In the summer of 1999, the Halton County Radial Railway Museum acquired former Lake Erie and Northern interurban #797 from the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. In exchange for 797, HCRR sent Seashore former Toronto Peter Witt #2890. They gradually restored 797 in the nine years that followed, though the car is nowhere near operating condition.
Lake Erie and Northern 797 as it appeared in late June 2008.
Although it never ran when I visited HCRR prior to summer 1999, I did notice 2890 a number of times, though I never photographed it at HCRR. In the summer of 2000, my mom hinted that we might be able to visit 2890 at Seashore as a result of a tournament my sister’s ball team was trying to qualify for. However, they didn’t qualify, but we went to a tournament northwest of Chicago which enabled to me to visit six former Toronto PCCs that were mothballed in 1995. I also met Karl on that trip.
Still, I wanted to see 2890 one more time. The Seashore Trolley Museum wasn’t near any major cities or towns, so I would have to drive there. Eventually, I chose to go in the summer of 2008 as I would be 25 years old; legally old enough to rent a car.
My original plan was to take the Maple Leaf to Syracuse, overnight there. The next day, I would board the Lakeshore Limited and ride to Boston, changing trains in Albany. In Boston, I would rent a car and drive to Seashore one day. After a few days, I would ride to Schenectady and overnight there. Finally, I would ride the Maple Leaf home. However, as gas prices climbed, I altered the plan. Eventually, I decided to ride Amtrak’s Downeaster to Saco, Maine and rent a car there and head off to Seashore. Saco is much closer to Seashore than Boston and 1/3 the driving distance. The trip unfolded as follows.
When I heard the rumor of the possible discontinuance of the Maple Leaf, I came up with an alternate plan that would cost as much and would have taken the same amount of days. Fortunately, the Maple Leaf survived.
July 3, 2008:
I got to Finch subway station just after 7:00 am. I boarded a class T-1 subway train and was soon off. Shortly after leaving the station, the interior lights blinked off for a second just like the lights in the old Gloucester subway cars used to do. I thought that to be ironic as this trip was an indirect result of the TTC retiring the Gloucesters as that is how I first learned of the Halton County Radial Railway Museum.
I got to Union about 30 minutes later which was almost an hour before the Maple Leaf was to depart. I decided to pass some time by watching VIA train 71 depart. I peeked in through a door and photographed the train.
I then went to my favorite vantage point west of the station and photographed train 71 departing and then filmed it.
I was wondering if I would see the Canadian as today was a day the Canadian was to depart Toronto, however, it was delayed and would be leaving 4 hours late. I filmed the Northlander pulling into the station and lined up to board the Maple Leaf. Boarding soon commenced. When I got to track level, I took a couple photos.
I was seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25091, a refurbished coach with a blue and white interior, digital display boards, and AC outlets. The train left on time. As we passed VIA’s Toronto Maintenance Centre, I filmed it, observing the Canadian which was still being made up and former BC Rail lounge car Glenfraser.
The café car was open and I walked back. As I walked through Amfleet 2 coach #25040, I saw the door on the left hand side of the train was partially open! The train was also going pretty fast too. I bought something from the café car and when I passed through 25040 again, I noticed that a VIA employee had closed the door.
Amtrak P42 #106 was leading the train today. The train stopped at Oakville, Aldershot, and Grimsby. I was given a card to fill out prior to crossing the boarder. We stopped at St. Catherines, we soon departed. We were soon underway again and stopped in Niagara Falls. The train crossed into the U.S. I was a little nervous about the customs inspection because I was worried I would be interviewed by the same customs agent who interviewed me who interviewed me on my Arizona Make-up trip. The train ran past the Niagara Falls New York station and then backed in. The customs agents got on. I was interviewed by a man who I found to be all right and not as anal as the woman who interviewed me on my Arizona Make-up trip. However, he asked to see my return ticket which I gladly showed him.
After awhile, I asked if we could be let off the train for a breather, but the train crew said the train still hadn’t cleared customs yet. The inspection was eventually complete and the train crew let passengers out for a smoking break. I stepped out and took two photos.
We soon left Niagara Falls New York. We were now running 12 minutes late. The café car reopened and I bought lunch as we stopped at Buffalo Exchange Street. As the train pulled out of Buffalo Exchange Street, I saw the door on 25040 was partially open again! I informed an Amtrak crew member who closed the door.
We passed CSX’s Frontier yard where I saw a work train with a caboose. Unfortunately I was unable to film it. This was the first time since I rode the Adirondack that I saw a train with a caboose. The train then stopped at Buffalo Depew station.
After we left Buffalo Depew, I saw the two Orion 5s in the scrap yard that I noticed when I rode the Maple Leaf home on my trip to Schenectady last November. The train stopped at Rochester.
Shortly after leaving Rochester, we passed Amtrak train #63. As it passed, I filmed it. Soon we were approaching Syracuse. Amtrak train 281 passed, but I was unable to film it. We arrived 43 minutes late. Once I got off, I walked to the end of the platform and photographed the train.
I then saw a westbound CSX freight approaching I photographed it and then filmed the Maple Leaf departing. After, I took one last photo as the Maple Leaf rounded a corner.
I then went inside to catch a bus to my hotel. I would be staying at a Super 8 which is the first time since my Arizona trip I had stayed at a hotel owned by Super 8, not that there was anything wrong. This wasn’t my first choice. The first hotel I considered staying at was $10.30 cheaper but breakfast wasn’t included and further from the Amtrak station. Not wanting to miss another train, I decided to go to Super 8.
I first waited for a bus, but when I checked the schedule, I saw it would take too long, so I took a cab to my hotel and checked in. Shortly after I checked in, I phoned home and then took a bus to the Carousel Center mall. The reason it’s called the Carousel Center is that there is a restored carousel in the food court. I looked around a few stores and demoed a massage chair in one store. I then went outside and saw the former Carousel Center stop for the old On-Track Commuter train which was run by the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railway with RDCs until the service was discontinued several months ago. I took a picture of the old station.
I crossed the street and looked in the old station. I then went back to the mall and had dinner in the food court which overlooked the CSX main line. I hadn’t seen a train for awhile, so I thought that it’s too bad CSX couldn’t have a freight void when an Amtrak train came through. Moments later, I saw Amtrak train 283 pass and filmed it as it went by. I also noticed an ice cream store in the mall called “Cold Stone Creamery”. That store is a rip-off of the ice cream store franchise known as Marble Slab Creamery. My mom had opened one such store near our house about a month earlier.
I soon caught a bus back to my hotel and asked for a wake up call at 8:30 am. I watched a bit of TV and called it a night.
July 4, 2008:
I got a call on my cell phone at 7:30 am from who I would later find out was the Syracuse Amtrak station saying that train 48 would be delayed. I went back to sleep until I got my wake-up call. I then dressed and went downstairs for the free breakfast. After breakfast, I packed and got ready. I then checked out and caught a bus to the Amtrak station. I got there around 11:30 am. I saw the train would be about 90 minutes late on the board in the station.
Prior to this trip, I was hoping the train would be close to on time as I would get to eat lunch in the new diner-lite car on the Lakeshore converted from an Amfleet 2 lounge car. The Lakeshore Limited started running with a diner-lite car and a Horizon fleet café car shortly after my Cleveland Make-up trip last September.
However as I said earlier, the train was late, so I bought lunch from a Subway inside the station. After lunch, I walked onto the platform and photographed a CSX freight.
Amtrak train #63 arrived into Syracuse 15 minutes late. I saw it had the same loco and the same coaches except they added Amfleet 1 coach #82607 in front of the four Amfleet 2 coaches. Coach 25040 was still in the train so maybe they addressed the door issue when the train arrived into New York the night before.
I then photographed the train and another eastbound CSX freight.
I filmed train 63 departing and photographed another CSX freight. Train 48 finally arrived two hours and one minute late. As the train arrived, I filmed it pulling into the station.
I lined up to board. Since many people were riding the train today, Amtrak was assigning seats. I was seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25004, another refurbished coach. We soon left. Shortly after my ticket was taken, I headed to the café car and took some interior shots.
The train raced through Rome, New York. Later, we took a siding to let train 281 pass us. As it passed, I filmed it. As we approached Utica, I saw two RDCs on a siding include one that had been used on the On-Track Commuter train. We stopped in Utica. As we left, I filmed the former Metro North FL9 owned by the Adirondack Scenic Tourist train. I stayed in the café car as we raced through Amsterdam non stop. I saw four railfans watching the train. I didn’t recognize any of them though.
I went back to my coach seat and stayed there as we stopped in Schenectady. We then left and I readied myself to get off in Albany. As we passed the Amtrak yard just west of the station, I filmed what I saw. I saw a train that looked like 448 to Boston, but it turned out to be a train just waiting. I filmed train 285 passing before we arrived into Albany 64 minutes late. I photographed 48 in the station.
I saw what would be my connecting train to Boston. I had expected that I would just walk across the platform, however, my train was two tracks over and I had to go upstairs into the station to switch tracks. I took some photos of my connecting train.
Meanwhile the two P42s that led 48 from Chicago to Albany were removed and replaced with a single P32AC-DM. Soon, train 448 to Boston boarded. I was seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25029, yet another refurbished coach. From train 448, I filmed train 48 departing for New York.
In the old days, trains 48 and 448 ran combined between Chicago and Albany where they split and headed off to New York and Boston. That lasted until fall 2004 when they ran the Albany-Boston segment as a separate stub train.
Train 448 left over an hour late. We proceeded slowly because CSX was having signal problems on the line. We eventually picked up speed.
I went to the café car for dinner. As I passed through the Amfleet 1 coach ahead of me, I noticed that it was a business class coach, even though it was for economy class passengers! This reminded me of my ride on train 196 on my New York trip.
The train stopped at Pittsfield. The stop was quick and we were soon off. The sun went down as we approached Springfield, our next stop. I saw some fireworks at Springfield for the 4th of July. At Springfield, I saw a couple Amtrak shuttle trains and the Vermonter. We were originally to have a smoking stop in Springfield, but because we were late, the crew made it a non-smoking stop. We were soon off again.
We passed a few CSX freight trains along the way. Later, we stopped at Worcester and Framingham. I noticed some MBTA commuter trains stored in a yard at one point. We soon arrived into Boston Back Bay station where I got off. By the time we arrived, we were 71 minutes late. This was my stop and I got off and photographed the train.
I filmed the train departing then I went outside. I saw a blimp flying overhead. I walked a few blocks to the YWCA Berkley Street; the hostel I was staying at. I got my room key. However, they were unable to let me pay as I had arrived late. They told me I could pay later though. I went up to my room. I had to share a bathroom with everyone else on the floor. I soon discovered there was no soap in the bathroom.
My room was hot and it was kind of loud with the traffic outside. I set the alarm on my phone for 7:00 am and went to bed.
Click here for my trip to Seashore: Seashore trip