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October 31, 2010; {Halloween}:

October 31, 2010; {Halloween}:


††††††††††† After the Cardinal left Indianapolis, I saw that my new seatmate was lying across both seats. I also noticed plenty of free seats in the coach behind mine. I also learned that the dome was being closed for the night. I was thinking of sleeping in the dome; so much for that idea.


††††††††††† I moved to Amfleet 2 coach #25043 and lay down across two seats and pulled out my Amtrak blanket and tried to sleep.


††††††††††† I woke up while the train was in Cincinnati. I asked if there was enough time for me to take some photos, but the conductor said there wasnít. I went back and tried to sleep some more as we left.


††††††††††† I woke up as we stopped in Huntington, West Virginia. This was a smoke stop. I got out and took some photos.




††††††††††† The fourth Amfleet 2 coach had been empty for most of the trip. It was being held for a tour group who was boarding at Huntington. I got back on the train. The train moved up a couple coach lengths so the tour group could board.


††††††††††† After awhile, I decided to get up. I got changed and went to the diner-lounge for breakfast. After breakfast, I went to the dome car. There were several people in the dome car already.


††††††††††† The train stopped at Charleston which is the Capital of West Virginia. Two guides from the Colis P. Huntington Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society began to present a commentary in the dome car, utilizing the carís PA system. As we left Charleston, they pointed out the West Virginia State Capitol Building whose roof is gold plated. I took some photos of it from the dome.



††††††††††† After we left Charleston, we began running along the Kanawha River and then the New River. We went around several curves. I took some pictures of the train from the dome.





As we continued to go through the New River Gorge, our guide pointed out a cable car line which unsuccessfully tried to photograph. A little while later, we passed under a bridge which was high above us. I had heard from my friend Bill that in the early 90ís a commercial for a Chevy SUV was filmed there where the SUV bungee jumped off the bridge! I actually have that commercial on tape still as it was on a program I had taped from A&E back in 1992-1993. I took some photos of the bridge.





††††††††††† The train passed through a tunnel. I also took a couple more pictures of the train as we went around more curves.




††††††††††† The train made stops in Montgomery, Thurmond, Prince and Hinton. After we left Hinton, we left the New River Gorge.


††††††††††† The train passed through Alderson and stopped at White Sulphur Springs. The station was already decorated for Christmas and had been branded the Christmas Depot! The tour group that boarded at Huntington got off at White Sulphur Springs. I wanted to get out and take photos, but the conductor said no, even though it was a large tour group. However, others including Dan managed to get off and take photos. The train departed a few minutes later once everyone got back on.


††††††††††† At one point, I showed Dan the photos I took on my Dallas trip. When he saw my picture of former Amtrak Slumbercoach #2090 at the Museum of the American Railroad, he said he had ridden in that car while it was still in service with Amtrak!


††††††††††† A little while later, we stopped at Clifton Forge. I saw an operating turntable which I photographed just before arrival at the station.



††††††††††† After we departed Clifton Forge, I filmed the yard where the C&O Historical Society keeps their equipment. A little while later, I was talking with one of the other railfans who mentioned the Cardinal used to be known as the James Whitcomb Riley until Amtrak renamed it the Cardinal. I mentioned that if the train was still called the James Whitcomb Riley, that we might not be here because the Cardinal was threatened with being cut in the mid 1990ís, but was saved by states whose state bird is the cardinal.


††††††††††† Meanwhile Dan was speaking with other railfans on the train plus some people from the private cars. He heard that the private cars were going all the way to New York. The charter with the private cars had been booked months before and when Amtrak decided to run the dome car; they tried to cancel the charter without success. The dome canít go north of Washington DC because of clearance issues so there would have to be some switching in Washington!


††††††††††† I went to the diner-lounge for lunch. I then returned to the dome. The train stopped at Staunton. The westbound Cardinal passed us. I photographed it and thought I filmed it, but I turned out I didnít.



††††††††††† A little while later, we stopped at Charlottesville, Virginia. This was the end of new mileage for me as I had ridden between Charlottesville and Baltimore on the Crescent back in May. Charlottesville was a smoke stop which I used to take some pictures of the train and the connecting bus to Richmond.




††††††††††† Meanwhile the train was moved a couple coach lengths forwards. I filmed the move and took more pictures.




††††††††††† I then got back on the train. There were a lot of people boarding at Charlottesville. Once everyone had boarded, the train left. The train stopped at Culpepper and Manassas. Manassas was the last stop where people were allowed to board the New York bound Cardinal. From this point on, people would be disembarking.


††††††††††† Between Manassas and Alexandria, I filmed an Amtrak Regional pass us. The Amtrak crew announced that the dome would be closing at Alexandria. So as we approached Alexandria, I left the dome and returned to my seat. The train stopped in Alexandria and soon departed. I noticed Dan speaking to a woman from Israel.


††††††††††† Soon, the train entered the tunnel south of Washington Union station. We soon arrived at Washington. The diesels would be replaced with an electric locomotive and the dome would be removed from the train. As we pulled into the station, I saw the southbound Crescent. This was a smoke stop which I used to take some photos. First, I walked to the front of the train and photographed the locomotives.



††††††††††† Next, I walked towards the rear and photographed the dome car and private cars. I also photographed former crew dorm cars on a nearby track.








††††††††††† Meanwhile a switch engine came up and coupled to the rear of Hickory Creek.



††††††††††† I then wandered to the front of the train and took another photo.



††††††††††† I then returned to where the dome was and watched it get uncoupled. I took another photo.



††††††††††† I returned to the locomotives and saw the diesels had been removed and replaced by HHP-8 #658. I photographed it.



††††††††††† I then returned to the last Amfleet 2 coach and saw the private cars being moved to couple up to the train. I photographed the private cars then filmed the coupling move.



††††††††††† I then got back on the train. I saw the Silver Meteor pull in. Soon, the HEP was restored. The train left a few minutes later. I readied myself to get off in Baltimore. I said goodbye to Dan. He asked me how I was getting to my hotel. I was staying at a hotel near the airport. I told him I would either take an Amtrak Regional or a MARC train or the light rail. However, it was a Sunday and there were no MARC trains. Dan suggested I ride the light rail to the airport.


††††††††††† In no time, we were approaching Baltimore. We arrived 39 minutes late. I got off and took some photos.




††††††††††† I went upstairs and filmed the train departing. I saw a Regional was due shortly, but I didnít think I had enough time to buy a ticket. There was another regional coming in at 8:18 pm. I then got dinner from a donut store that was just about to close. I went to catch the light rail. I just missed a train as I bought my ticket. I knew I would have to switch trains to get to the airport. When the next train arrived, I photographed it.



††††††††††† The train left after several long minutes. I got off a couple stations later thinking a train would take me to the airport. A few trains came, but they werenít going to the airport. I photographed one.



††††††††††† When the next train arrived which was also short turning at Camden Yards, I asked the driver when the next train to the airport arrived. She said there were no more trains to the airport. I pondered what to do next. I flagged down a cab, but the driver said he was on his way to a call.


††††††††††† I then called the number on the cab. However, they needed a street address or a landmark; not an intersection where I was at. This was almost as bad as the taxi company in Cleveland that made me miss the Lakeshore Limited! However there was a performing arts centre nearby and I told them to meet me there.


††††††††††† A few minutes later, a taxi showed up, but he turned around and stopped nowhere near where I was standing and I had to walk a couple blocks to the cab. After I got in, I told him to take me to my hotel. However, I had to tell him THREE TIMES where I was staying but I eventually got there.


††††††††††† If I had known this would happen, I would have bought a ticket for the 8:18 Regional. All and all, it took 1-2 hours between when I got off the Cardinal to when I arrived at my hotel. At least Iíll know for next time.


††††††††††† I then checked in and reserved time on the 8:30 shuttle to the airport. I then went to my room and phoned home. Even though I sent my mom my itinerary, she didnít realize how long I would be on the Cardinal; over 24 hours! I got something from a vending machine and went back to my room to relax. I watched a 2006 documentary on American Airlines. I eventually called it a night after asking for a wake-up call at 7:30 am.


November 1, 2010:


††††††††††† I got up and got dressed. I went to the lobby and had breakfast. After I went back upstairs and finished packing. I went downstairs and checked out. I waited for the 8:30 am shuttle to take me to the airport. The shuttle arrived a couple minutes late. There was someone else getting on with me. However they were going to the light rail station instead of the airport. He was dropped off first and then I was dropped off. The first thing I noticed was the check in area for Southwest Airlines was outside the terminal! I could understand it this was in Florida, but not in Baltimore! I lined up and checked my suitcase. I then went inside the warm terminal. I saw the line up for security was very long. However, there was a second security checkpoint with a not quite so long line.


††††††††††† I had no problems going through Security. I then bought some snacks for the plane and went to my gate and waited. When the plane arrived at my gate, I photographed it.



††††††††††† When I booked my ticket, with all the taxes included, my fare came to $59.70. I chose to pay an additional $10 for the ďearly bird check inĒ which got me on the plane sooner. If you read my Dayton-North Carolina trip, youíd know Southwest does not assign seats.


††††††††††† When the plane began boarding, I got a window seat in the 6th row. The plane was pretty full. The plane left on time. As we taxied to the runway, I took some photos.




††††††††††† As the plane took off, I filmed it. The flight was 65 minutes gate to gate. The flight was uneventful.


††††††††††† Soon, we were approaching Buffalo. I saw a rail yard from the plane. I filmed the landing. We got off the runway and taxied to the terminal. I heard the pilot announce the plane would be continuing on to Phoenix and that leg would also be full.


††††††††††† We were soon at the gate. We had arrived a few minutes early. When I got off the plane, I took a photo.



††††††††††† Buffalo is a small airport however it does have jetways to the planes. I began to make my way to the baggage claim. I saw a Jetblue plane, but it was pushed back before I could photograph it.


††††††††††† Further showing that Buffalo is a small airport, there are only three baggage claim conveyor belts. The luggage on my flight was on the left most one. My suitcase was about the 10th to emerge.


††††††††††† I then went out and got a taxi. I knew I had a few hours before the Maple Leaf was to depart. I had the taxi take me to the Niagara Central hobby shop. I paid the driver and went inside. After looking around for several minutes, I bought a model of a Kansas City Southern SD40-2. I left and photographed the caboose which had lost its Erie lettering.



††††††††††† I then walked a couple blocks and had lunch at a restaurant. After lunch, I caught a bus to the intersection of Walden Avenue and Dick Road. I walked to Buffalo Depew station.


††††††††††† By the time I had gotten there, the New York bound Maple Leaf had left. I called Julie to find out when the Maple Leaf was due into Buffalo-Depew and four it was on time. I went out onto the platform and photographed a CSX freight led by a BNSF locomotive and trailed by a Norfolk Southern locomotive.




Yes, this is actually a CSX freight train!




††††††††††† The train stopped with its last car just past the bridge over Dick Road. Meanwhile, I photographed another CSX freight train.




††††††††††††††††††††††† About 30 minutes later, I went outside the station again and photographed another freight creeping up behind the first freight train I photographed when I got to Depew. It has a CP SD40-2 being bracketed by two DM&E SD40-2s. I photographed it as it crept to a stop.






††††††††††† Meanwhile, I saw some other railfans at the west end of the station photographing the train as well.


††††††††††† I saw the crew get out of the locomotive. I guess they were doing a crew change there as well. The crew talked with the other railfans.


††††††††††† A few minutes later, the first train started moving. A little while later, the train with the DM&E and CP SD40-2s left. Meanwhile, Amtrak train 63 arrived 56 minutes late. As it pulled into the station, I filmed it.



††††††††††† I was seated in Amfleet 1 coach #82748. The train soon left. The crew started passing out forms for customs. However, they didnít take my ticket or give me a form.


††††††††††† The train stopped at Buffalo Exchange Street station. I then went to seek out the crew and told them that they hadnít taken my ticket yet or gave me a form for customs. They soon took my ticket, but I still didnít get a form! I went searching, but eventually got one in the cafť car and filled it out prior to stopping at Niagara Falls New York.


††††††††††† Niagara Falls, New York was a smoke stop. I used it to take some photos of the train.






††††††††††† I got back on the train and we soon departed. I was wondering I would have to get off the train to clear customs like on my Washington-Lancaster trip or if agents would come on the train like on previous trips on the Maple Leaf.


††††††††††† When we crossed the border into Canada and stopped at Niagara Falls, Ontario. Eventually customs agents came on board and we didnít have to get off like last time. The agent who interviewed me was okay. A little while later, the train departed as VIA train 98. I called home and let my mom know I was back in Canada.


††††††††††† The bridge over the Welland Canal was down. We stopped in St. Catherines. After we left, I went to the cafť car for dinner. I ate it at my seat. By now, it was dark.


††††††††††† The train stopped in Grimsby. VIA train 95 passed.


††††††††††† The train stopped at Aldershot and Oakville. Soon, we were approaching Toronto. The train arrived 18 minutes late. I got off and took some photos.






††††††††††† I went downstairs and phoned home. I let my mom know I was back in Toronto. I then got onto the subway and rode to Finch. My mom showed up shortly after I got there. I then headed home.




††††††††††† Aside from the two hours in Baltimore after I got off the Cardinal, my trip was very enjoyable. It was nice to ride in the Great Dome again; this time, the forward view was not obstructed. It was also nice to meet all those railfans and see Dan again; this time on a train!


††††††††††† As per always, Chicago was a good place to visit though I wish I could have ridden a PACE Orion 1 and Classic as well as photograph one of Metraís two remaining F40C locomotives. I was glad to see Greg and Karl again.


††††††††††† Iím glad I rode the dome when I did because a few days later, when the dome was being moved into position an empty MARC commuter train collided with the switcher causing the MARC train to derail! As a result, the dome didnít go west on the Cardinal. I


I donít know if the dome will run on the Cardinal next year because I heard the train may become a daily Superliner equipped train. As for me, Iím done traveling for the year. Iíve got a couple trips planned for 2011. Until next timeÖ


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