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Washington, DC To Chicago, IL On Amtrak's Capitol Limited
  After spending a good chunk of my afternoon in Club Acela relaxing, backing up photos and talking about football with other passengers, we were given the boarding call signal at 3:30pm to begin boarding Train #29 - The Capitol Limited which I would be riding to Chicago on the next leg of the transcontinental portion of this trip. Our train was waiting for us on Track #15 so we would enter the platforms from Gate K. I took down car numbers as I walked towards the head end of the train near where my car, the "2900" sleeper was located. The consist and roster photo tour for today's train is shown below:
  Since we were the first to board, I had some time to do what I do best, get more pictures!!! At this point, I noticed the locomotive that would be pulling this train and just started laughing! P42DC #157 was the same engine that almost ran out of fuel this morning on the Silver Meteor! I swear this engine must be following me, ha ha!!! Obviously by now, it would only stand to reason that it would be sufficiently fueled! I was ticketed in Roomette #2 in Superliner I Sleeping Car #32031. The room and car looked to be recently refurbished with the simulated wood grain walls and the touchpad-style switches for things like the room lights. There is no way to shut the speaker off so as to not hear announcements in your car with this refurb. Some people like hearing announcements and others not so much. Announcements never really bothered me in my travels. The same sleeping car attendant I had when I rode on the Capitol Limited last Monday is my attendant on this leg of the trip as well!
  We departed Washington, DC Union Station on time at 4:05pm. Shortly after departure, the conductor came through the car and lifted tickets, followed shortly after by our dining car attendant who took dinner reservations. I opted for the 6:00pm seating so I could try to get photos going over the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry, WV just after the station stop there. We made our first stop at Rockville, MD at 4:26pm, and departed on time at 4:29pm. The sun was just about to set (Did I mention that I absolutely can't stand not having daylight savings time???) so I got a sunset photo and took some more photos as we passed the old B&O station at Point Of Rocks, MD where our train merges onto the CSX Old Main Sub which was the old B&O main line that served Baltimore! Prior to that, we had been on what is known as the CSX Metropolitan Sub (Former B&O Metropolitan Branch) after coming off the Northeast Corridor. After taking some dark and underexposed photos at Harpers Ferry (I'd rather have a dark photo than no photo at all), we arrived there at 5:15pm and departed at 5:16pm, still running on time. By now, the sun had set so most of my photography would be done for the day (though there will be more later, remember, you don't need "daylight" to do photography, do you???). We arrived early at our next station stop of Martinsburg, WV at 5:38pm and departed on time at 5:46pm!
  At 6:00pm, I headed to the Dining Car for dinner. Tonight I would have the Amtrak Signature Steak (yes, for the third time so far on this trip but they were all excellent!) with garlic mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley along with a side salad and a Diet Pepsi. I had chocolate moose for dessert that was totally different from the one I had on the Silver Meteor, and it was so good, I photographed it before I ate it like most of my Dining Car meals! Our next station stop would be Cumberland, MD which normally consists of two stops. The first is to change engineers and the second is the passenger stop. Normally, there is 10 minutes built into the schedule to do this anyway. We arrived there at 7:16pm and a smoking break was permitted. I used this time to photograph the last Sleeping Car as my photo I took in DC before we departed looked lousy (though I'd end up getting roster photos of the entire train in Chicago the next morning from Roosevelt Road, they are the ones that ended up in the roster photo tour above).  We were all let off the train at the entrance to the second Coach, and then walked down the platform to reboard as the first stop is only for the engineer. Once the train moved down the platform, we all reboarded. In the midst of all that excitement, I forgot to record the time we departed Cumberland but it couldn't have been too late! Once out of Cumberland, I decided, time for a beer! I headed to the Cafe Car and bought a Budweiser and had some interesting conversations with other passengers in the lounge portion of the car. After spending about a half hour there, I headed back to my Sleeping Car so as to continue writing this travelogue.
  We had made our next station stop at Connellsville, PA at 9:53pm and quickly departed at 9:54pm, running 7 minutes late, no big deal so far. My sleeper attendant pointed out some excellent things to see along the route as we headed through the McKeesport, PA area. I decided I was gonna go to bed after leaving Pittsburgh so I would shower, then get the camera set up on the tripod for night photos I would take once we arrive there. Thanks to light freight traffic and a little padding in the schedule, we arrived at our next station stop of Pittsburgh, PA at 11:23pm, running 25 minutes EARLY!!! This is a crew change point for the train and an extended stop so passengers were allowed to get off the train and smoke. I got photos of our train along with the Pennsylvanian's train set which was laying over in Pittsburgh and would go east to New York the following day. We got a new crew and would depart using the symbol NS 03T (our CSX symbol was P030-09) as we would now be on Norfolk Southern tracks heading out of Pittsburgh, which we departed from on time at 11:59pm. I was considering getting up again at Cleveland to get another night photo but upon getting up to check the train status, we were running late, so I just stayed in bed. I slept on the top bunk of this sleeper again as I had some trouble getting one of the seats to fold flat and my attendant was busy helping others, so I didn't want to bother him. No big deal for me, and so ends today...
  I woke up as we were at the station stop in Waterloo, IN which we arrived there at 6:31am and departed on time at 6:36am. And with that, time for breakfast! I would have the Railroad French Toast with the chicken apple sausage patties, a side of home fries and a Diet Pepsi. I was seated with two ladies who were going home to Minneapolis, MN and were part of a "Singing Adelines" group which is similar to a Barber Shop Quartet. Breakfast and conversation were all good. My sleeper attendant did switch my room to day use while at breakfast and during that time, we made our next stop of Elkhart, IN at 7:43am and departed at 7:46am, having lost a little time with some freight congestion in the area, now running 17 minutes late. Overall, still no big deal considering the on-time performance of this train over the past few months! I briefly checked with the assistant conductor if there would be a smoking break at the next stop in South Bend, IN but he told me no since we were running late. The conductors on this train had boarded in Toledo and were the same two that I rode with when I boarded the eastbound Capitol Limited in Sandusky last week. The AC remembered me from that trip and had asked where my travels were taking me now! We made the next stop at South Bend, IN at 8:06am and quickly departed at 8:09am, running 18 minutes late. I took photos at several spots as we made our way towards Chicago, including photos of the new Englewood Flyover which now has the Metra Rock Island District flying over the Chicago Line (the mainline we're on), eliminating a diamond at this location and a bottleneck for both railroads helping to ease traffic through this area. This, along with a serious amount of freight traffic on NS over last summer were causing serious delays for this train as well as the Lake Shore Limited, but thankfully, those problems have subsided with NS adding capacity around the Elkhart, IN area as well as hiring lots of new crews and buying lots of locomotives to handle the extra demands that more freight traffic presents.
  We were told we may have to sit at CP-518 due to work in the area but whatever stop was brief and we slowly continued on into Chicago. We did have to make a brief stop in the Englewood area, waiting for the OK signal to pass the work area there. Now having crossed the Chicago River drawbridge, we were closing in on Chicago Union Station, our destination for this train. I would get photos as we passed through the coach yard and shops and at 8:57am, running 12 minutes late, we arrived at Chicago Union Station. Overall, I don't think you could have asked for a better run! Norfolk Southern worked hard to give us the proper priority as we moved along their railroad, and the end result for me anyways, was there was enough time to go railfanning at my favorite spot in Chicago, Roosevelt Road!!! Our sleeper attendant had already moved our bags downstairs so as to easily retrieve them when we got off the train. I was putting on my hoodie when I noticed I had left my tripod in the corner of the room! I kept it with me because I was considering doing night photos in Cleveland but that never happened and I didn't put it away before going to bed! Thankfully, I gave the room another once-over before leaving and didn't leave a $180 tripod on the train!
  Once I got off the train, I tipped my attendant, then dragged my bags up the platform, stopping to take a couple quick pictures at the head end of the train. I then had a quick chat with one of the conductors whom I've rode with several times before (and twice on this trip), then headed inside the station. I put my tripod back in one of the bags before going to the Metropolitan Lounge where I stored them, had a quick free Diet Pepsi, then made the 25 minute walk to Roosevelt Road. Check out the links below for pix taken along the route of Amtrak's Capitol Limited, as well as some good railfanning at Roosevelt Road!!!