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Dallas Trip:

Dallas Trip:




            Despite all that went wrong on my Arizona Trip, I still managed to achieve my primary goal of visiting the two former Toronto PCCs down in Tucson and Phoenix which left me with two more PCCs to visit. The last two cars were owned by the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority in Dallas Texas, but stored in the DART LRT yard which made me dubious of when I’d be able to see them.


            However, while I was planning my Arizona trip, my friend Greg had suggested that I could ask if it was possible to see the cars in the DART yard, (as well as to fly to/from Arizona!) On my Arizona trip, when I was being bused from San Antonio to Dallas to try to meet up with the Texas Eagle, I thought that if we didn’t make it, I could try to see the PCCs then. However, I made the connection to the Eagle and I decided to wait.


            I finally decided to go to Dallas in January of 2009. I planned my trip around the schedule of the Texas Eagle as to prevent coming home the day it connected with the Sunset Limited. However, Air Canada was having a seat sale which saved more than $20.00 one way, so I decided to fly home and save some money. My final plan was to ride the Maple Leaf to Syracuse and connect to the Lakeshore Limited there. I would ride the Lakeshore Limited to Chicago and transfer to the Texas Eagle. I would spend four nights in Dallas before flying home. This trip started the same day as an important event in U.S./world history: The inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African-American to be elected president of the United States.


January 20, 2009:


            I got to Finch at 7:15 am and got on the subway. I boarded an H-5 train. When I got to Union, I attempted to film the train departing, but two TTC special {stupid} constables said not to because the flash blinds the drivers. I tried to tell them that I wasn’t and they said I needed a permit and wouldn’t listen otherwise. This is because:


1.                              I was not using the flash on my camera.


2.                              I was filming a video.


3.                              TTC rule 16b clearly states that a permit is needed only for COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY. It says nothing about private photography. If they had changed it, you would think the TTC would have updated their by-laws considering they updated the subway maps after extensions of the subway opened in short order.


Still peeved from my encounter with the TTC stupid constables, I headed up to Union station to await the boarding of the Maple Leaf.


            Soon, boarding commenced. I was seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25113, 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. I also noticed a lot of stored GO Transit F59PH’s in GO Transit’s Willowbrook yard.


            Just like on my Boston trip, 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. When we arrived into Niagara Falls, I saw two Niagara Transit Classics parked in the back of the yard. One of them was 8372.  I did not take any photos of them.


            The train departed and crossed into the United States. At Niagara Falls New York, customs came 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.


            Soon the inspection was finished. However we weren’t allowed onto the platform. From the train, I photographed Amtrak P42 #189 parked by itself on a side track.



            For the first time since my Arizona trip, the Maple Leaf left Niagara Falls New York on time! I went to the café car for lunch.  We stopped at Buffalo-Exchange Street station.


            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 in 2008 that I saw a train with a caboose. I also filmed four brand new Metro North locomotives in the yard. I also caught a glimpse of some Metro North commuter coaches in the yard.


            The train then stopped at Buffalo Depew station. Outside of Rochester station, we stopped to let Amtrak train 63 pass. As it passed, I filmed it. We soon stopped at Rochester. After we left, I looked for evidence of the derailed freight cars that delayed my friend Bill’s Maple Leaf two weeks earlier. Not too surprisingly, I didn’t see any.


            As we approached Syracuse, I filmed some heavyweight coaches and two E-units painted in Erie Lackawanna colours. Outside of the station, we stopped to let train 281 pass. I filmed it passing. 


            We arrived into Syracuse 26 minutes late, but that wasn’t the half of it. First, the conductor tried opening the door on our coach, but it didn’t open. Next, he tried to open the door on Amfleet 2 coach # 25051 in front of us, and again it wouldn’t open! The conductor remarked, “Amtrak, unsafe at any speed!”


            The conductor was finally able to open the door on the first coach which was Amfleet 1 Capstone rebuild car #82728 and I got off. I then walked to the end of the platform and photographed the train.



            The train soon departed. As it departed, I filmed it pulling out. I then took a picture of the rear of the train with a lot of snow that had accumulated on the rear of the last coach.



            I then went inside the station and phoned home. I then took a bus to the Carousel Center mall. When I got there, I photographed the bus.



            I went inside the mall and looked around for awhile. I eventually bought dinner. After awhile, I decided to go back to the Amtrak station. I caught a bus back there and shortly after I returned, I saw Amtrak train #283 pull in led by P32AC-DM #701. I have seen the unit on a number of previous trips. I took some photos of train 283.



            I then headed up to the platform and took some more pictures of train 283.




            Just to the west of the station was a broken down freight train. As a result train 283 had to back out of the station and switch over to depart. I filmed the train backing out and took a photo of the engine.



            Train 283 raced past a few minutes later. I went back inside and called Julie. First, I found out the Lakeshore Limited was 19 minutes late. 19 minutes late soon became 39 minutes late. Next, the train was 45 minutes late.


While I was waiting, I watched the TVs in the station covering the inauguration of Barack Obama. The Lakeshore Limited finally arrived 72 minutes late. When it arrived, I photographed the train.





            I was seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25083, another refurbished coach. My ticket was soon taken and we eventually backed out as the stalled freight train was still there. I decided to walk the train to find my friend Bill who I had first met on the Lakeshore Limited in 2005 returning home from Chicago after riding the Three Rivers. I had to walk five cars back to find Bill as the Lakeshore once again splits at Albany to go to Boston and New York.


            When I found Bill, I sat down and caught up with him from the last two weeks and told him that the H-4 and H-5 subway trains in Toronto may have been given a brief reprieve as the new trains are now to arrive in 2010.


            Seated across from us was a woman who kept belching every 10 or so seconds. I eventually dubbed her “Belchy”. After awhile, I decided to go back to my coach to get some rest and to avoid “Belchy”. I pulled out the blanket I bought on the Three Rivers back in 2005 and tried to get some rest.


January 21, 2009:


            I woke up as we stopped at Buffalo-Depew station. We left shortly thereafter. Soon, we were racing down the line. The coach was bouncy and shaky; almost like I was riding in an Ontario Northland ex GO coach on the Northlander instead of an Amfleet 2 coach. At times, it seemed like the train had either hit something or the coach was on the verge of derailing. I did manage to get partially back to sleep.


            A little while later, we stopped in Cleveland. I only saw one taxi which was not from Yellow Cab, (the company I used on my Cleveland Make-up trip) or the taxi company that made me miss the Lakeshore Limited on my Washington-Cleveland trip. Cleveland was a smoking stop, so I stepped off and took some photos of the train.




            I got back on the train and we soon departed. I laid down for awhile until we were arriving into Toledo where I once again photographed the train.




            I got back on the train and laid down for a little while after we left. I then changed and went to breakfast in the diner-lite car six cars back. I had the continental breakfast and the cereal came with a bowl as it should.


            After I paid for my meal, I went back to my seat. The train stopped at Bryan, Ohio and Waterloo, Indiana. By now, Bill was awake and I went over to see him. Belchy was still on the train, but asleep. As we approached Elkhart, I managed to film part of the New York Central Museum before a freight train got in my shot.


            Bill and I told train stories. I told him how when I was in the third grade, my family had gone to Dearborn, Michigan for a weekend and I got a penny that had been run over by a Chicago bound Amtrak train and a few days later, I brought it to school for show and tell! I also told him about how when I was in high school, some of us would walk to a nearby Wendy’s for lunch which was right near the CN main line. Sometimes, other people would throw their garbage at passing freight trains and one time, someone from my school actually climbed on top of a covered hopper car on a stopped train and threw something inside the car!


            The train stopped at South Bend, Indiana. Soon, we were approaching Chicago. We passed a local freight with a caboose on the end. “Belchy” was now awake and said what sounded like a prayer, then started burping again every few seconds. I then attempted to go back to my coach, but I thought I was blocked at the café car, so I got the conductor who got me back to my coach.


            Instead of fronting into Chicago like I had done the last three times I rode train 49 into Chicago, the train was wyed and backed into the station. The last train that was wyed as it entered Chicago was the Three Rivers!


            As we passed by Amtrak’s 14th Street Yard, I filmed it. I even saw a Pacific Surfliner coach in the yard! This is especially rare to see in Chicago as they run in southwestern California!


            With the backup move, train 49 arrived into Chicago one hour late. I got off and took some photos of the train.





            I also photographed a train consisting of a P42, A Superliner transition car, a Superliner sleeping car, a Superliner diner-lounge, and two Superliner coaches including a coach-baggage. I thought it was the City of New Orleans as this is what the train looks like.






            I then went into the station and stored my belongings in a locker. I then went out to do a little bit of transit riding in Chicago before boarding the Texas Eagle. I figured this may be my last chance to ride the 2200 series el cars in Chicago. I walked over to the Clinton station. I bought a ticket and I saw Bill was also there. I then went down to the platform expecting to see Bill in a few hours time.


            For my brief ride, I decided to cover some new trackage I haven’t covered on the El. I boarded a Forest Park Blue line train. When the train arrived, I saw there was a set of 2200s as the 3rd and 4th cars. I photographed the 2200s.



            I rode to the El station named Western and got off and photographed the 2200s.



            I filmed the train departing and waited for a train to take me back to Clinton. A few minutes later, a train arrived with another set of 2200 series El cars which I photographed.



            I rode back to Clinton and filmed the train pulling out. I then headed back to Union station and retrieved my bags from the locker. I phoned home then bought lunch at McDonalds in the station. I then bought a donut from Krispy Kreme.


            I then went to a vending machine to buy a bottle of Pepsi. I ended up getting two bottles for the price of one! That would be enough to last me the whole trip on the Texas Eagle!


            Meanwhile, I called my friend Greg. Greg was a bit surprised to hear from me. I told him about my ride and that I was going to Dallas to visit the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority. He told me that two members of MATA are also members of the Illinois Railway Museum where Greg is a motorman. I also told him of my ride on the Blue line.


            After I was done with Greg, I called Karl to say hello.


            A little while later, it was time to board. I was seated in Superliner 1 coach-baggage car #31036, a refurbished coach even though it was in the Phase 4 paint scheme. I noticed that this was the same train I saw after I got off the Lakeshore limited. I was disappointed because there was no sightseer lounge car (which the train usually runs with as well as a diner-lounge).


            The train was pretty full and I got a seatmate. Fortunately, my seatmate wasn’t fat like my seatmate on the Capitol Limited on my Washington-Cleveland trip. My seatmate was also getting off in a few hours time which was no big deal.


            The Texas Eagle departed on time. I filmed Amtrak’s 14th Street yard as we passed. A few minutes later, we stopped to let the inbound Texas Eagle pass. I noticed Bill wasn’t on board. The train stopped at Joliet. After we left, I looked through the two coaches for Bill, but didn’t see him. I determined he must have missed the train. He hasn’t had much luck as he had missed the Maple Leaf just over two weeks earlier even though that wasn’t his fault.


            The train stopped at Pontiac and Bloomington-Normal. My seatmate got off at Bloomington-Normal. I would not get another seatmate for the rest of the trip. I then got a snack from the Cross Country Café (which is what Amtrak calls the Diner-Lounge Superliner cars).


            The train stopped at Lincoln and Springfield. The train was running early, so people were allowed to step off at Springfield. I used the time to take some photos of the train.




            After we left, I headed to the Cross Country café for dinner. Dinner was pretty expensive. While I was having dinner, I got a call on my cell phone from a telemarketer who said the warranty on my vehicle was about to expire. I had once got a similar call at home and when they wouldn’t say which vehicle, I told them off! I hung up right away this time.


 I took some interior shots of the car before I returned to my seat. The sun went down. We stopped in Alton.


            Outside of St. Louis, we stopped to let a freight train pass. We were underway again and I took some photos of the arch.



            Since my Arizona trip, a new train station had been built in St. Louis. We arrived early and St. Louis was a smoke stop. I used the opportunity to photograph the train.




            I also photographed Amtrak equipment parked nearby.



            After awhile, the train departed. Just past the station, we stopped to refuel the locomotive. Why they couldn’t do it at the station, I don’t know. I also noticed a Horizon fleet coach parked on the track next to us.


            We soon were underway, though we were traveling slowly. The diner-lounge reopened and I bought some milk before I called it a night.


January 22, 2009:


            I got up shortly before Texarkana. I was wondering if I would see that woman who I had an argument with on my Arizona trip about who was responsible for the eastbound Sunset Limited running 12 hours late as she was traveling to Texarkana. After we left, I walked the train and determined she was not on board.


            We were running early and we stopped at Marshal while I went to breakfast in the Diner-Lounge. After we finally left, we soon stopped at Longview where we had a smoke stop. I used the chance to photograph the train.




            While we were at Longview, an Amtrak employee remarked that the Texas Eagle was getting shorter and shorter all the time. I was still disappointed we didn’t have a sightseer lounge.


            I got back on the train and we soon left. We stopped in Mineola. We soon departed and a little while later, the Amtrak crew announced we were 40 minutes away from Dallas.


            Soon, we were approaching Dallas, I got my stuff together prior to arrival. The Texas Eagle arrived an amazing 42 minutes EARLY! I got off the train and photographed it.



            It was warm in Dallas; feeling like spring in Toronto. I went inside Union station to try to buy a weekly pass for DART. I found out I had to go to Akard station to buy a weekly pass. I bought a one use ticket, but boarded a DART train going the wrong way. I got off and rode to Akard station where I bought a weekly pass that allowed unlimited rides on DART as well as the Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter trains. I then rode one stop on the LRT to the West End station to pick up a bus on route 44 to my hotel.


            When my bus arrived, I ended up missing my stop and got off and rode back, much to my annoyance. I soon got to my stop and walked three blocks to my hotel. I then checked in and dropped my stuff off in my room. I then phoned home. I also phoned John Landrum of the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority to arrange getting access to the Toronto PCCs. We decided to meet at MATA’s carbarn the following day at 2:00 pm.


            I then walked back to the bus stop and caught a bus back downtown. I got off at a hospital which is near the TRE’s Medical Center station. I had to wander through the hospital, and by the time I got to the TRE station, I just missed a train being pushed by F59Phi #569. I decided to wait for the next one.



            The Trinity Railway Express runs with both bi-level commuter trains led by either an ex GO Transit F59PH or one of TRE’s F59PHis. TRE has four F59PH’s which GO Transit sold to them in the early to mid 1990s after budget cuts gave them a surplus of units. The units are the last four F59’s GO bought. Why GO didn’t sell the four oldest units, I don’t know.


            TRE also runs a fleet of RDCs. The cars are ex VIA and run mostly during rush hour. I wanted to ride both types of equipment, especially the ex Canadian equipment.


            While I was waiting for the next eastbound train, I photographed a freight train as it came through.




            My train arrived a little while later. I photographed it pulling in. It was being pushed by TRE’s other F59Phi #570.



            I rode the train to Union station and then caught a DART light rail train to 8th & Corinth station and the back to West End station. I then caught a route 44 bus east as it went on a bridge over the DART rail yard. I got off after the bridge and walked onto it to see if I could get a glimpse of the two ex Toronto PCCs, and sure enough, I did. I walked over to try to get a closer look without trespassing. I managed to get somewhat close and took a photo.



            I then caught a bus back downtown. I had dinner at McDonald’s. I then caught a Dart train to Cedars station to wait for a 26 bus back to my hotel, but found it wasn’t due for awhile. I then photographed a DART train.



            Dart has a fleet of articulated light rail vehicles that they are in the process of extending the length by the addition of a centre section. The extended cars are called “Super LRVs”. Throughout my visit to Dallas, I would ride Super and non-super LRVs.


            DART currently runs two light rail lines: The red line and the blue line. Whenever there’s a special event at the American Airlines Centre, they run trains to there as well. Right now, DART is working on building two new lines: The green line and the orange line. Construction on the Green line was progressing well and is due to open in the next year or so.


            I then rode back to West End station and eventually caught a route 44 bus back to my hotel. I soon called it a night.


Click here for part 2:  Dallas trip part 2