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Segment 4: Boston To Buffalo On Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited

Fall Amtrak Trip 2003
Boston, MA To Buffalo, NY
On Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited
Thursday, September 25th, 2003

Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited - Boston Section
Seen In Springfield, MA - September 25th, 2003

   I woke up around 7:00am, I started to pack things up in the room and got a quick shower before heading out to breakfast at a local McDonald’s. I picked up some Diet Pepsi at a local Shaw’s grocery store before heading back to the hotel to check out and catch the Red Line Subway back to South Station. After getting to South Station, I walked out to the platform where a Red Cap assisted me with my luggage right away before I boarded the train, it was about 11:35am and so I had a few minutes to get settled into my coach and walk down the platform to write down car numbers as today’s train was in fact a little different than yesterday’s Train #448 as one of the coaches was bad-ordered and replaced. The consist for today's train is listed at the bottom of this page.
   We left Boston on time at 11:50am. We slowly left the station then stopped at the Boston-Back Bay Station where we left at 11:58am, 3 minutes late. At CP-3, we encountered a signal problem which caused us to have to get permission from the CSX NA Dispatcher to pass the stop signal, the same thing happened again at CP-4 which puzzled the Dispatcher, but he gave us the permission again to pass that signal. Between CP-3 and CP-4 is CSX’s Beacon Park Yard where there were a few trains parked. We got into Framingham, our next stop which is also an MBTA Commuter Rail Stop. We left there at 12:40pm, 17 minutes late. Between Framingham and Worcester, we overtook one Van Train. We left our next stop at Worcester, MA at 1:10pm, 17 minutes late. We would then have 4 flags and speed restrictions ahead between Worcester and Springfield so this could possibly prove to make things interesting as we continue on. I took a quick break and had a Caesar Salad and a Hebrew National Hot Dog in the café car before heading back to my coach seat for a bit.
   We arrived into Springfield at 2:18pm, only 13 minutes late. This was a designated smoking break for passengers who just had to light up. I took the opportunity to photograph the train as it sat in the station. I took about half a dozen slides of the train before re-boarding. We were out of Springfield at 2:26pm now running 16 minutes late. I heard the new Dragging Equipment Detector at West Springfield which now “proudly” said “CSX Equipment Defect Detector”, I like the old Conrail ones myself. Near Milepost 109, we had to stop to let an Eastbound CSX Freight pass us, it was Q-264. I must say when you start to ride through the Berkshire Mountains, its quite a beautiful sight! Those tall mountains add to the nice scenery you’ll see during this part of the trip, and best of all, whether you ride East or West, this section of the trip is almost always in daylight!
   We left Pittsfield, MA at 3:56pm now running 32 minutes late. We had yet a few more flags we had to pass through which slowed us down but thanks to generous schedule padding, it didn’t hurt us too badly. It started raining pretty good at this point. By the time we switched over to the Post Road Branch, we had a 60mph speed restriction for the length of the branch. We made up some time and arrived into Albany-Rensselaer at 5:09pm, 19 minutes late. An announcement was made saying we could get off the train and go inside the station to take a breather. I grabbed my camera bag and headed inside the station to get some snacks and a Diet Pepsi. After spending a few minutes in the station and using the ATM, I decided to head back to the train when the gate opened so we could do so. I walked the platform and took down car numbers on the New York Section. I then reboarded and at 6:10pm, we were out of Albany, only 5 minutes late. Only a handful of people boarded my coach, but still, the Boston Section was rather empty. We left Schenectady at 6:40pm, now running on time. I decided to head to the Dining Car at this time for dinner since no announcement had been made.
   We had Heritage Diner #8530, a full Temoinsa Rebuilt Heritage Diner. I had the Meat Loaf which was tonight’s special dish, along with Mixed Veggies and Mashed Potatoes with a Diet Pepsi to drink and Chocolate Bombe for desert. The total cost for dinner was $16.50. Service was slow in the diner as we ended up being seated and ate and talked and talked some more, we went through Utica while still being in the car, left there at 8:02pm, 5 minutes late. We had desert then finally at Syracuse, we left the Dining Car when they finally gave us our checks. I sat with 2 passengers from New Hampshire along with one from Massachusetts. After going back to my coach, I got out my laptop and brought it into the café car. When I set up my computer, there were 4 drunk passengers on the other end of the seating area causing a ruckus in the car. The Conductor told them to stop drinking and ultimately asked them to leave the car altogether. Shortly after that, the Conductor called the Engineer who notified the CSX ND Dispatcher that we needed to stop the train in Lyons, NY in order to put two of the drunk passengers off the train. At the road crossing we stopped at were Police Officers from the Lyons Police Department as well as County Sheriffs who most likely arrested the two unruly passengers. One thing to remember, if a passenger starts causing trouble on the train that could endanger the safety of other passengers or the train crew or both, the Conductor does have the right to put the problematic passenger off the train, with no refund. Quickly after that bit of excitement, we were on our way, with our next stop in Rochester some 43 miles away. The rest of the way to Rochester was rather uneventful as there wasn’t much freight traffic to speak of. We left Rochester at 10:45pm, 16 minutes late. The Throttle really opened up wide as we did 80mph most of the way back to Buffalo. By now, my coach had maybe 6 people left in it, but I was told by the car host that it would fill up again in Buffalo, this may just have to do with how Amtrak places passengers depending on their destination, in specific parts of the train. After passing the Lancaster Hot Box Detector, I gathered up my bags and headed for the vestibule. At 11:35pm, running 5 minutes EARLY, we arrived into Buffalo-Depew Station, and so comes to a close, my 28th trip on Amtrak.



   This trip almost never happened due to the forces of nature we can’t control. I was glad to have been able to get this trip going so I guess I have to be grateful that Greyhound Bus didn’t cancel any buses in this area. I was seriously glad to be off that bus though by the time I got to Sandusky, OH because let’s face it, a bus isn’t a train, period. You really can’t get up and walk around on a bus, plus the seats are smaller and not as comfortable as a train.
   Cedar Point was great as always this year and I will be back again next year because there’s something truly special about that place that keeps people coming back year after year. I’m not sure if it’s the roller coasters, the food, the rides, or just the overall environment. I always feel as if I leave a piece of my heart there every year and I just have to come back to see what’s new. After all, Cedar Point was my home for 5 months in 2001, so I’ve gotten to know the place very well over the years.
   Visiting our Nation’s Capitol is something everyone should do at least once, it’s a very American thing to do. To see the White House in person is an experience one will remember for a lifetime. All of the major historical buildings are within Walking Distance or at least accessible via tour buses and trolleys that run continuously all day. Washington, D.C. also has a very extensive Subway System that will take you anywhere you want to go.
Riding Amtrak’s Capitol Limited was a great experience, the onboard service was excellent and the Dining Car Food was top notch! The scenery through the Appalachian Mountains is breathtaking and can be seen for the most part in daylight on the way to Washington which is great. Amtrak’s overnight train on the Northeast Corridor, The Federal, is a nice service also, it allows you to sleep on the train and be fully rested when you arrive into Boston or DC, depending on where you board, the next morning.
   Boston was great, visiting the original bar that inspired the TV Series “Cheers” was a thrill. How many people can say they’ve visited that bar? (Unless you live in Boston and regularly go there) The Northeast Corridor is the place to see some of America’s finest High-Speed Trains, that of which I’ve had the privilege of riding on in the past.
Overall, this was a great trip, despite the bus ride in the beginning. As always, I encourage everyone to get out and take a ride on Amtrak, you’ll have a great time, as I usually always do, even in situations where things can get a little crazy. Until next time, when I take my final trip in 2003, Happy Railfanning…

Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited - Thursday, September 25th, 2003 - 86 Axles
Car/Engine Type:
Power (NYP-ALB)
Heritage Baggage
Baggage (From Boston)
Viewliner Sleeper
Shore View
Sleeping Car (From Boston)
Amfleet II Coach
Coach (From Boston)
Amfleet I Coach
Coach (Capstone Rebuild) (From Boston) (My Car)
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
Colonial View
Sleeping Car (From New York)
Viewliner Sleeper
Harbor View
Sleeping Car (From New York)
Heritage 10/6 Sleeper
Pacific Park
Crew Dorm/Lounge Car (From New York)
Heritage Baggage
Baggage Car (From New York)
Express-Trak Reefer
Amtrak Box Car
Road Railers (7)