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June 4, 2016:

June 4, 2016:


            I got up at 5:55 am and got dressed. I went to the lobby for breakfast. There was a TV in the breakfast area. CNN was on and I learned that Muhammad Ali had died. After breakfast, I went back to my room and got my stuff together for the day.


            My taxi soon arrived and we headed to the Amtrak station where the steam train would board. It was less than 10 minutes to the station. We were told to be at the station an hour early because the train would be blocking three grade crossings in Manassas.


            The taxi dropped me off and I found a queue line for the #611. The train didn't arrive for awhile. When it did, I attempted to film the train pulling in. I then took some pictures.




            I was seated in dome car #511 which is named “Scenic View”. Scenic view is a former Santa Fe full length dome. At least it wasn't originally a Great Northern dome like the dome I rode in last year and Amtrak's last dome as I wanted a bit of variety.  #511 is painted in the old Illinois Central scheme and I believe is owned by Iowa Pacific.


            The car I rode last year was not part of the train but was in some of #611's earlier trips this year. The train backed out of the station then began heading up a line that doesn't see Amtrak trains. I photographed the train as it went around a corner.



            This year, the excursions were being run with the domes closer to the locomotive; obviously for a better view of the train.



            At one point, I saw some railfans pacing the train in a minivan. They actually had the sliding door open to film the train!




            The train rolled along. We passed by a strip mine. I attempted to photograph it.



            We then passed by a mall with a Super Target. I told people I was sitting with how in 2013, Target had taken over most Zeller's locations, but went out of business two years later. The train passed through a tunnel under the interstate.


            At one point, I went to the front of the dome and photographed and filmed the #611 as we went around curves.




            At one point, we saw a drone filming the train from above. Awhile ago, I won a drone which presently does not have a camera. I am still working on mastering the controls before I try to attach a camera to it.


            After a trip about 58 miles, we got to Front Royal. This was where the train was heading. Unlike last year, we would not be getting off. Instead, we were wyed and backed onto a bridge over the Shenandoah River. We also crossed another line. I took some photos during the wye move.









            The train departed and we headed back in the direction of Manassas. At various points, we passed railfans taking pictures of the train. I did not see the people with that minivan again.


            I went 9 cars back to the souvenir car and bought three postcards. I also bought a chocolate bar and a Coke. I returned to my car.


            Throughout the ride, I was served complimentary snacks. When the train passed through the tunnel under the interstate, I filmed it. I photographed the strip mine when we passed it again.



            At one point, we passed a Norfolk Southern freight. Soon, we were approaching Manassas again. The train actually ran past the station as it would back onto the closest platform track. North of town, we stopped. We had stopped to let a northbound Amtrak pass. I attempted to film it.


            Once the Amtrak was gone, the train backed into the station. I got off and photographed the train.







            I saw other people walking up to photograph #611. I decided to do the same. When I got to the front, I photographed #611.





            I slowly made my way back to the station. Meanwhile, the crew moved the train as not to block the line. I filmed the train moving. I also photographed the last car.



            A few minutes later, the train reversed past. I filmed the train as it passed. The train had the #611 and its tender, the auxiliary tender, the tools car, and 19 coaches.


            Today was also train days in Manassas. There were several tents with vendors. It kinda reminded me of the Thornhill festival every September back home.  I spoke with someone from the Western Maryland Scenic Railway which is restoring former C&O Mallet #1309. I learned that #1309 would either be done at the end of this year or next year.


            I stopped by one tent selling railway DVDs. I bought one about the #611. There was a VRE commuter train giving rides to people. At one point, #611, auxiliary tender and tools car were removed from the train and brought up to the festival. I photographed both.





            I looked around for a little while before I decided to climb a rock climbing wall. I was able to make it to the top. I photographed the wall.



            I wandered around for a little while longer before I made my way back to my hotel. I decided to walk there again. I got there around 4:30 pm. I worked on this report for a little and watched TV.


            Around 6:30, I left and walked over to a Taco Bell for supper. After supper, I walked over to the railway line to see the southbound Crescent passing. When the train showed up, I filmed it. I returned to my hotel and worked on this report some more. I asked for a wake up call at 8:30 am and booked a cab for 9:00 am the next day. I soon called it a night.


June 5, 2016;


            I got up at 8:30 and got dressed. I went to the lobby for breakfast. After breakfast, I returned to my room to pack. My taxi arrived early. I hurriedly finished packing and checked out. The cab took me to the Amtrak station. There were some people there with suitcases. I thought it was odd because the next scheduled Amtrak train wasn't for another 2.5 hours. As it turns out, the Crescent was running over an hour late. There were also people waiting for #611 to come back from its morning excursion.


            When the Crescent arrived, I saw it had P32-BWH #513 as the trailing unit. I filmed the train arriving.



            The Crescent made a double stop before departing Manassas. I photographed the train.



            I then photographed a caboose, flatcar, and boxcar on display near the station.




            I then went inside the Manassas depot and photographed an exhibit on railway history.




            I had heard it was going to rain today. It was spitting, but soon, it started raining quite a bit. However, 10-15 minutes later, the rain stopped. I knew the westbound Cardinal would be coming just before noon. I stuck around and sought out a good vantage point to see it. When the train arrived, I photographed it and filmed it pulling in.



            I then went to get another head end shot of the Cardinal. I found a grassy area south of the station with some other railfans. I photographed the train.



            I then filmed the train pulling away. I took one more photo of it.



            We waited for #611 to return. I started talking with someone who was on the train yesterday in the other dome car on the train which is a former Northern Pacific short dome. He said he would have loved to have been in my car. I mentioned it was too bad I didn't know him yesterday or we could have switched dome cars. At one point a cop told us to stay off the gravel {ballast} I asked if we could stay on the grass. He said it was okay.


            Soon, I heard #611. I photographed it before it passed on the overpass.



            I filmed the train pulling past. It was nice to film the entire train going forwards. I stayed around until Amtrak train #156 came by. I filmed the train passing.


            I then walked to a nearby 7-11 and bought lunch. After lunch, I walked to a park across from the station. I saw Amtrak train #156 was still in the station. The Amtrak soon departed. I photographed a mural on a building next to the 7-11.



            Meanwhile, #611 backed its train into the station. I photographed the back few cars.




            #611 would go out on another excursion in about 90 minutes. I decided to see if I could get a video of the train departing while going forwards. It took a little while to find a place, but I eventually found a bridge south of the depot near where the train went forwards the day before. There were other railfans there.


            Soon, #611 backed past on the main line. After backing past the switch, it went forwards again. I photographed the locomotive from an overpass.





            I filmed #611 passing underneath with its train. I attempted to take one more picture of the train through the bridge’s barrier which isn’t railfan friendly.



            I then returned to the station to await my train's arrival.  At one point, I saw several people standing and sitting on the main line. I shouted at them that they were trespassing, but they didn’t hear me. I photographed the stupid people.





            The northbound Cardinal was due about 33 minutes prior to my train. I had hoped it would get there before my train. While waiting, I spoke with another railfan. We talked about Amtrak and the #611. I told him about what had happened to me last year when I rode the #611. He would be leaving the next day on Amtrak train #176; the train I would ride on Tuesday and the train I missed last year.


            The New York bound Cardinal arrived a little while later. I filmed the train pulling in and photographed it.



            The train repositioned for a double stop. The Cardinal started offering Business class in the form of an Amfleet 1 cafe car with Business class seats on one end like on Empire Service trains. I also noticed the Cardinal now has a second sleeper. I went to where the locomotive stopped and took some more pictures.



            I then filmed the Cardinal departing. I then returned to the station to await my train's arrival. My train arrived 8 minutes late. I filmed my train pulling in.



            I was seated in Amfleet 1 coach #82712. I got a window on the left hand side of the train. The train soon departed.


            I noticed the AC outlets on my side of the coach weren't working! At one point it started raining heavily. I'm glad the rain held off until my train had left.


            I went to the cafe car and went online. I bought dinner. The train stopped at Culpeper. We departed a little while later. We stopped at Charlottesville. I returned to my coach.


            We were soon approaching Lynchburg. I readied my stuff in preparation to get off.


            My train arrived into Lynchburg 25 minutes late. I got off and photographed the train.







            I then went to get a taxi. I ended up sharing the cab with someone else. The driver then was taking with someone whose personal vehicle had run out of gas. This is why when I drive; I like to fill the tank when it gets to ¼ full.


            We headed off. The taxi driver dropped the second person first. He was completely in the opposite direction as me. After dropping him off, he took me to my hotel with is an Econo Lodge.


            I paid the taxi driver and checked into my hotel. I went to my room. I went online for a little while. I decided to look into Google Transit and take a “dry run” to the Amtrak station tomorrow morning. I asked for a wake up call at 6:00 am and called it a night.


Click to see my last full day in Virginia: Trip to Roanoke