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Segment 2: Sandusky, OH To Chicago, IL On Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited
Fall Amtrak Vacation Trip 2004:
Sandusky, OH To Chicago, IL
On Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited
Monday, September 27th, 2004

Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited in Chicago, IL heading into the yard after it's Chicago Arrival.
The train would now head into the yard for servicing and turning to become tonight's Train #48.


   I woke up around 1:00am and got ready to leave the hotel, my taxi was scheduled to pick me up at 2:00am, I called a different company this time because of the last one having never shown up. The reason I had left the hotel so early was because cab service in Sandusky, OH is very spartan overnight and thus I wasn’t sure I could get a cab any later than 2am! Around 2:10am, the taxi arrived, I checked out of the hotel and headed over to the Amtrak Station, there were a few people there who were waiting to catch the Capitol Limited which was due into town at 5:24am. My train, #49 was to have arrived at 4:02am if it was on time, but the Lake Shore once again lived up to it’s name of “Late For Sure Limited” as it was running over an hour late.
   Several more passengers arrived at the station, which has an enclosed waiting room, a nice thing to have as it was getting rather cold. There is a little catch though with regards to this waiting room. First, the waiting room is open during the day but locked up at night, requiring you to call the local police department who will come over to the station after hours and unlock it for you, fair enough. The problem with all of this is that Amtrak services Sandusky, OH with 4 trains per day, (The Capitol and Lake Shore Eastbound and Westbound), all of which operate between Midnight and 6am, when the waiting room is normally locked! I never really understood that!
   I called the police to request they come and unlock the waiting room and a rather large crowd of passengers followed me into the waiting room which was very warm and comfortable. I kept calling Julie to check the train status periodically, but much to many passenger’s disappointment, Train #49 kept losing time, and would now be running later than the Capitol! At 5:40am, the Capitol Limited, Train #29 arrived into Sandusky and about half of the passengers boarded to head for Chicago on that train.
At 5:51am, running 1 hour and 49 minutes late, Train #49 arrived into Sandusky with P42’s #150 and 161 for power. There were more passengers boarding this train than there were boarding the Capitol so we sat in Sandusky for about 6 minutes before we left at 5:57am. The consist for today's train is shown at the bottom of this page.
   Today’s train had absolutely no box cars, reefers, or road railers on the rear end, as evidenced by Amtrak’s elimination of Mail & Express that will be completed in the coming months. I had a quick conversation with the crew and showed them my web site stored on my laptop, I also met up with a conductor whom I’ve rode with many times on the Lake Shore along with the Empire Service trains back home, he was on his way to visit family out West. Toledo, OH was the next stop, which was a service stop and crew change point for the Lake Shore, our conductors got off the train who had been running the train since Buffalo and a new crew boarded. We would end up making “special” stops in both Elkhart and Hammond-Whiting, IN, two stations that are not normally served by this train, likely because the train had passengers on it who may have boarded this train by mistake instead of Train #29 which does serve both of those stations.
   After we left Toledo, I was off to breakfast in the dining car, I had the pancakes, with sausage, hash browns and a croissant with orange juice to drink, all delicious, the total price was $9.75 for breakfast. I met a couple from Michigan who were on their way home and were sleeping car passengers.
   I went back to the Café Car to type up some more of this travelogue but ended up having a good conversation with a few other passengers about Amtrak and such while I waited for my cell phone to recharge as well. The coach I was in on this train, Amfleet II # 25071 had no AC outlets at each seat so the café car was my only way to plug in my computer or charge the cell phone. We left Bryan, OH at 7:55am, now 1 hour and 49 minutes late. Next stop was Waterloo, IN where we left there at now 7:18am, having gained 5 minutes to be only 1 hour and 44 minutes late. The state of Indiana does not observe Daylight Savings Time, thus we were technically still in the Eastern Time Zone but on Eastern Standard Time rather than Eastern Daylight Time. My cell phone automatically switched itself back an hour so I would only have to change my watch (which I was too lazy to do anyway!)
On the entire NS portion of the Chicago Line, they call all signals, which for the railfan helps you to identify where you are. I also used my GPS from time to time to chart our course, for the most part, we ran around 79mph most of the way, until just outside of Chicago. Our next stop was South Bend, IN where a few people took a very quick smoking break on the platform as we were there maybe a couple minutes and left at 8:37am, running 1 hour and 51 minutes late. We made our unscheduled stops back in Elkhart and in Hammond-Whiting, both lasting less than a minute. The passenger sitting across from me was becoming concerned that he would miss his connecting train which was to leave at 10:30am for Wisconsin where he lived, he found out from the conductor that he wouldn’t make the connection but to contact passenger services in Chicago as they would take care of everything. We were now running at maybe 10 or 15mph for the last 15 miles or so to Chicago! Finally at 10:40am, we arrived into Chicago Union Station 1 hour and 45 minutes late.
   I immediately went inside and tried to find a locker to rent to store my luggage, I knew these things were pricey but it would end up costing me $12.00 to rent the locker for 3 hours! It was worth it though because my luggage was heavy and I was about to be “on a mission from God” as Dan Aykroyd said in the movie “The Blues Brothers” which took place in Chicago. Part of my “mission” was to go to Roosevelt Avenue and photograph the Chicago Skyline as well as Amtrak and Metra Commuter Trains. After I locked up my luggage, I was told where to go to get to Roosevelt Avenue, which ended up being about a 10 block walk from Union Station, but it was worth every step! To see photos from one of the hottest railfanning spots in all of Chicago, please click in the table at the bottom of this page.

Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited - Monday, September 27th, 2004 - 60 Axles
Car/Engine Type:
Heritage Baggage
Baggage Car (From Boston)
Viewliner Sleeper
Wayside 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
American View
Sleeping Car (From New York)
Viewliner Sleeper
Atlantic View
Sleeping Car (From New York)
Heritage 10/6 Sleeper
Pine Creek
Crew Sleeper (From New York)
Heritage Baggage
Baggage Car (From New York)