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Friday, October 13, 2006:

Friday, October 13, 2006:


I woke up around 3:15 am as we approached Toledo, Ohio. This was a smoking stop where I used to photograph the train.




We soon left Toledo where I tried to sleep again, but was awake as we stopped at Sandusky. I soon slept for a bit until Cleveland where the conductor woke me up because someone was going to sit in the seat next to me. I was a little disappointed, but what can you do?


Once I gained a seatmate, I tried sleeping again, but I found it to be quick difficult. I eventually would give up.


Train 48 stopped at Erie. We were about 90 minutes late. Shortly after leaving the station, I saw the General Electric locomotive plant with some new diesels for BNSF.


By now, I finally gave up trying to sleep and headed into the café car for breakfast because I wasn’t sure how long it would be until we arrived in Buffalo. After breakfast, I went back to my coach seat.


Soon, the sun was fully up. We passed a stopped westbound freight train. I saw the freight had a fair amount of snow on it, despite it being mid October! This was foreshadowing the experience I was going to face.


We soon were in a winter wonderland where a lot of snow had fallen. I saw several broken trees and snow buried the rails on the track next to the track my train was on. Train 48 began to slow down to restricted speed because the signals had lost power. When we were 16 miles from Buffalo-Depew station, the train crew made an announcement that it would still be awhile before we got there.


            When we finally arrived into Buffalo, we had to make a triple stop because most of the platform was covered in snow! First, they stopped to unload the baggage car. Next, they took passengers off the sleepers. Finally, the coach passengers were taken off.


            Once I got off, I took a few photos.



Note all the snow in the parking lot. You’d almost think it was January instead of October!



            I filmed the Lakeshore pulling out from the parking lot instead of the east end of the station where I had filmed it on my February 2005 and Arizona trips. Train 48 arrived into Buffalo three hours late. There was no time for me to get to the Greyhound station now. I did have a contingency plan. After I called home, I bought a ticket for train 63.


            Now it was a waiting game. I would keep phoning home. Around noon, I asked if there were any restaurants nearby. I was told that nothing was open because it was a state of emergency. The only food available was from the vending machines in the station. I also noticed the Norfolk Southern line a short distance from the station.


            Many passengers who were snowbound at Buffalo’s airport bought tickets to Rochester and Syracuse on train 64 which was supposed to arrive shortly before 1:00.


            I ventured out onto the platform and photographed a CSX freight. As the freight approached, I saw another passenger throwing snow at a parked freight train three tracks over. They stopped just before the freight entered the station



            The freight train stopped nowhere clear of the platform for several minutes. It eventually started to move, but it stopped again with the last car still in the station. Shortly after, two CSX diesels ran light on the adjacent track.




            After the engines passed, I went back into the station. A few minute later, the station crew announced that train 64 was delayed because of a downed wire on the tracks. A few minutes later, they made another announcement that the wire was actually a telephone cable and the train crew would move it themselves. The freight was still sitting in the station though. I also kept calling Julie to find out when train 63 would arrive.


Buffalo-Depew station only has one platform track. With freights tying up the line, one wishes that the old Buffalo Central terminal was still open!


I kept phoning home from time to time. I was starting to loose patience. At one point a taxi offered to take me to Toronto, or at least to Niagara Falls, Ontario, but I turned it down, which in hindsight, was a mistake.


Despite the platform track being partially obstructed by the rear of the CSX freight, I saw train 64 inch into the station 3 hours and 15 minutes late. Yet the train couldn’t go anywhere. I noticed the train had a full business class coach instead of a 48000 series business class/café car.



I checked on train 63 and found out it was being held at Rochester. I cursed myself for not taking that taxi to Niagara Falls which was not hit.


The hours dragged by as I became hungrier and hungrier, (the vending machines aren’t good for several meals)! Eventually, the freight and train 64 departed.


I kept phoning home. Eventually, my dad said he’d come get me. I then refunded the ticket I bought for train 63. While waiting for my dad, I kept checking in. I was becoming more and more anxious to leave. I was so frustrated I called Amtrak and asked for a travel voucher for next time.


At 9:20, train 63 finally arrived departed a few minutes later. I photographed it.



After train 63 departed, I continued waiting for my dad. He eventually showed up after 11:00 pm. I was relieved to have finally left Depew station.


We looked for a place to eat Stateside, but found nothing. We crossed into Canada and got something from a McDonald’s a few minutes away from my aunt’s house. I noticed the area had changed. When I came to Niagara Falls in August with my friends, I wasn’t in that area. I felt like I hadn’t been there in years as opposed to months.


I was very tired though and slept most of the way home. I ended up getting home around 2:00 am where I quickly went to bed after one of the worst days of my life. I can owe it to being a Friday the 13th because I am superstitious.




The freak snowstorm in Buffalo was a terrible ending to what was an otherwise good trip! Aside from the anal customs agent at the boarder, the trip up to after train 48 left Erie was good. I finally met up with my friend Karl again and got to ride a fair bit of the CTA system.


As for the time spent in Buffalo, it was as bad, if not worse as when I was waiting for the Sunset Limited which arrived 12 hours late. Now that I’m fed, rested, and calmed down from that experience, I can say I wasn’t thinking clearly that day. Whether or not I could have gotten home sooner had I got on train 63, I don’t know, but I believe I wouldn’t be home any sooner with the customs inspection and everything. Even if things had gone according to plan, my next few trips will take place entirely in Canada using VIA Rail Canada.


The ending won’t result in me taking an “Arizona make-up make-up” trip. However, my next Amtrak trip won’t be until summer where I plan to visit Washington D.C. and Cleveland, Ohio. The voucher that arrived a few days later will certainly help. Until next time…