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Sandusky, OH To Chicago, IL On Amtrak's Capitol Limited
Tuesday, September 27th, 2011:
  I woke up around 2:00am to prepare for my next train which would be Train #29 - The Capitol Limited. The train was running on time since originating yesterday afternoon in Washington, DC so my hope was that it would continue to be on time. I checked out of my hotel at around 3:00am and took a taxi over to the Amtrak station in Sandusky only to find a rather large group of passengers forming there who were Cedar Point employees from Europe who were heading home (CP hires a lot of international students to work at the park and many use the train to arrive into and depart from town since many fly into destinations like New York and/or Chicago)! I talked to people from Bulgaria and Macedonia while waiting for my train! Some of the passengers were riding other trains so I checked their train statuses for them using on my BlackBerry before heading outside to get ready for my train. At 4:01am, running 1 minute early, Train #29 arrived with P42DC #89 on the head end. The consist for today's train is shown below:
Heritage Baggage
Baggage Car
Superliner II Transition Sleeper
2909 - Crew Sleeper
Superliner II Sleeping Car
2901 - Sleeping Car
Superliner II Sleeping Car
2900 - Sleeping Car
Superliner I Dining Car
Dining Car
Superliner II Sightseer Lounge
Lounge/Cafe Car
Superliner I Coach/Baggage
Superliner I Coach
Coach (My Car)
Superliner I Snack Coach
  I was one of only a few people who boarded this particular train today at Sandusky. The Assistant Conductor collected my ticket just after I boarded and ended up knowing me from this web site! I chatted with him briefly then went upstairs to find my seat (Seat 7 Aisle) in Superliner I Coach #34028. For whatever reason, today's train had a snack coach on it but the lower level wasn't being used for food service as the train already has a Sightseer Lounge. This likely could have been due to an equipment shortage that this train had one of these instead of a regular coach. We departed Sandusky on time at 4:02am. I walked to the dining car and started talking with the Conductor whom I rode with several years ago on the Lake Shore Limited! We both recognized each other and he told me he's been working on the Capitol now for the last 5 years. I chatted with him briefly. The AC and I then went back to the lounge car as the Dining Car staff was now reporting to work to get the car open for breakfast. I chatted further with the AC in the lounge car until about 10 minutes outside of Toledo, OH, our next stop. We had a few people in my coach getting off the train in Toledo so I left one of my bags on the floor on the lower level of my coach until I was able to put it on the shelf at Toledo. We arrived at Toledo 10 minutes early at 4:52am!!! Toledo is a service stop/crew change point for the train so we got a new crew here. The new AC today was the same one I rode with last year and we recognized each other right away! I chatted with our new AC while having a Diet Pepsi on the platform in Toledo while a few other passengers smoked. We departed Toledo on time at 5:22am.
  I then got out the computer and headed to the lounge car to continue writing this travelogue. After writing the travelogue for awhile, I headed back to my coach seat to listen to the scanner and relax until the dining car opened for breakfast. We made our next stop at Waterloo, IN making a double spot there before departing at 6:45am running 9 minutes late. As we meandered across Indiana, I headed to the dining car around 7:00am for breakfast as it was now open. I was seated with a couple from near Philadelphia, PA and another passenger, not sure where he was from. I ordered the Railroad French Toast with Pork Sausage Patties and Home Fries with Orange Juice and Diet Pepsi. Breakfast cost $14.00 and all the food was good.
  The Capitol Limited finally has a normal dining car again as this car for a long time was running with a diner-lounge configured car that was being used as a dining car. A few Superliner Diners were rebuilt using last year's Economic Stimulus money so now this train has its normal diner back! We made our next station stop in South Bend, IN and departed at 7:56am only 5 minutes late. I headed to the Sightseer Lounge and met up with another railfan who had a couple atlases to help figure out where we were. I pulled out my BlackBerry and started up the VZ Navigator to help with figuring out exactly where we were. We had a brief stop in Chesterton, IN before proceeding, not sure why. We then went through a lengthy slow period which was because we were waiting for a train in front of us in Porter, IN. We would eventually pass the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, nice area! At about CP-503, Amtrak Train #350 passed us going east to Michigan. Once arriving at Chicago Union Station, we would pull straight in on Track #22. As we pulled into Amtrak's coach yards, I saw one of the 40th Anniversary P42's sitting in the yard. This one was the Phase IV-painted #184 which I had yet to see! At 8:50am running 5 minutes late, we arrived at Chicago Union Station. I was able to get a quick picture of the train before heading inside to the Metropolitan Lounge (you saw it at the top of this page) so as to store my luggage as I now wanted to get in some railfanning at Roosevelt Road. And now, here's some photos taken along the route of the Capitol Limited along with a railfanning report from Roosevelt Road!!!