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Segment 3: Boston To Schenectady by Bus & The Lake Shore Limited

Summer Railfanning Trip 2003:
Segment 3: Boston, MA To Schenectady, NY
On An Amtrak Bustitution & Lake Shore Limited
Tuesday, August 5th, 2003

BUSTITUTION: What happens when a freight railroad decides to do such an exorbitant amount of trackwork that it would make an Amtrak Train lose a sick amount of time thus resulting in Amtrak having to switch your train to a bus, therefore driving most railfans nuts! Below is a before and after example:

When Freight Railroad is NOT doing massive trackwork:
When Freight Railroad IS doing massive trackwork:
   The above example happened on this trip. Back on July 9th, 2003 I got a nasty phone call (Actually, Amtrak was quite friendly and professional on the phone, the call was only nasty because it effected my trip!) stating that due to trackwork, Train #449 would be replaced by a bus. The bus would follow the Train's schedule and be symboled #3449. It was due to leave Boston at 11:50am and arrive in Albany at 4:50pm where the train would pick us up and continue on its regular route West. Putting all kidding aside, to Amtrak's credit, they at least had enough decency to call me and inform me about this ahead of time instead of "surprising me" once I was in the middle of my trip. I tried my hardest not to let it bother me as I really had planned to ride this train to cover trackage I had yet to cover otherwise (I haven't rode on the B&A between Boston and Springfield yet!) Below is a brief portion of the travelogue describing the events of our great (really really boring) ride on the Massachusetts Turnpike (Oh Great Interstate 90, here we come!)
   I got my wake-up call at 9:00am, what was described as an “Official Tom Bodette Motel 6 Wake-Up Call”, goofy but it serves the purpose. I headed over to a nearby Burger King for a quick breakfast, then ran over to get some luggage locks before getting back to the hotel to check out. I left the hotel about 1 hour before my bus was scheduled to leave for Albany. I rode another Red Line Subway back to Boston-South Station and arrived about 20 minutes before my bus was to leave. I headed over to the Amtrak Ticket Counter where I found a handful of other passengers scheduled to take this bus. The ticket agent made a boarding call and an Amtrak crew member directed us to the buses which were parked on the street. Crystal Transport provided the 2 buses and about 6 Amtrak Crew members including the Lead Service Attendant, Conductor, Assistant Conductor and car hosts greeted passengers and passed out Boxed Lunches to everyone as well as cans of pop. A car host had remembered me from yesterday as he was on 48. The lunch I had consisted of a Turkey & Swiss Sandwich, a bag of Ruffles Potato Chips and a little package of Oreo Cookies. I had a Diet Pepsi to drink. This was nice of Amtrak since everyone got a free lunch, not just Sleeper Car passengers. The bus driver took my 2 suitcases and placed them under the bus, I kept my camera bag with me along with my umbrella. The conductor came by and took our tickets and we departed Boston at 11:55am. We took a route that had us ride through part of Boston’s “Big Dig” a huge underground tunnel. Each bus would end up taking a slightly different route. I happened to be on the bus that would only stop in Pittsfield, MA before going to Albany. The other bus made the rest of the intermediate stops on the route. We took the Massachusetts Turnpike (Interstate 90) practically the whole way to Pittsfield before getting off there. Both buses had to follow the train’s schedule so by the time we arrived into Pittsfield, it was 2:25pm, and we had to stay there until 3:24pm. A good number of passengers got off the bus to smoke, while myself and a passenger from Michigan walked up to some street in Pittsfield in search of a regular bathroom instead of the “restroom in a bucket” on the bus! We found a Bagel Shop and went there, used the bathroom and I bought a bottle of Tropicana Juice and a Diet Pepsi. I walked back to the bus, and took a few slides. A new station is being built in Pittsfield to serve Amtrak as well as Greyhound Bus. I hope that Amtrak is considering expanding service on this line in the future since the new station looks to be very large for such a small city as Pittsfield.
   Promptly at 3:24pm, we reboarded the bus and left Pittsfield. We meandered our way up a bunch of back roads and eventually got back out to Interstate 90 at the New York/Massachusetts border. Our next and final stop on this bus was Albany-Rensselaer. We arrived there some 20 minutes early at 4:30pm. I picked up my luggage and headed inside the station since we wouldn’t be leaving until 6:05pm. I had Amtrak hold my 2 suitcases and umbrella so I could get out and do some railfanning. I knew nobody was allowed on the platforms so I settled for overhead views only from the adjoining street overpass, as well as the overhead corridor that has large picture windows good for photography.
   I noticed Train #449 pulling out of the Rensselaer Yard and Shops and backing up to the platform on the Main Track. Shortly after, Train #49 later arrived with P32AC-DM #705 pulling it. Train #49 would pull into the #2 Track platform where its passengers could get off and take a breather. A boarding call for passengers on Train #449 was made saying we could board the train at this time. I got all my bags together and took the escalator to the platform and quickly got a slide of Train #49 before boarding my coach, Amfleet II #25008. The consist for tonight’s train is listed at the bottom of this page.
   We left Albany-Rensselaer at around 6:20pm, I had a chat with a couple passengers, one who had a 3 week old baby girl with her (amazing, it took me 13 years to get my first train ride and it takes this kid 13 days!) We passed by the Rensselaer Shops where there was 2 Turboliner Train Sets along with 1 F40, 1 Coach, a couple P32AC-DM’s and a few MP15 Switchers. This would be my shortest leg of the trip as I would be getting off at the next stop in Schenectady. The Dining Car Host came into our coach and informed everyone of what was available for dinner. The conductor came by and informed us of where to get off in Schenectady. I got all my stuff together and we arrived in Schenectady at around 6:55pm. I took a few slides of the train while stopped in Schenectady before I headed inside the station. Rich showed up along with our friend Armand and we decided to head to Rich’s where I would be staying tonight, then the 3 of us went to Canali’s Restaurant in Rotterdam. After dinner, we went back to Rich’s and watched a couple railroad videos, before Armand left and I set up my computer to get online, I then went to bed and so ends Day 2 of the trip.

A deep creek somewhere past Worcester, as viewed from my bus window.

At Pittsfield, we waited for about an hour as we had run that far ahead of schedule. The other of 2 buses made the rest of the intermediate stops whereas our bus only had to stop in Pittsfield.

The new Transportation Center currently under construction. Once open, it will house Amtrak as well as Greyhound Bus Service in Pittsfield.

The "Welcome To New York" Sign on Interstate 90. Ahh, the little things we photograph on "road trips"!

Amtrak Train #291 with P32AC-DM #714 for power arrives into Albany-Rensselaer Station at 5:07pm on Track #1.
Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited - Tuesday, August 5th, 2003 - 82 Axles
Car/Engine Type:
Power (From Boston)
Power (From Boston)
Power (New York To Albany)
Heritage Baggage
Baggage (From Boston)
Viewliner Sleeper
"Winter View"
Sleeping Car (From Boston)
Amfleet II Coach
Coach (From Boston)
Amfleet II Coach
Coach (From Boston)
Amfleet I Cafe Car
Cafe Car (From Boston)
Amfleet II Coach
Coach (From New York)
Amfleet II Coach
Coach (From New York)
Amfleet II Coach
Coach (From New York)
Heritage Diner
Dining Car (From New York)
Viewliner Sleeper
"Patriot View"
Sleeping Car (From New York)
Viewliner Sleeper
"Forest View"
Sleeping Car (From New York)
Heritage 10/6 Sleeper
"Pacific Patrol"
Crew Dorm/Lounge Car (From New York)
Heritage Baggage
Baggage Car (From New York)
Road Railers (4)
 Crystal Transport
MCI Passenger Bus (Boston To Albany)