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Amsterdam & Albany, NY & Sandusky, Ohio - July 23rd-25th, 2000

Amsterdam & Albany, New York & Sandusky, Ohio
July 23rd-25th, 2000

July 23rd, 2000 - Depew, NY

   For my Summer 2000 Railfanning Trip, I decided to go back to a place I visited last year, Amsterdam, NY. This year however, the trip would be a little different. Instead of heading to Ohio first, I decided to go to Amsterdam first before heading to Ohio to go on yet, another great vacation to Cedar Point Amusement Park!!! I'll start things off from Depew, NY, where I arrived to take my first of 3 Amtrak trains on this trip.
   I took a bus up to the Walden Galleria Mall to have lunch. In Buffalo, there is very limited bus service to the Amtrak Station in Depew on Sundays and since I don't have a car, I either had to wait for a bus or walk. I ended up eating a really bad lunch at some restaurant in the Mall and decided to walk to the Amtrak station which was about a half-hour walk from the Galleria Mall. So I turned on my Minidisc Player and was on my way. I arrived at the station around 1:45pm with about 20 pounds of baggage on my shoulders, ouch!! I ended up spending the next few hours at the station trainwatching, and the photos below show what I saw when I arrived...

   In case you've never seen the Amtrak Station in Depew, NY, here's a picture of it that I took just after I arrived there around 1:45pm. The station follows Amtrak's typical station design that is found throughout the Country. Built in 1982, the station has been expanded twice and has an extended platform for the Lake Shore Limited as well as a Mail Handling facility just to the left of the station.
   The first freight to come by after I arrived was the Westbound Q-283 with C40-8W #7344 leading, which former Conrail #6156. The train is seen on Track #4 heading into Frontier Yard at 1:54pm.
Next up is Train Q-629 with AC6000CW #688 leading a former Conrail Unit on Track #1 heading West at 2:12pm.
   The first Amtrak train I saw today was Train #64, the "always-sporting-an-F40" New York City-bound "Maple Leaf" seen stopping in Depew at 2:29pm, a few minutes late, but not too bad considering this train originates in Toronto. The Train is seen on Track #2.
   Next up is Amtrak Train #63, another "F40-sporting" Toronto-bound "Maple Leaf" seen stopping in Depew on Track #2 at 2:58pm. Running 6 minutes late, this train will arrive in Toronto later this evening after stopping in Downtown Buffalo, and Niagara Falls, NY, before heading over to Canada.
This Eastbound Manifest showed up next at 3:14pm with B36-7 #5915 on Track #2.
   And now leading this Manifest is Ex-Con #7340, which is former Conrail #6147. The train, heading East on Track #2 is seen at 3:29pm.
Next is this TV Train with AC6000 CW #5008 leading on Track #1 at 4:26pm.
At 4:43pm, this TV Train arrived with AC6000CW #629 leading, heading East on Track #2.
   And now at this point, my vacation is officially starting. This is Amtrak Train #288 which only operates on Sundays. Seen arriving in Depew approximately 45 minutes late, the train is powered by P32AC-DM #706. The train operates in place of Train #284 and is a complete set of Metroliner Cars. At 7 cars long, the train features 2 Snack cars and 5 Amfleet I Coaches. Now as to why the train arrived 45 minutes late, well the train hit some sort of "debris" on the tracks shortly after leaving Niagara Falls. Because of this, a break line was broken on one of the cars and required fixing. A crew was dispatched out of Niagara Falls to replace the break line, and inspect the train before it was allowed to continue on its journey. We shouldn't feel too bad because Amtrak Train #63, was stopped waiting for 288 to get fixed!! When it arrived, there was a crowd of a handful of people including myself waiting to get on.
   I boarded the train and headed to my seat in Amfleet I Coach #21712. I was very impressed with the way this car was decorated. The seats had their new blue upholstery that Amtrak is slowly adding to all of its Amfleet Cars, and the seats had footrests and AC outlets. The car also had a digital reader board at each end of the car stating where the bathrooms and cafe were located. Between Buffalo and Rochester, I struck up an interesting conversation with the Conductor and we chatted about Amtrak and railroading in general. Just before our station stop in Rochester, I headed back to my coach seat to enjoy a Pepperoni Pizza and an ice cold Molson Export. We would then stop in Syracuse and the train would sit there for 10 minutes so that passengers who chose to do so, could take a smoking break, since smoking isn't permitted on the train. We left Syracuse, then made stops in Rome and Utica. We arrived in Utica just before sunset and were now going to enter the "pretty" part of the trip to New York. What do I mean by "pretty"? Well, we now began following the Erie Canal and the Mohawk River through the beautiful Adirondack Mountains and it is just an amazing site. The mountains, valleys and little towns along the way are really neat to see and I still could see enough even though it was already past sunset.
   At approximately 8:45pm, I arrived in Amsterdam, my destination for this leg of the trip, almost 40 minutes late but I really didn't care. When I stepped off the train, I was greeted by some members of the Greater Capital District Railfan Association including Armand C., Bill Ensinger, Mike Cole, Mike Kristie, Kurt Leuchauer, and Darryl Lathers. Rich Heise called us as we all took turns chatting with him for at least an hour and a half. Most of us would end up staying at the Amtrak Station until around 12:30am. We felt it was important to stay at the station until Amtrak Train #49, the Lake Shore Limited passed by the station. For some reason that night, Train #49 was running 3 and a half hours late out of Albany, for reasons nobody really knows. We should have seen it around 9pm but oh well. It finally flew through Amsterdam at around 60mph at 12:15am. We decided to call it quits after that because Kurt and Armand had to work early and Bill and I wanted to be back at the station early enough to catch Amtrak Train #284.