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Sandusky, OH To Chicago, IL On Amtrak's Capitol Limited
 Monday Morning, October 18th, 2010:
 I woke up around 1:30am and called for my taxi to pick me up at 2:30am to get me back to the Sandusky Amtrak station in time to catch Train #29 – The Capitol Limited to Chicago. I checked out of the hotel around 2:30am and arrived shortly thereafter at the station. There were 2 other passengers waiting for the eastbound Lake Shore Limited as well as another passenger waiting for the westbound Lake Shore. The passenger waiting for the westbound Lake Shore would end up waiting quite awhile since that train would be well over an hour late that morning arriving in Chicago (You'll see a photo of it later!). I had a nice chat with the 2 passengers who were waiting for the eastbound Lake Shore, they say they met me on a previous trip! It turns out they were members of American Coaster Enthusiasts so we discussed roller coasters (My 2nd favorite thing in the world to photograph behind trains!) and amusement parks at length! Around 3:55am I ventured out to the platform as the train had been running on time out of its last two stops (Cleveland and Elyria, OH). At 4:01am, Train #29 – The Capitol Limited arrived in Sandusky. I was one of only two passengers who boarded here this morning and we were on our way at 4:03am, 1 minute late. The consist for today's train is as shown below:
Amtrak's Capitol Limited - Monday, October 18th, 2010 - 48 Axles
Car/Engine Type:
Amfleet I Coach
Coach (Deadhead Move)
Heritage Baggage
Baggage Car
Superliner II Transition Sleeper
Crew/Sleeping Car (2909)
Superliner I Sleeping Car
Petrified Forest*
Sleeping Car (2901)
Superliner II Sleeping Car
New Hampshire
Sleeping Car (2900)
Superliner I Diner-Lounge
Dining Car
Superliner II Sightseer Lounge
Cafe/Lounge Car
Superliner I Coach
Superliner I Coach
Superliner I Coach/Baggage
Note: Superliner I Sleeping Cars had names designated for them but were never applied.
 Today's train had P40DC #830 as the second unit. When Amtrak got out of the Mail & Express business several years ago, they found themselves with some excess power. The end result was that most of the P40's would eventually end up in storage. Several were sold off or leased and others would just sit. 15 of these units would end up being slated for refurbishing using stimulus money and several have now come online since then and can be seen practically anywhere in the Amtrak system. This is the first time I've had one of these units on a train since 2004! I was seated in the middle of the three coaches in Superliner I Coach #34010. There wasn't a heck of a lot of people riding today as this is not the peak season for this train. I had nobody sitting next to me so I was able to spread out a bit. I talked briefly with the crew and found out that the west end of the platform in Toledo is not accessible for photography so I wouldn't take a night photo at that location. Fortunately I did get a nice night photo of this train back in July in Cleveland, which is the photo I used at the top of this page. The last time I had visited Cleveland to do this was in 2005 so I knew I wanted to get back there and get an updated photo. I actually made a 4 hour drive from Buffalo to Cleveland, and photographed that train there at that time having gotten prior permission to do so. Now I know what you're probably thinking, "he drove 4 hours to get a picture?" Well I would photograph all 4 trains serving Cleveland that night! Yep, you're right, I'm crazy! We arrived into Toledo at 4:52am. This is a crew change point for this train. Due to the dwell time, we could get off the train to get some air or smoke for those wishing to do so. The Assistant Conductor on today's train was someone I recognized as she has worked on the Lake Shore Limited to Buffalo before! I headed inside the station to grab a Diet Pepsi and a candy bar then would hang out on the platform by my coach. We departed Toledo on time at 5:22am.
  I dozed off for a bit at this point and woke up during our next station stop at Waterloo, IN. We left Waterloo at 6:36am, on time. I decided to go have breakfast as the Dining car was now open. At the time of this trip, the Capitol Limited was still using one of those Diner/Lounge cars for a dining car though it is supposed to get (and may have already) a normal Superliner dining car as a few are being (or have been) rebuilt for this train using stimulus money. This diner/lounge car functions well as a lounge but is no good as a dining car. You can't fit as many people in it as the tables are set up as such only 3 people can sit at some and 4 at the others. The weird layout of the car had no impact on the quality of the food as the kitchens in these cars were never changed when they were converted to this design. I had a great breakfast of Railroad French Toast with Sausage Patties and Home Fries with a Diet Pepsi. I was seated with a couple from Wisconsin. The crew took up the table behind me so I chatted with our Assistant Conductor some more as well as another railfan! We all discussed how much fun train travel is with regards to the people you meet along the way and the experience of the dining car. We made our next station stop at Elkhart, IN during breakfast, and left there at 7:21am, which was actually early. Special Note: These departure times are based on either my watch or cell phone (neither of which I can set myself), not official Amtrak time unless noted otherwise. So officially, we likely left on time. We had to wait for a freight just west of the Elkhart Station but were on our way shortly thereafter. Last call was made for breakfast at this time as we were making good time coasting across Indiana! Our next stop would be South Bend, IN. We left there at 7:50am, 1 minute early. Between South Bend and Chicago, you move into the Central Time Zone. You may notice the time change back and forth several times on your cell phone as it picks up different towers in different time zones, very weird! We didn't have much freight traffic holding us back, though once we got to the Park Manor Yard area for Norfolk Southern near Chicago, we had to stop for a bit for another freight. An announcement was made as we approached Union Station to ask that all passengers remain in their coaches as we would be starting the backup move to pull into Union Station. This seems to have become common practice as the same thing was done last year when I rode this train. We first pulled out onto the BNSF main heading West, then backed up onto the Union Station tracks and backed into the station. I noticed a serious amount of trackwork being done near Union Station, which I would later find out was being done with Stimulus money. At 8:43am, we arrived into Chicago Union Station 2 minutes early! I dragged my luggage down the platform and headed for the Metropolitan Lounge to store it as I'm now officially a sleeping car passenger as I would have a roomette on my next train, the Empire Builder later today! It was now time to visit my favorite place to railfan in Chicago, Roosevelt Avenue! The links below will take you to some photos taken on the Capitol Limited along with some great railfanning at Roosevelt Avenue, enjoy!!!