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July 7, 2007:

July 7, 2007:


The train stopped at Alliance. After we left, we were passed by a CSX freight and the Eastbound Capitol Limited.


Soon, we were approaching Cleveland. I was roused from my half sleep and I went downstairs to ready myself to get off. After awhile, we finally stopped at the station. We arrived 45 minutes late which is not too bad. After I got off, I walked to the end of the platform and took a photo of the head end.



I then walked back to the station and asked a taxi to take me to the Econo Lodge in Warrensville Heights. It took a little while to find the address, but soon, we were on the way. I didn’t have to share the cab like in Washington though.


One thing to note is that this is the third time I’ve been to Cleveland. I went in 1996 when I first visited Trolleyville USA. I returned a year later on a school trip which I found to be enjoyable as well.


When I got to the hotel and checked in, the clerk did not accept my discount saying I should have mentioned it when I made the reservation! I was annoyed since the Econo Lodge in Washington accepted it. After an argument, I reluctantly paid full price for the first night and was given a room key. When I got to the room, I found it was already occupied! I stormed back to the lobby and was given a new room. This time, the room was vacant. I then called it a night.


I got up and got dressed. I first went to the lobby and spoke to the manager about my discount. She gave me a partial discount for the rest of my stay. I then had breakfast at a nearby restaurant.


After breakfast, I grabbed my things and headed out to a bus stop and picket up a bus to the Warrensville Heights RTA light rail station. When I boarded the bus and asked for a transfer, the driver looked at me a little funny. For some reason, RTA doesn’t give transfers for people who pay their fare in cash, which is dumb. People can but a day pass for $3.50, which I ended up doing.


I got of at the light rail station. I bought a bottle of Coke before I got on the next train downtown. The car I was in looked like it was refurbished. We were soon under way. I was riding RTA’s blue line which normally runs between Warrensville Heights and the Cleveland waterfront by way of Tower City. However, because of track work being done at the station at Tower City, the blue line trains were being turned around there and the waterfront line was being run separately with both eastbound and westbound trains running on the same line. However, there was only one train running on the waterfront line that day, so there was no chance of a head on collision.


At Tower City, I noticed some of the ex Chicago Aurora and Elgin interurban cars from Trolleyville USA stored in a side track. I would go to photograph them later. I then changed to the Waterfront line. While I was waiting, I photographed an RTA car in the original livery and filmed a car running on RTA’s red line.



I then boarded a Waterfront train and rode to Cleveland Browns stadium. I then walked a few blocks to where most of Trolleyville USA’s collection was being stored; a warehouse on Cleveland’s waterfront. It was free to get in, and I took some photos of some of the cars in the collection before I photographed what I had come to see: ex Toronto PCC #4602.





I then photographed other pieces of equipment in the warehouse. I also spoke to one of the people at Lakeshore Electric; (what Trolleyville is now called). We talked a bit about PCCs and the collection in general. He said the Toronto PCC was the most reliable of Trolleyville’s five PCC streetcars. That view was different from the view that one of the members of Trolleyville told me in 1996 shortly after they acquired 4602, but 4602 became a good car once all the bugs were worked out.


My friend the late Ray Neilson once got to operate 4602 when it was at Trolleyville’s old location. He also operated car 4603 at NCTM before the fire.


I then photographed a lot of the streetcars and two fishbowls which were also stored in the warehouse.









Ex Blackpool Transport “Boat car” #606. This car was acquired in 2000 in exchange for Trolleyville sending a double deck car to Blackpool, England.


This car: ex Cincinnati 2227 was the last car to leave Trolleyville’s old location.




The museum member allowed me into the fenced off area to photograph Trolleyville’s three ex Shaker Heights PCC cars. One car #63 was in decent shape while cars 71 and 76 are in need of serious restoration. This volunteer also told me that there is a dead raccoon somewhere inside 71. They can’t find it, but they could smell it. This reminds me of how at the TRHA museum in the John Street Roundhouse in Toronto, someone found a mummified raccoon inside a caboose in the collection! Fortunately, I didn’t smell anything that day!



Ex Shaker Height PCC #71. There is a dead raccoon inside it somewhere.



Behind the three PCCs was ex Aurora Elgin and Fox River car #303. This car was involved in a collision a few years ago. I was told that one member of Trolleyville coupled five of the CA&E cars together to run a five car train. The heaviest car, #409 of the five was the last car and not coupled up properly. As a result, the car rolled backwards and hit car #303. The end of 303 was bashed in, but 409 didn’t even suffer a scratch. I took a photo of 303.



Next, we went back and I photographed one of the museum’s latest acquisitions: Cleveland Airporter #172. I was told that this could be the only operational Airporter. Three other Airporters are preserved. Two are at the Ohio Railway Museum in Columbus. One more is stored at the Northern Ohio Railway museum. We agreed that the NORM is bad when it comes to preserving equipment. For starters, they’ve been around since the mid 1950’s and they haven’t even finished their main line! They keep most of their equipment outside and many of their cars have deteriorated.



The two of use joined two other Lake Shore Electric members. I told them about my quest to visit all 19 of the TTC’s last PCC streetcars. They were impressed by my track record (no pun intended) of having visited all but two car. When I told them how I visited cars 4607 and 4608 in Arizona, they were very impressed. (They weren’t surprised when I told them how the eastbound Sunset Limited was 12 hours late!)


I told them about my current trip and they said it was good how my Capitol Limited was less than an hour late.


I then went behind the warehouse and got to operate a handcar just like what I did at Exporail last year. It took me a little while to get started, but I soon figured it out.



After, I took a few more photos inside the warehouse before I donated $2 to the museum. I then visited the freighter William G. Mather which is a museum. The ship sailed from 1925 to 1980 when it was retired.  Shortly after paying admission, I noticed a display on the Edmund Fitzgerald which I photographed.



I then toured the William G. Mather. While I board, I took some photos.



The stack and a series of 5 lights that showed how the cargo load was balanced.




I then went to the engine room and took a photo there.



After, I went outside and took two more photos of the ship.




I then spoke with one of the people in the museum. We discussed the Edmund Fitzgerald. Interesting enough, the Mather’s log from the night the Fitzgerald went down was on display. That night, the ship was in Michigan, but the crew noted the loss of the Fitzgerald and its 29 men. I also mentioned that the ship Arthur M. Anderson which was sailing with the Fitzgerald at the time she sank should be preserved when the ship is eventually retired; most likely it should be incorporated with the Edmund Fitzgerald museum in Whitefish Point (where the ship was trying to get to when it sank.)


We also talked about the freighter Daniel J. Morrell which had sunk in Lake Michigan nine years earlier. The ship sank in a storm when it broke in two due to structural failure. There was only one survivor from that wreck. A reenactment of the loss of the Daniel J, Morrell was filmed on board the Mather for a show on the Discovery Channel (that I recorded).


The bow section of the Daniel J. Morrell sank almost immediately. The stern section sailed on for five miles before it sank. One can almost imagine what it must have been like. The only survivor lost two toes from hypothermia. I find it was amazing he had survived at all because he was half naked when the ship sank.


I also mentioned about my favourite Great Lakes freighter the Seaway Queen. Over 10 years ago, I was stopped twice on the same day by that ship. Unfortunately, the Seaway Queen was scrapped in 2004, but it was cut up in India. The museum member agreed with my view that I had wished the Seaway Queen had broke tow while in the middle of the ocean and sank therefore preserving the ship.


I then went to the Great Lakes Science Center which was nearby. I visited the museum 10 years ago when my school came to Cleveland. I paid the admission even though there was an hour before they closed. I browsed fast. They have a transportation exhibit with an O-scale model train running around a line and a lift bridge you can raise. I proved on my 1997 trip that the bridge couldn’t be raised if a train was at a certain distance to the bridge. I didn’t take any photos of the exhibits though.


Out of curiosity, I asked how long they keep lost articles. They told me they donate them after a month. They asked if I had lost anything. I said, “Yes, 10 years ago.” I had left a baseball hat at the Great Lakes Science Centre when I was last in Cleveland. I didn’t think they’d have it after all these years, but I thought it didn’t hurt to ask.


I then walked back to the RTA station and rode back to Tower City. At Tower City, I got off and went into the mall and looked around before I had dinner in the food court. After dinner, I rode a red line train to the airport. When I got to the Airport, I photographed the train.



I briefly looked around the airport before I headed back to my hotel. I thought I would get back sooner if I took RTA’s green line since the next departure was on the green line. I ended up getting there at 9:30; missing half of America’s Most Wanted. After, I went to a nearby convenience store. I eventually called it a night.


July 8, 2007:


I got up and got dressed before I headed out and eventually had breakfast at a Burger King. I then rode a bus to the RTA station. I eventually bought another day pass. I saw I would be riding a car still in its original livery. I took a picture of it before I rode to Tower City.



As we passed the yard where the RTA trains are stored, I saw an old Shaker Heights streetcar that was converted to a work car. When we got to Tower City, I saw that work crews were again doing track work. I filmed some of Trolleyville’s cars as we approached Tower City. When I got off the train, I took some photos of the cars from the station.



I transferred to a Waterfront train and rode one stop to the Settlers Landing stop. I got off and waited for a train to pass through in the opposite direction. The reason was to visit where the most disturbing event of my school trip to Cleveland happened. On my trip, we chartered two highway coaches. I was on the second bus. On the trip the bus I was not on stopped right on the RTA tracks on a railway crossing just south of the Settlers Landing station when the crossing was activated by a departing train. The gate came down on the bus as the RTA train approached down on the bus. However the bus moved in time. Understandably, other students and I were shocked by the incident. I don’t want to think what would have happened if the train had hit the bus.


While waiting for a southbound RTA train, a nearby lift bridge was raised to let a barge pass underneath. I watched it for a few minutes and then headed back to the crossing and saw an RTA train in the Settlers Landing station and photographed it.



As the RTA train departed, I filmed it passing through the crossing. I then walked back to Tower City. I had lunch at the food court before I went by the RTA yard to see if I could see the line car made from a converted Shaker Height streetcar. I couldn’t see it from the road, so I filmed it from a red line train.



I then rode back to Tower City. By now they were finished doing track work for the day. I filmed the interurbans from Trolleyville USA. I then rode a Waterfront train to the lakefront and took some photos outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Centre.


Johnny Cash’s old tour bus is on display outside the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.




I then walked a few blocks to the World War 2 vintage submarine USS Cod which is on display. I took a picture of it.



That day, they were having a reenactment of a rescue the Cod was involved in during World War two. At one point they fired the Cod’s deck gun out into the lake. The loud blasts were enough to set off a car alarm! After the demonstration, I went inside the Cod. It was interesting climbing in/out of the Cod with a duffel bag, but I managed!


I entered by way of the forward torpedo room. During my tour, I took a couple photos of the inside of the Cod.




I then climbed out of the submarine. I then headed back to Tower City. As I exited, I passed an RTA cop’s radio say to watch out for a black man taking pictures. I knew they weren’t talking about me because I’m not black! However, some other African-America people nearby also heard the transmission and said, “It’s always a black man.”  I then took some bus photos without incident.





I eventually caught a bus on route 19 back to Warrensville Heights. I got off at a mall a few blocks from my hotel. I walked over to a nearby White Castle for dinner. I then headed back to my hotel. I watched a little TV and saw on CNN that Boeing had unveiled their new 787 aircraft. I checked the phone book for a taxi to take me to the Amtrak station the next day. I also asked for a wake up call at 5:30 am before called before I called it a night.


July 9, 2007:


My wake up call came 30 minutes sooner. I got up and got dressed. I proceeded to check out of my hotel and called Julie to find out when train 48 was due into Cleveland. I was told it would be 20 minutes late.


At 6:00 am, the taxi didn’t come. It didn’t come after 5 minutes. I called to find out where my cab was. I was told the cab company didn’t have all my info to send a cab. I told them that they never asked. The cab company said, “It should have been natural for you to tell us.” It should have been more natural for them to ask! When I was giving them info, at one point, they even insulted me by calling me “Ma’am”, even though they had my first name as Tom. (How many women are called “Tom”?!?) When I angrily told them I was a man, I became disconnected. I called them back immediately and demanded my cab. It showed up at 6:40. I was hopeful the train was still 20 minutes late and I would make it.


By the time I got to the Amtrak station, it was 7:14. There was no train at the station. I went inside and found out the train had left at 7:00 am, right on time! The one time the Lake Shore which rarely runs on time is punctual, I miss it!


The taxi driver took me to the Greyhound station at no additional cost. I phoned my dad and told him I had missed my train.


My ticket for train #48 I didn’t get to use because of the taxi company in Cleveland. If you are planning a trip and want to know the taxi company that screwed me, please email me.


I was able to buy a ticket for the next departure to Buffalo at 8:15 am for $23.50. I would get to Buffalo at 12:20. I would still make the Maple Leaf though, but had the cab come when I first asked it to, this would not have happened. I had breakfast at the cafeteria in the station. I had skipped breakfast at the hotel because I was planning on having breakfast on train 48.


My bus left on time and we made two stops at Ashtabula, Ohio and Erie, Pennsylvania. We arrived at Buffalo on time. Once I got into the terminal, I took a photo of the bus.


The bus I had to take to Buffalo to get home in time.


The bus station in Buffalo is a few blocks away from the Buffalo Exchange Street station. I called Amtrak to double check if I could board there instead of going to Buffalo Depew station. I was told I could.


I bought some lunch from the bus station before I walked over to the Buffalo Exchange Street station. I called Julie and found out train 63 would be about an hour late.


While I was waiting, train 64 arrived. I filmed it pulling into the station and then took a couple photos of it at Buffalo.



When train 64 departed, I filmed it pulling out. I went back to the waiting game. I noticed the Buffalo light rail ran a block away. I headed out and photographed a couple light rail trains in both the old livery and the new livery.




I kept checking the status of 63. It was loosing more and more time. This was because it was hot out and when the temperature reaches a certain point, Amtrak trains on CSX tracks are slowed down to 20 mph less than track speed. The 2002 derailment of Amtrak’s Capitol Limited was attributed to sun kinks caused by hot weather.


I had tried to phone home on my new cell phone, but I ran out of money so my cell phone was more or less “dead weight”.


I also photographed a few buses while I was waiting. At one point, a CSX hyrail truck passed by which I filmed. Train 63 finally arrived about an hour and a half late. I filmed the train pulling in. I noticed the train was the exact same consist as the Maple Leaf I rode down to New York on. It even had the same locomotive!



I was the only person getting on 63 at Buffalo Exchange Street. I was seated in Amfleet 2 coach #25105, a refurbished coach. Shortly after we left, I was given a card to fill out for Canadian customs. This would be the first time I would ride the Maple Leaf INTO Canada. I was seated near some kids who kept babbling on and on.


Train 63 stopped at Niagara Falls, New York. At Niagara Falls New York, U.S. customs agents got on and interviewed people. I find this odd that they have to check a train LEAVING the U.S. and Canadian customs Agents only check people coming into Canada. This reinforced my wish that Amtrak could do something similar to what they do with the Cascade service to Vancouver in the west by having the customs inspection inside the station.


After awhile, the customs inspection was done. The train then departed and stopped in Niagara Falls, Ontario where Canadian customs began to interview the passengers. Both times, I was fortunate enough not to have someone who was really anal like the customs agent on my “Arizona Make-up trip”.


After the inspection was done, I filmed the equipment that had come in as VIA train 95 earlier in the evening as the train departed. Once my ticket was taken, I went to the café car for dinner.


After dinner, I went into the washroom and bought $20 of minutes for my cell phone and called home. The train stopped at St. Catherines, Grimsby, and Aldershot. It felt good to be back in GO Transit territory. The train stopped at Oakville before arriving into Toronto at 10:15, 90 minutes late. Once I got off, I took a couple more photos of the train.



I then went downstairs and called home from a payphone. I noticed it now cost $0.50 to make a call instead of $0.25. I then got on the subway and went home.




First of all, there is no excuse for the cab company in Cleveland making me miss my train. This incident has given the company a very bad image and I am just as mad as them as I am with SAIT, (see my Western Canada trip). I’m still a bit peeved with the hotel in Cleveland not accepting my discount.


Aside from the cab company in Cleveland and the hotel, this trip was great. I visited the cars I wanted to and had a really good time in Washington DC and Cleveland. Being squished by my fat seatmate on the Capitol Limited was a minor annoyance, but since the train was full, I guess it’s good for Amtrak. Perhaps when NCTM has finished moving as a result of the highway being built and when Trolleyville is fully operational, I may do a similar trip.


Since my ticket on train 48 is good for almost a year, I plan to use it on a “Cleveland Make-up trip”. I will stay in another hotel downtown and use a different cab company to the Amtrak station. However, this trip won’t be until September.


As a result of what happened in Cleveland, on my next few trips, when I have to phone a taxi, I will say, “And can you please make sure the cab will be on time.” I know I shouldn’t have to, but I don’t want to miss any more trains! Until next time…