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1999 Summer Vacation Railfanning Trip

Summer Railfanning Trip 1999

Sandusky, Ohio And Amsterdam, New York

Sunday, July 18th, 1999

   This year, I would end up taking my biggest railfanning trip to date. I planned it around my family vacation to Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio. About 1am, I got a ride from my Dad up to the Amtrak Depew Station (one of my favorite trainwatching spots) in order to be there an hour before the train was to depart. Tonight's train, the westbound Lake Shore Limited arrived in Depew at around 2:45am, about 1 hour and 25 minutes late. I said goodbye to my Dad and headed for my coach seat.
I rode in a regular Amfleet II coach and our train was powered by P42DC #2 and F40PH #294, the train had its usual consist tonight, with Viewliner Sleeping Cars, and a Heritage Diner along with the traditional Amfleet II equipment. I settled into my coach seat and soon after we departed, I headed for the cafe car which had your usual crowd of smokers who congregate in there during the overnight hours as its one of the only times smokers can blacken their lungs on the train. I chatted a bit with the train crew and met up with Greater Capital District Railfan Association member Steve Crossman, who was also on the train heading out West. We both had scanners (something Amtrak doesn't have a problem with as long as you use headphones) and listened for hotbox detectors and railroad stuff.
   Just before arriving in Erie, Pennsylvania, I headed back to my coach seat to try to get some sleep, because I had a long day ahead of me in Ohio. I woke up just as we were arriving in Cleveland, Ohio (Ok, a 1 hour nap, but I'm on vacation!!!) By the time we departed Cleveland, it was around 6:30am and the Dining Car was now open for breakfast, time to eat!!! I headed into the Dining Car, and was seated with 3 other people from Boston, I think. Keeping an ear to my scanner as well as talking to the passengers seated with me, I noticed that now we were on Norfolk Southern tracks and the train crew was calling all signals over the radio. The waiter took our order, I had pancakes and Orange Juice, just as we arrived in Elyria, Ohio for our next stop. At that point, I began to get worried that I wouldn't have time to finish eating before I had to get off in Sandusky!!! I managed to finish about 10 minutes before the train arrived in Sandusky, and I along with 4 other people got off the train. Probably the most people I've ever gotten off with in Sandusky!!! However, there were 22 people getting on in Sandusky, heading West. It was 7:30am when we arrived, almost an hour and a half late, but honestly, that didn't bother me one bit, because I saw more of my trip in daylight. Shown below is the coach I rode in to get to Sandusky, Ohio:

Amfleet II Coach #25056 on the Lake Shore Limited
seen at 7:30am in Sandusky, Ohio on July 18th, 1999.

   After departing the train, I snapped the above photo, I decided to hang out at the Amtrak Station there for a little bit to photograph some passing Norfolk Southern trains. One of the first things I noticed about the Sandusky Station is how it has been totally remodeled and will soon have a business operating out of it. Below is a photo of the station taken shortly after I arrived there:
The Amtrak Station in Sandusky, Ohio - July 18th, 1999.