Wi-Fi did work on todayís train.


††††††††††† Amtrak train #290 passed and I attempted to film it. I also photographed a depressed center flatcar.



††††††††††† We stopped in Schenectady a few minutes later. We then departed and stopped in Amsterdam. Amtrak train #284 passed, but I was unable to film it.


††††††††††† The train stopped in Utica. As we departed, I filmed steam locomotive #6721 which was still damaged from the accident a few years ago when a runaway hopper car slammed into it.


††††††††††† The train passed through Rome non-stop. Outside of Syracuse, we stopped to let train #48 pass. When it passed, I filmed it. We were soon underway again and passed some freight trains. We then stopped at Syracuse. I bought lunch after we departed. Between Syracuse and Rochester, Amtrak train #64 passed, but I was unable to film it.


††††††††††† We stopped in Rochester at the new Amtrak station. The station has high level platforms on two adjacent tracks. The old station only had a single platform.


††††††††††† After leaving Rochester, the Amtrak crew announced that the cafť car would be closing in 40 minutes. I went to the cafť and bought a Pepsi. We stopped at Buffalo Depew. I was given a form to fill out for Customs. The train passed a couple stopped freights and then stopped at Buffalo Exchange Street. We soon departed.


††††††††††† The train stopped at Niagara Falls, New York. However, passengers going on to Canada werenít allowed to step off. The train soon departed and crossed into Canada.


††††††††††† At Niagara Falls, Ontario we were made to get off and go through Customs in the station. Once I was done, I walked over and photographed the train.



††††††††††† I then went into the station to wait for reboarding of my train. A VIA employee in a wig and a witch hat started the boarding process. I was seated in the same coach as earlier. The train left on time.


††††††††††† Shortly after we left, I phoned home. My ticket was scanned and I worked on this report some more.


††††††††††† The bridge over the Welland Canal was down. However, there was a ship that was waiting to pass through. We stopped in St. Catherines a few minutes later. The VIA employee in the witch had passed out candy! That didnít happen when I rode Amtrakís Cardinal on Halloween in 2010. The VIA employee also said that Smarties in Canada are different than in the U.S. The American version of Smarties are known as Rockets in Canada.


††††††††††† The sun went down. We then stopped at Grimsby. After leaving Grimsby, I went to the cafť car for dinner. I ate dinner back at my seat.


††††††††††† As we passed through Hamilton, a GO train passed. We stopped in Aldershot a few minutes later. At Aldershot, we were delayed by a GO train. We departed a few minutes later. We stopped at Oakville a few minutes later. We soon departed from Oakville.


††††††††††† As we passed VIAís Toronto Maintenance Center, I attempted to film the equipment in the yard. I could make our Rapidoís ex VIA sleeping car Edmundston.


††††††††††† We were soon nearing Toronto Union Station. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.


††††††††††† The Maple Leaf arrived into Union Station 6 minutes late. I got off and photographed the train.




††††††††††† I then went downstairs and went to the subway. I then took the subway to Finch. My dad met me at Finch and we headed home.




††††††††††† This trip went off nearly perfectly. Montreal proved to be enjoyable for the fourth time. Iím glad I got to ride the Great Dome for the last time. I just wish I could have gotten off at Rouses Point like I did in 2007 and 2008.


††††††††††† It is sad that the dome era on Amtrak ended on November 2, 2018. Hopefully the Great Dome is not scrapped though thereís a good chance it will become a private car like at least one of its sister domes which I rode on in 2015. Iím glad I can still enjoy domes on VIA Rail. Maybe in the future Iíll ride a dome as a private car or on another steam excursion.


††††††††††† 2020 update: I learned that Amtrakís last dome car has been sold to a company called Paxrail which supplies coaches for excursion trains and own some of the coaches that were used on the two excursions I rode being Norfolk and Western #611. So the car is not getting scrapped. Perhaps some point in the future Iíll come across it again on another steam excursion.


††††††††††† It looks like Iím done travelling in 2018. 2019 should be at least as interesting. Until next timeÖ