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Sandusky, OH To Chicago, IL On Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited
Tuesday Morning, October 8th, 2013:

 At 3:30am, I woke up (after having had a rather hard time trying to sleep), packed up everything and checked out of the hotel. I had a taxi bring me back to the Amtrak Station and Train #48 was actually in the station when I arrived. There was one passenger waiting inside the station who had gotten off Train #29 - The westbound Capitol Limited. She was waiting for a ride from the Sandusky Transit System which wasn't set to open until 6:00am. I ended up chatting with this passenger along with another who was waiting for a ride who had gotten off Train #48. Train #49 continued to lose time as it passed through Pennsylvania and into Ohio which wasn't surprising as late trains can lose more time. Some more time would pass, and another passenger arrived who was heading to Toledo on Train #49. We talked for a bit before I eventually headed out to the platform as the train had now finally left Elyria, OH which was the last stop before Sandusky. At 7:33am, running 2 hours and 37 minutes late, Train #49 arrived in Sandusky. I said before that the lateness of this train would end up being a blessing in disguise and here's why: For starters, the train ended up arriving here at about sunrise, which made it possible for me to photograph it! This has never happened before in all my years of boarding this train at this station! Also, running this late opens up a whole new host of photo opportunities along this line that otherwise would not be possible! The consist for today's train is shown below:

P42DC   Power (From Boston)
P42DC   Power (From Boston)
Heritage Baggage   Baggage Car (From Boston)
Viewliner I Sleeping Car Evening View Sleeping Car (From Boston) (4920)
Amfleet II Coach   Coach (From Boston)
Amfleet II Coach   Coach (From Boston)
Amfleet II Cafe Car Chicago Club Cafe/Lounge Car (From Boston)
Amfleet II Coach   Coach (From New York)
Amfleet II Coach   Coach (From New York) (My Car)
Amfleet II Coach   Coach (From New York)
Amfleet II Coach   Coach (From New York)
Heritage Diner Silver Diner Dining Car (From New York)
Viewliner I Sleeping Car Cape View Sleeping Car (From New York) (4911)
Viewliner I Sleeping Car Autumn View Sleeping Car (From New York) (4912)
Heritage Baggage   Baggage Car (From New York)
SPECIAL NOTES: Viewliner I Sleeping Cars no longer display their names on the sides of the cars but still sport their original names on the end doors as you enter the cars from the inside. Also, Amfleet II Cafe cars and Heritage Diners also no longer display names.

  At 7:35am, running 2 hours and 40 minutes late, we departed Sandusky, OH. After putting my bags in the area of the coach where there was room (as the overhead racks were full), I took window seat #43 in Amfleet II Coach #25039 and wasted no time in beginning to find new photo opportunities that opened up because of the lateness of this train, such as seeing the sun rise over Sandusky Bay with Cedar Point in the background, how cool!!! I spent the rest of the time between Sandusky and Toledo taking a ton of pictures and at 8:26am, running 2 hours and 31 minutes late, we arrived in Toledo, OH. As I said at the beginning of this travelogue, I would be upgrading to a sleeping car once at Toledo as that was the zone cut-off for Amtrak Guest Rewards and it didn't cost me any more points to upgrade here verses Chicago. I just had to now walk from my coach in the Boston Section to the second to last car in the train in the New York Section as I was now ticketed in Roomette #4 in the 4912 car which today was Viewliner I Sleeper #62002 "Autumn View". The train also got a new crew and passengers could get off the train and smoke if they wanted. I brought my bags into my sleeping car and at 8:43am, now running 2 hours and 28 minutes late, we departed Toledo.
  My sleeper attendant introduced himself to me and I then headed to the dining car for breakfast! To my surprise, Amtrak has once again brought back Pancakes to the dining car menu for breakfast on this train, my favorite!!! I would have the Pancakes with Breakfast Potatoes, Pork Sausage Patties and a Diet Pepsi. All the food was very good! The people who sat across from me were railfans with one having been a retired dispatcher from Norfolk Southern and previous to that, Conrail, out of Michigan. The passenger seated next to me was from Rochester, NY and was on his way to South Bend, IN for business. While eating breakfast, we made our next stop at Bryan, OH and departed at 9:32am, now running 2 hours and 27 minutes late, so at least we weren't getting "later" than we already were.
  After breakfast, I headed back to my sleeping car to just relax. We then made our next stop of Elkhart, IN. Elkhart is home to many Recreational Vehicle factories as well as the National New York Central Railroad Museum which is conveniently located across the tracks from the Amtrak station there. This museum is an absolute MUST, if you're a fan of the Central!! I visited it in 2005 and definitely need to get back there again sometime! I just continued to relax in my sleeping car as we arrived at our next stop of South Bend, IN and quickly departed at 11:14am, now running 2 hours and 29 minutes late. An announcement was made by the crew to switch our watches back one hour as we would be heading into the Central Time Zone once we departed South Bend.  The Assistant Conductor who boarded this train in Toledo was someone I knew from several previous trips. After a nice chat with her as well as a few members of the onboard service crew who were all in the cafe car together, I walked back to my sleeper only to hear an announcement that the cafe car was closing as we were soon gonna be arriving in Chicago.
  Currently, Amtrak has on order a fleet of 130 Viewliner II cars which are being built by CAF USA in Elmira, NY. The new cars will consist of 55 baggage cars, 25 baggage/dormitory cars, 25 dining cars and 25 sleeping cars with an option for 70 more cars. The new sleeping cars will not have toilets in the roomettes (they will still have a small sink though like the current Viewliner I Sleepers) but would have 2 public bathrooms at one end of the car. I don't see a problem with this as it will then bring equipment amenities more in line with that of Superliner roomettes which don't even have a sink in them.
  For the rest of the way to Chicago, I just hung out in my sleeping car and took more pictures. The sleeper attendant in my car allowed me to use an unoccupied room on the other side of the car to get photos as the train moved through the coach yards (I was on the other side of the train where I otherwise couldn't see the yards)! At 11:50am, running 2 hours and 5 minutes late thanks to schedule padding, Train #49 arrived at Chicago Union Station.
  Unfortunately, due to the train's late arrival, there would be no time to go railfanning at Roosevelt Road this year during my layover here. Ultimately though, it wasn't a big deal as I got to ride on the Water Level Route entirely in daylight from Sandusky to Chicago (a rarity today due to the train's normal schedule) so I'll get back to Roosevelt Road again on a future trip! I did get a couple quick pix of the train before walking into Chicago Union Station and heading straight for the Metropolitan Lounge which is the First Class lounge for sleeping car passengers! I had my luggage stored there and I ran upstairs to McDonald's and had a very quick lunch. I then ran across the street to a nearby CVS/Pharmacy to pick up some Diet Pepsi and bottled water for the sleeping car. Included below is a link to photos taken on this leg of the trip, some of which I never thought I'd have the chance to take, but this is what happens when its possible to take advantage of photo opportunities as a result of a late train! Enjoy...