Farewell to the 2200 series El cars:
If you read my previous trip reports, then you’ll have noticed that with the exception of my Arizona Trip, whenever I was in Chicago, I made an effort to ride some of CTA’s 2200 series El cars; the oldest cars in the fleet.
When I was in Chicago in July of 2012, a number of 2200s had been retired though there were still quite a number in service. However, the retirements continued.
In spring of 2013, the Illinois Railway Museum advertised the final charter of the 2200 series El cars which were to be withdrawn in the summer. I had thought about attending a farewell charter to the 2200s and this would be my last chance.
On my previous trip, I had received another Jetblue travel credit worth $30 as a result of the airline got getting my suitcase onto my connecting flight. I later got a $100 gift card for Jetblue as well. I initially planned to use both to fly from New York to Chicago direct, but I found that Jetblue would not let me use both if the cost of the ticket was more than $130. I ended up working around it by booking two flights; one with the voucher and one with the gift card.
My plan was to leave Toronto on the Maple Leaf the Tuesday before the charter and ride to Buffalo. I would then fly Jetblue to Boston and overnight there. The next day, I would fly to Chicago. I would stay in Chicago until the day of the charter with one day dedicated to visit Kenosha again. Following the charter, I would take the Lakeshore Limited back to Buffalo and then transfer to the Maple Leaf back to Toronto. This would be my first trip since the April 15 Boston Marathon Bombings and a foiled terrorist plot that would have attacked the Maple Leaf. The trip unfolded as follows.
May 28, 2013:
I got to Union station at 7:18 am, 62 minutes before the Maple Leaf was scheduled to depart. I wandered around Union station for a few minutes and bought a bottle of fruit punch before I wandered over to a door on the west side of the station and photographed the Maple Leaf awaiting boarding.
I then lined up to board. Boarding began at 8:02 am. I was seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25020. The train departed on time.
Shortly after we left, we passed the combined trains 56 and 54 but I was unable to film it. My ticket was taken and the cafe car opened less than 10 minutes after we left Toronto. As we passed VIA's Toronto Maintenance Center, I filmed it. There wasn't much in the yard.
We stopped at Oakville. We departed a few minutes later. I went to the cafe car for a snack. We stopped at Aldershot. Less than a minute later, we departed. I guess no one got on there. We stopped at Grimsby. After we left Grimsby, I was given a form to fill out for Customs. After I filled it out, the train stopped for a few minutes before we moved forward and then stopped again.
We eventually stopped at St. Catherines. After we departed, we crossed over the Welland Canal. I played Plants vs. Zombies. The train stopped at Niagara Falls, Ontario. The train made a double stop. We then departed and crossed into the United States. The Amtrak crew made an announcement that the train would be pretty full. I gained a seatmate. We ran past the Niagara Falls, New York train station and then backed in.
After a few minutes, U.S. Customs agents came on and told everyone to bring all their personal belongings and we'd be processed in the station. This was the first time I was made to get off the train going into the U.S. Since I've been made to get off the train returning to Canada in the past.
When I was processed, the agent was nice and not anal. After, I handed the customs declaration form to an agent and got back on the train. Eventually, the inspection was finished. We were allowed to step off the train. I did and took some photos.
I then got back on the train. The train departed Niagara Falls, New York on time. My ticket was taken. I had lost my seatmate, but the conductor said the train would be full.
I went to the cafe car for lunch. I ate my lunch at my seat. The train stopped at Buffalo Exchange Street. We soon departed. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off at Buffalo Depew.
The Maple Leaf arrived into Buffalo Depew on time. I got off and photographed the train.
I filmed the train departing and took one last photo.
I then phoned for a taxi which took me to Buffalo's airport. I checked in and dropped off my suitcase. I then cleared security. I logged into the airport's Wi-Fi and played Plants vs. Zombies until my plane arrived. I photographed it before I got on.
I had a window seat on the left hand side of the plane. From my seat, I photographed a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 in a retro livery.
The plane left the gate on time. I filmed the takeoff roll. I watched TV on the plane and played Plants vs. Zombies some more. I got a Coke and some chips from a flight attendant. We were soon approaching Boston; I filmed the landing and photographed various planes as we taxied to the gate.
The plane had arrived 10 minutes early! If that had happened last October, I wouldn't be in this mess! I photographed the plane before I went to claim my baggage.
It took awhile for my suitcase to appear, but it made it this time! Again, had my suitcase made it to Washington two months ago, I wouldn't be here!
I phoned home and let my dad know both my suitcase and I were in Boston on time. I then took a shuttle bus to the blue line and rode a blue line train to State Street where I transferred to the orange line. I then rode the orange line to North Station and photographed the train before I walked to the hostel I was staying at for the night.
After checking in and dropping off my stuff, I returned to North Station and caught a green line train to Park Street where I caught a red line train east. It was heading for Braintree; where I didn't want to go, so I got off at J.F.K U Mass, where I bought a bottle of Diet Pepsi because I was thirsty. I then took a train to Ashmont. I was going to ride the Mattapan line again. Shortly after I got there, PCC #3260 showed up. I photographed it before I got on.
The PCC departed Ashmont and along the way, we passed PCC #3087, the oldest car in service on the line. When I got to Mattapan, I photographed #3260 and filmed it going around the loop.
I saw that two PCCs were stored missing parts; #3265 which was stored the last two times I was in Boston, and #3234. I photographed the cars and filmed #3260 pulling out on its return trip to Ashmont.
I waited for PCC #3087 to come. When it did, I photographed it and filmed it going around the loop.
I rode #3087 back to Ashmont and photographed it before I filmed it departing.
It was mostly dark, so I boarded a red line train and rode to South Station where I bought dinner. I then got back on the red line and rode to Downtown Crossing. I rode the orange line to State Street. I was hoping to ride the blue line to Bowdoin, but like last October, the train went out of service at Government Center. I photographed the train, but the picture turned out blurry.
I then transferred to the green line and rode a train to Boylston and filmed the train pulling out. I then went outside. I knew that the Boston bombings happened on Boylston Avenue and wasn't sure if this was where it happened. I then went back into the station and photographed the historic cars on display.
I then rode a green line train one stop north to Park Street and photographed a Type 7 car still in the old livery.
I then transferred to the red line and rode to Downtown Crossing where I filmed the train pulling out. I rode the orange line to Back Bay and walked over to a 7-11 across from where I had stayed the first time I visited Boston. I bought some cereal and milk and went back to the station. I rode the orange line to North Station and filmed the train pulling out. I walked back to my hostel and worked on this report for a few minutes. I set the alarm on my phone and called it a night.
May 29, 2013:
I was barely able to get some sleep. I got up around 6:40 and got dressed. I ate the cereal I bought the night before for breakfast. I then finished packing and checked out. I walked to the station and for the first time, I bought a single fare to ride the subway. I rode an orange line train to State Street. I then transferred to the Blue line and rode to the airport. I photographed the train.
I had a friendly conversation with the driver before I filmed the train pulling out. I then caught a shuttle bus to the airport. I got to the terminal and photographed the shuttle bus.
I then checked in. I cleared security with no problems and went to my gate. I had over two hours to kill so I could have ridden the blue line to Bowdoin.
While I was at the airport, I had a 10 minute massage and logged into the airport's Wi-Fi. I went onto Facebook and wished my friend Greg in Chicago a happy birthday. I then went back to waiting. When my plane arrived at the gate, I photographed it. Once again, it was an Embraer 190.
Boarding began a little more than an hour later. The plane departed on time and I photographed a Sun Country Boeing 737.
I filmed the takeoff run. I spent the flight watching the satellite TV. At one point, we were flying over Hamilton, Ontario. We were soon west of Sarnia.
We started our decent into Chicago O'Hare airport. As we descended through the clouds, I could see we were over Lake Michigan. We soon were over land. I filmed the landing and photographed various planes after we got off the runway.
The plane arrived into Chicago 30 minutes early. We arrived at the gate and got off. I took one more photo of the plane.
I then went to the baggage claim to retrieve my suitcase. My suitcase was one of the first. My saga with Jetblue appears to be over! I then went to the CTA station and bought a weekly pass. I saw the next train to leave consisted of all 2600 series El cars. I saw another train out of service with some 2200s. I photographed the 2200s.
I boarded the front car and rode the train to Rosemont. I then transferred to PACE route 332. While waiting for my bus, I photographed some Orion 6s and some more 2200s.
When my bus came, I got on. It took over an hour, but I arrived at the Oakbrook Center which according to the hotel was 0.1 miles away. However, I difficulty finding my hotel but after a really long time, I eventually made it there.
I was staying at a Hilton Garden Inn. One of my friends in Chicago was able to get me a good rate. I will not say who because he doesn't want others asking him to do the same.
I got to my room and discovered that I had left my cell phone charger at home! My cell phone's battery was dying too. I walked back to the mall and was able to find something to use to charge my phone. I also bought a DVD and dinner at the mall before I returned to the hotel. I charged my cell phone and worked on this report some more. At one point, I went for a swim in the pool. After, I phoned Greg and left him a message since he didn't answer.
A little while later, my friend Karl phoned. I told him my plans. He gave me an idea for the next few days concerning my hotel's location. I knew he would be on the charter on Sunday. He did say he might be available on Saturday. After, I continued to work on this report and watched the DVD I bought. I called it a night.
May 30, 2013:
I got up and got dressed. I went downstairs for breakfast. After breakfast, I went back to my room and worked on this report some more. I then went to the front desk and asked if there was a shuttle. I was told there was a shuttle that could take me anywhere within a 5 mile radius. The El was more than 5 miles from the hotel, but it could take me to a Metra station. However, it would be a tight connection to the train when the shuttle got there. On the way to the Metra station, I caught a glimpse of a 2200 series El car on a flatbed trailer! Unfortunately, I was unable to photograph it. Most likely, the car was heading for scrap. The Illinois Railway Museum plans to acquire a set of 2200s and a set of 2400s, but that car was going the wrong way from IRM which is why I'm convinced it was going for scrap.
I made it to the Metra station in time for the 10:12 am train to Chicago. I bought a ticket and photographed some Union Pacific locomotives that passed through before my train.
When my train arrived, I photographed it.
I boarded the cab car and the train departed. We arrived into the Ogilvie Transportation Center about 12 minutes late. I photographed the train after I got off.
I then walked to the Clinton station on the green and pink lines and rode the next train to Clark and Lake. I noticed the green line was running all 5000 series El cars.
I rode to Clark and Lake and transferred to the blue line. I then rode to Grand station. I then transferred to the route 65 bus and rode by a Metra yard in an attempt to see the last two F40C locomotives, but I was unable to see them from the street. I then rode the bus to the red line.
CTA is doing track work on the red line. As a result, they are diverting red line trains onto the green line just past Roosevelt. I decided to ride the diversion as “rare mileage” since I'm not in Chicago a lot.
When the train arrived, I saw it consisted of 5000 series El cars. I was hoping to see some 2400s. I rode to 35-Bronzeville-ITT and photographed the train after I got off.
I then caught another red line train back to Roosevelt. I then walked to the Amtrak yard and photographed the equipment in the yard including the Pullman equipment that gets added to Amtrak's City of New Orleans two times per week.
I went into a CVS Pharmacy for a few minutes before I walked back to Roosevelt. Along the way, I photographed a Heritage dining car which was an ex CB&Q diner.
I then got to Roosevelt and boarded a red line train to Howard. At Howard, I saw a purple line train consisting of 2400 series El cars. I got on that train and rode to Davis where I filmed it leaving. I then got a drink from a Five Guys restaurant. I then got back on the El and photographed a train of 2400s as it pulled into the station.
I rode the train back to Howard and transferred to the Skokie Swift. I photographed the train when it pulled in.
The train departed and we passed a PACE bus garage where I saw some Orion 1s parked outside. As we passed the Skokie Shops, I filmed them. I noticed an El car which was damaged.
I got off at Skokie-Dempster where I photographed the train.
I waited around for a few minutes to see if a PACE Classic or Orion 1 would show up, but none did. I photographed the former North Shore right of way north of the station.
It started to rain so I got back on the Skokie line and rode back to Howard. I photographed some trains including the purple line train that would run express downtown.
I boarded the first car and the train departed. We eventually overtook two local red line trains before we stopped at Belmont. A few minutes later, we stopped at Chicago station and then departed. I saw on a nearby building a list of names of many people. One of the names was Rosa Parks. Unfortunately, I was unable to photograph it.
I got off at Clark and Lake and filmed the train pulling out. I went downstairs to the blue line. I was going to try to ride some 2200 series cars prior to the charter. I also phoned Greg in the off chance we could meet, but he had plans.
I waited for a few minutes but no 2200s showed up. I boarded a train to UIC-Halsted. Along the way, I my train passed a train with two 2200s in the consist. At UIC-Halsted, I got off and waited. A train with two 2200s in the consist arrived. I boarded the 2200 and rode to Monroe where I photographed the train and filmed it leaving.
I waited around for another train of 2200s which was going the same way as the last one. I rode that set of 2200s as well back to Clark and Lake where I photographed them and filmed them leaving.
I stuck around until a third train with 2200s arrived. This time, I rode to Chicago station and photographed them.
I waited for a train to go to Clinton. By chance, it had two sets of 2200s in the consist! Given the fact that 2200s are becoming rare, that was a surprising find. I rode the train to Clinton and filmed the train pulling out.
I then walked to Union station. I went to the Metra ticket counter and bought a ticket to Healy. I then bought dinner at McDonald's and went to await my train's departure. While waiting, I photographed Amtrak's Empire Builder which had come in from Seattle and Portland.
When the train pulled into the platform, I photographed it.
I then boarded the cab car and took a seat on the upper level on the right hand side of the train. When we departed, I filmed the Empire Builder. I then changed my camera's battery. As we passed the Metra yard, I filmed it. I was able to see the last two F40C locomotives.
When we arrived at Healy, I got off and photographed the train.
I then caught a bus to the green line. I boarded a Harlem bound train hoping I could meet the Metra back to Elmhurst. I just made to the Metra station in the nick of time. I photographed the train before I got on.
I rode to Elmhurst. As we passed Union Pacific’s Proviso Yard, I saw a train of M-8 commuter cars behind a Union Pacific diesel. I got off and saw a stopped Union Pacific intermodel train blocking the crossings. However, there was a pedestrian tunnel under the tracks which I used. I photographed a Chicago bound Metra train.
I phoned the hotel asking for a shuttle bus back to the hotel. I was told it would be there in 25 minutes. While waiting, I watched some trains. I noticed that Elmhurst installed a audio warning by the railway crossing that says “Danger, another train coming. Danger, another train coming” over and over until the crossing deactivates. I photographed a coal train as it came by.
The shuttle bus arrived at the other side of the line. I went through the pedestrian tunnel and got on. I arrived at the hotel a few minutes later. I worked on this report some more and went on the internet. I eventually called it a night.
Click here for part 2: