Facebook Page

Lake Shore - October, 2006

By Daniel Chazin,

    It’s 6:55 p.m. on Wednesday, October 18, 2006, and I’m in the Metropolitan Lounge of Chicago Union Station, about to board the Lake Shore Limited on my way back to New York.  

    I arrived in Chicago at 3:02 p.m. this afternoon on the Texas Eagle.  I immediately walked over to the Metropolitan Lounge and checked in, then took out my computer to sign online and check my e-mail messages.  I found that the Metropolitan Lounge has now been equipped with wireless Internet, so I didn’t need to use a dial-up connection via a phone jack (which is how I have signed online in the past at the Metropolitan Lounge).  I spent about 45 minutes checking my messages and replying to some, and then decided to go for a walk outside.  It was a dreary day, and it was even drizzling, so I just walked across the street to the CVS and quickly returned to the station.  I came back via the Great Hall, where I discovered that all of the benches had been removed (presumably, temporarily, for some event).  I had thought about taking a ride on a Metra line that I had not previously ridden, but decided against it for several reasons.  Instead, I just returned to the Metropolitan Lounge and waited there for my connecting train to New York.            

    I noticed on the electronic arrivals board that two trains would be arriving rather late.  First, the California Zephyr, Train #6, which was scheduled to arrive at 3:20 p.m., was now shown with an estimated arrival time of 7:30 p.m.  And the Wolverine from Detroit, Train #353, scheduled to arrive at 4:35 p.m., was also shown as having been delayed.  In the case of Train #353, the arrivals board indicated that the delay was due to “freight train congestion.”  It is rather unusual to indicate the cause of the delay on these arrival boards, and I wondered why Amtrak had taken the trouble to set forth the cause of the delay to this one particular train.  

    When I first checked in at the Metropolitan Lounge, I was told to return no later than 7:00 p.m.  Usually, though, boarding for a train begins no more than 30 minutes before departure.  I was quite surprised when a boarding call for our train was made at 6:55 p.m., a full hour before our scheduled departure.  Passengers needing Red Cap assistance were requested to assemble at the front desk, while the others were asked to gather at the rear door of the lounge, which leads directly out to the tracks.  About 25 people assembled at the rear door, and we were soon escorted out and down to Track 24, where our train was waiting.

    My sleeper, Forest View, was the second passenger car on the train, so I had to walk past nine other cars to reach it.  As I walked down the rather narrow platform between Tracks 22 and 24, I noticed a train with Horizon equipment pulling into the station on Track 22.  Passengers soon began to detrain, and one of the passengers confirmed that this was the delayed Wolverine, Train #353, which had arrived over two and one-half hours late.  When I reached my sleeper (the second of the three sleeping cars on the train), I boarded the train and stowed all of my belongings in my Room #2.  More than half an hour remained before the scheduled departure of our train, so I detrained and walked down to the front of the train to finish recording the consist.

    Tonight’s Lake Shore Limited is pulled by engines #145 and #165 and includes a baggage car, a crew dorm car, three Viewliner sleepers, a dining car, a lounge car and six Amfleet II coaches.  Only the first four coaches are actually being used; the last two coaches are deadheading.  Since we had plenty of time before our departure, I walked back again to the rear of the train and then returned to my sleeper.  By this time, about 7:25 p.m., boarding had commenced for coach passengers.

    Soon, the dining car steward came by to take reservations for dinner.  She assigned me to the 8:45 p.m. sitting.

    We pulled out of Union Station at 7:56 p.m., only one minute late.  Soon after we started moving, I walked to the rear of the train.  I found that the entire train – both sleepers and coaches – was quite full.  The attendant had confirmed that every room was occupied in my sleeper, and just about every room in the third sleeper also appeared to be full.  There was a long line for service in the lounge car, and at least one person was sitting at every table.  As for the coaches, nearly every pair of seats in all four coaches that were open was occupied by at least one person, and the vast majority had passengers in both seats.  When I walked by the attendant in the third coach (in which virtually every seat was taken), he commented that the train was not supposed to be this full, but many passengers arriving on the California Zephyr, which did not arrive in Chicago until after 7:00 p.m., had missed their connection to the Capitol Limited and had to be reaccommodated on our train.  The crowded condition of our train tonight was quite a contrast to the situation on the Texas Eagle last night.  I was really glad that I had a sleeper for this leg of the trip!

    Soon after my assigned dinner time of 8:45 p.m., I walked down to the dining car.  I found, somewhat to my surprise, that all tables were pretty full, and that several people were waiting at the end of the car for seats to open up.  After waiting for about five minutes, I was seated next to a man who lives in Rochester and was returning from a trip to Rugby, North Dakota to visit a friend.  He mentioned that he had traveled by coach for most of the way, but did get a sleeper for tonight because he knew that the Amfleet coaches on this train are not nearly as comfortable as the Superliner coaches on the Empire Builder.  Opposite me sat a couple from Austin, Texas who were on a two-week trip to visit their three daughters, all of whom are going to college.  They had flown to Chicago to visit one daughter who is attending the Art Institute of Chicago, and now were on their way to Syracuse, where they would be renting a car and driving first to Ithaca, to visit a second daughter attending Cornell, and then to Boston to visit the third daughter, who is attending Harvard.  The husband (who is an anethesiologist by profession) pointed out that they found that the cost of flying from Chicago to Syracuse was extremely high, and that even though they were occupying a deluxe bedroom on the train, they actually saved money, when the fact that they would have also had to spend another night in a hotel is taken into consideration.  This was his first ride on Amtrak, and he and his wife seemed to be having a great time.

    I had a chicken dinner, which was quite good.  The same attractive plastic plates that were used on the Texas Eagle were also used in the dining car on the Lake Shore.  At the conclusion of dinner, when asked by the steward what they thought of the food, my table mates’ comments ranged from “very good” to “excellent.”

    Since this was the first Amtrak trip for the doctor from Austin, I spent some time talking to him and his wife about other Amtrak routes that they might enjoy.  We remained in the dining car for about an hour and a half, during which we stopped at South Bend at 10:42 p.m. and Elkhart at 11:18 p.m. (both are Eastern Time).  When we departed Elkhart two minutes later, we were 33 minutes late.  Although we seemed to be moving ahead at a steady pace, we must have lost some time along the way.

    We remained in the dining car until about 11:30 p.m., having spent about an hour and 15 minutes enjoying our meal.  Passengers were seated as late as 10:45 p.m., and some people were still eating when we left the diner.  I now once more walked to the rear of the train.  The coaches were, if anything, even more full than they had been earlier in the evening, but the lounge car was fairly empty, with no line at the counter, and only a few tables occupied.  I met my dining companion, the doctor, in the lounge car, where he was purchasing another drink (he already had one to accompany his dinner), and he remarked that he thought the car was quite nice.  Of course, the Amfleet lounge cars used on this train do not begin to compare to the magnificent reconditioned Superliner Sightseer Lounge car that I had just enjoyed on the Texas Eagle!

    I returned to my room and started writing these memoirs, but soon began to feel quite tired and decided to go to sleep.  While I was at dinner, the attendant had pulled down the upper berth, which is where I always sleep when occupying a Viewliner sleeper.  However, I had a “backwards-facing” room, and the bed was made up with my feet in the rear of the train and my head in front.  I don’t like to sleep this way, so I rearranged the bedding so that my head would be in the rear.  It is a little tricky to do this, as the end of the berth designed for your head is wider than the end designed for your feet, but I succeeded in doing so nonetheless.  I climbed into bed just as we were arriving at Waterloo, where we made two stops – one for sleeping car passengers, and one for coach passengers (we had arrived at the track that is not adjacent to the platform, so everyone had to board the train on a single crossover).  I noticed about 12 passengers who were waiting to board the train in Waterloo.  When we departed Waterloo at 12:13 a.m., we were 33 minutes late.

    I must have fallen asleep pretty quickly, as I missed our stop at Bryan, where we are scheduled to arrive 19 minutes after departing Waterloo.  During the night, I would wake up every hour or two, but quickly fell asleep again.  We seemed to be proceeding ahead at a steady pace, with no delays for freight trains.  I found my upper level accommodations quite comfortable, although I probably could have used an extra blanket.

    I woke up as we were pulling into the Toledo station at 1:27 a.m.  I fell asleep again, but woke up at 1:45 a.m., as we were departing the station.  The timetable allots half an hour for the stop at Toledo, but that must be a relic of the days when express cars were switched on and off the train in Toledo.  Amtrak has since abandoned the express business, and there is no need for such a long stop any more.  We were now only 15 minutes late.

    I slept through our stops in Sandusky and Elyria, but awoke at 4:02 a.m. and found that we were sitting in the Cleveland station.  The train is scheduled to arrive in Cleveland at 4:02 a.m., so we must have arrived a few minutes early!  We pulled out of the station at 4:09 a.m., one minute early.

    I missed our stop in Erie, Pennsylvania, but awoke about 6:15 a.m.  It was still dark out, and I had no idea where we were.  After a while, I turned on the scanner and, at 6:54 a.m., heard a defect detector announce that we had just passed Bayport.  Looking at my SPV Rail Atlas, I discovered that we were about 12 miles from Buffalo, where we were scheduled to arrive at 7:05 a.m.  So it seemed that we were still just about on time!

    But this was to be the end of our on-time performance today.  At 7:05 a.m., just before we reached CP 437, where we curve to the right and resume heading east, we came to a stop.  An announcement was made by the conductor that we were stopped at a signal, and he apologized for the delay.  Not until 7:20 a.m. did we start moving again.  We immediately passed the hulk of the huge abandoned Buffalo Central Terminal, the magnificent rail station for Buffalo, opened in 1929 and abandoned 50 years later.  Some efforts are being made to restore it, and I recalled passing through the station in the late 1960s, when it was still in service, but only partially.

    It was now getting light out, and I knew that we would soon be arriving at the Buffalo-Depew Amtrak station, which had been announced as a smoking stop.  So I quickly got dressed and, when we arrived at the station at 7:30 a.m., I stepped off from my car and walked up to the front of the train to take a picture of the engine.  As I reached the first sleeper, the conductor motioned everyone to reboard the train, so I did so.  We departed at 7:37 a.m., and were now 22 minutes late.

    Soon, I decided to take a shower.  The shower in my sleeper appeared to be occupied, so I walked down to the first sleeper to use the shower there.  When I turned on the water, the flow appeared to be rather sparse, but the water was warm, so I stepped inside.  However, in less than a minute, before I had a chance to soap myself, the flow of water ended.  It seems that the shower had run out of water!  All I could do at this point was to dry off and try to find a shower in another car that was functioning properly.

    As I walked back into my car, I noticed the attendant making up my room.  She apologized and said that she thought that I had gone to breakfast.  I explained that I was just trying to take a shower, and she mentioned that a passenger had advised that the water in the shower in our car was cold.  So I proceeded to the third sleeper.  Here I found that the water was nice and warm, and although the flow of water was rather low at first, it soon increased to a more robust level.  I was able to enjoy a nice shower, the only problem being that I couldn’t find a bar of soap and had to use the liquid soap instead.

    I now returned to my room and got dressed.  When we arrived at Rochester at 8:31 a.m., I walked to the front of my car and noticed that the attendant had let a few passengers off, but was now closing the door.  I then went to the rear of the car, where another Amtrak employee was looking out the window.  When the attendant noticed this, she apologized for closing the door so fast and asked the person standing by the window to move over, so that I could take a picture.  Our stop in Rochester lasted for ten minutes, and when we departed at 8:41 a.m., we were 33 minutes late.

    In the meantime, someone walked through the car, announcing the “last call for breakfast.”  I had intended to go to the dining car about 9:00 a.m., which had previously been announced as the time that the dining car would close.  But hearing the “last call,” I decided that I better go to the dining car immediately.  

    When I walked into the dining car, I found three other people waiting at the end of the car to be seated.  The four of us were soon seated at a table.  Next to me sat a woman who is a professor at a college in Tucson.  She was attending a series of conferences, and had an extra day between a conference in Ann Arbor and another conference in Boston.  So rather than returning to Tucson in between, or spending an extra night at a hotel, she decided to take Amtrak from Ann Arbor to Boston instead.

    Opposite me sat a couple from Elgin, Illinois, both retired teachers.  They were on their way to Albany, where they would meet their son and daughter-in-law and drive to a resort in Massachusetts to spend a week together.  The husband commented that he often gets ill when traveling by air, and therefore either takes the train or drives whenever he travels.  Both this couple and the woman from Tucson were in the sleeping cars.

    The woman from Tucson was on the ill-fated Train #353 that arrived at Chicago Union Station last night over two and one-half hours late.  She told us that the train had been held by the dispatcher for two hours when they were only 15 minutes outside of Chicago!  She mentioned that the conductor was very frustrated with the performance of the dispatcher, that some passengers tried to get off the train and make their own way downtown (the conductors stopped them from doing so), and that some passengers missed their connections to the Capitol Limited as a result of this unreasonable delay.  Finally, she stated, the conductor informed the dispatcher that the hours of service of the engineer were about to expire, and only then did the dispatcher let the train proceed into Chicago Union Station!

    In the meantime, we were about to be subjected to a delay of a different sort.  Although we were seated in the dining car by 8:39 a.m. – even before we departed from Rochester – not until 9:09 a.m. did anyone come over to take our orders.  It took another 15 minutes for the attendant to bring juice and coffee to the table, and not until 9:44 a.m. did the main meals arrive.  I can’t recall any other instance I have experienced when it took over an hour to have food served to you in the dining car of a train.  We were in no great rush, and we very much enjoyed the conversation among the four of us, but it turned out that it was not at all necessary for me to rush to the dining car in response to the “last call” that was made in our car.  In fact, about 9:10 a.m., the real “last call” was made over the loudspeaker, and passengers were advised that the dining car will close at 10:00 a.m.

    Despite the delays in service (caused, at least in part, by the reductions in staffing of the dining car and the large number of passengers on today’s train), we all enjoyed the breakfast very much.  When I mentioned that I write travelogues of my train trips which I post on the Internet, the woman from Tucson commented that her field of specialization includes the use of the Internet for personal “blogs”!  I told her how to find my travelogues on the web, and we exchanged e-mail addresses.

    At 10:07 a.m., an announcement was made that we were approaching the Syracuse station.  The conductor continued by stating that we will be passing the station, then backing up to make our stop at the station platform.  We were now finished with our meal, so I said goodbye to everyone and returned to my room.

    Sure enough, at 10:14 a.m., we proceeded past the station.  Then, at 10:19 a.m., we came to a stop at the next interlocking, then backed up onto another track to reach the station platform, where we came to a stop at 10:28 a.m.  I detrained from my sleeper and walked back to the coaches.  On the way, I inquired as to the reason for our back-up move to reach the station platform.  The conductor replied that track work was being performed just west of the station and, indeed, one could see the track equipment from the station platform.  I soon reboarded the train, and we departed at 10:37 a.m., one hour and 11 minutes late.

    I now walked through the train and found that all four coaches were still quite full, with nearly every seat pair occupied by at least one passenger.  The first two coaches were particularly full, and I counted about 170 coach passengers aboard.  

    Returning to my room, I noticed that the room opposite me appeared to be unoccupied.  That room had been occupied by a rather elderly couple who were headed to Albany, so I was surprised to find it empty.  I mentioned this to the attendant, who explained that neither the husband nor the wife could manage to climb up to the upper berth – a maneuver that requires some dexterity and agility.  Moreover, the lower berth in a roomette is too narrow for more than one person to sleep there.  As a result, they told the attendant not to make up the beds, and they got little or no sleep during the night.  When one of the deluxe bedrooms was vacated in the morning, the attendant moved them into that bedroom, which has a much wider lower berth that can fit two people.  She also mentioned that she figured – correctly – that I would have no problem climbing into the upper berth, and therefore lowered the upper berth last night in my room.  I was impressed that she had gone the extra mile to help out this couple, who probably didn’t realize what they were getting into when they booked the smaller bedroom.  A side benefit was that the room opposite me was now vacant.  The right side of the train has the most scenic views of the New York State Barge Canal and the Hudson River, and the attendant confirmed that I was welcome to sit there for part of the ride if I so chose.

    At 11:26 a.m., we came to a stop, a short distance east of Rome.  Soon, the conductor announced that the reason we were stopped was a broken rail, and he stated that we would have to wait until the rail could be checked to determine whether it was safe to proceed.  I turned on the scanner and ascertained that there was a broken joint bar on Track 2 at CP 248, just ahead of us.  Later, I heard a message stating that it was safe to proceed across the problem area at a speed of 10 miles per hour.  Finally, at 11:49 a.m., we began moving slowly, and at 11:52 a.m. we reached the spot with the broken joint bar.  Two white CSX trucks with flashing lights were parked nearby, and railroad employees were monitoring our train as it passed over the spot in question.  At 11:57 a.m., I heard that we had successfully passed over the broken joint bar area, and we resumed our normal speed, having lost over half an hour due to the problem with the track.

    We made a brief stop at Utica at 12:04 p.m.  When we departed a minute later, we were one hour and 43 minutes late.  

    During the morning, the dining car steward had come by to take reservations for lunch.  I was assigned a 1:00 p.m. sitting.  So, at 1:00 p.m., I walked into the dining car and was seated with three other people.  Next to me sat a man who lived in New York City and was returning from visiting his mother in Michigan.  She lived near Detroit, and he boarded the train in Toledo, just south of there.  We had some very interesting conversations, as it turned out that he also owned a farm near Rhinebeck, New York as well as three parking garages in New York City, and was a movie producer as well!  He was well acquainted with a number of celebrities whom he named, and he interrupted our conversation several times to take cell phone calls that were related to a movie that he was currently producing in Virginia.  Opposite me sat a couple from Iowa who had boarded the train in Chicago and were on their way to New York City.  After spending a night in the city, they would be taking a week-long cruise to Nova Scotia and then return to Chicago by train.

    The conversations with my three tablemates were quite fascinating, and the meal was very enjoyable.  During lunch, we paralleled the New York State Barge Canal, which is quite scenic and features a number of historic buildings along the way.  

    At 1:42 p.m., we arrived at Schenectady.  When we departed from there three minutes later, at 1:45 p.m., we were two hours and six minutes late.  There is about half an hour of make-up time built into the schedule between Schenectady and Albany, and I hoped that we would use this schedule pad to make up some time.  But that was not to be.  At 1:55 p.m., we came to a stop a short distance east of Schenectady and, even before the conductor made an announcement, I immediately realized what had happened.  The passenger line between Schenectady and Albany is now single-tracked, and although schedules are set up to avoid conflicts between trains on this single-track segment, further delays inevitably occur when one or both trains are late.  Sure enough, at 2:11 p.m., a westbound Amtrak train passed us, and we soon resumed our journey to Albany.

    We finally arrived at the Albany-Rensselaer station at 2:33 p.m., just over two hours late.  We pulled in on Track 2, with the Albany section waiting for us on Track 1, on the opposite side of the same platform.  Because of the short length of the high-level platforms at the Albany station, only the first coach of our train could be spotted on the platform.  When I walked through the train last night, I noticed that almost all the Albany passengers had been assigned to the first car, and now I understood why this was done.

    I walked down the platform to record the numbers of the Boston section of the train and take some pictures.  The two engines that had taken us from Chicago were now removed and replaced with dual-mode engine #706, that would be bringing the train to Penn Station.  By 2:53 p.m., the new engine had been put on our train, and the head-end power had been restored.  

    Due to the track arrangement at the Albany station, the Boston section cannot proceed directly up the line leading towards Boston.  There are three tracks at the Albany station, designated, from east to west, the Main Track, Track 1 and Track 2.  The Main Track has its own platform (there are plans to add another track to that platform, but that hasn’t happened yet), and Tracks 1 and 2 face the same platform.  So if you want two trains to be on opposite sides of the same platform, the trains must be placed on Tracks 1 and 2.  But only the Main Track is directly connected to the line that leads towards Boston.  So to reach that line, the Boston section must first pull forward, then back up onto the Main Track, then proceed ahead onto the Boston line.  The Boston section of the Lake Shore began this complicated move at 2:53 p.m.  After backing onto the Main Track, it headed south at 3:00 p.m., but then stopped to perform some tests, and it didn’t continue ahead until 3:09 p.m.  We did not depart until 3:08 p.m., so I was able to watch this interesting maneuver from my room on the left side of the New York section of the Lake Shore Limited.  

    When we departed from Albany, we were two hours and eight minutes late.  This posed a problem to me, as I am the Chair of the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference’s Publications Committee, and we had a meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight in Mahwah, N.J.  Had the Lake Shore Limited arrived in Penn Station on time at 3:30 p.m., I would have had sufficient time to get back to my home in Teaneck and then drive to Mahwah.  But now that the train would be arriving no earlier than 5:30 p.m., that would not be possible.

    For a week or two before I left on the trip, I had checked the arrival time of the Lake Shore Limited each day.  I discovered that the train rarely arrived more than about two and one-half hours late (the only exceptions were at the end of last week, when Buffalo experienced an unpredicted two-foot snowstorm), but that one- and two-hour-late arrivals were more the norm than the exception.  

    Realizing that there was a very substantial possibility that my train would be an hour or two late, I decided to make contingency plans.  I knew that Walt and Jane, active volunteers with the Trail Conference, live in Westchester County and intended to come to the meeting.  So the week before I left on the trip, I contacted Jane and asked whether she and her husband could pick me up at the Croton-Harmon station (the one stop that the Lake Shore Limited makes between Albany and New York) and drive me to the meeting.  Jane replied that they would be glad to do so, and I responded that I would call from the train once I knew how late the train would be.  Even before we reached Albany, it became apparent that we would not arrive in Penn Station early enough for me to get to Mahwah in time for the 6:30 p.m. meeting, so I called Jane and advised her that I would be taking her up on her offer to pick me up at Croton-Harmon.  Jane responded that I should call her again when we pass through Hudson, as by then we should be able to estimate the time of our arrival at Croton-Harmon pretty accurately.

    Looking at the timetable, I noticed that Amtrak trains are scheduled to take about one hour and 15 minutes to get from Hudson to Croton-Harmon, including stops at Rhinecliff and Poughkeepsie.  Since we would not be making either of these stops, I figured that we should be able to cover the distance in one hour and ten minutes.  So, when we passed the Hudson station at 3:35 p.m., I called Jane and told her that we should be arriving at Croton-Harmon about 4:45 p.m.  She said that she would meet me in front of the station.  I also told my attendant that I wanted to get off at Croton-Harmon, as the train might not stop there if no one wanted to get off (and even if the stop were made, my sleeper had to be positioned on the platform so that I could detrain).  She assured me that she would inform the conductor of my request.

    I now proceeded to pack up my belongings.  After having completed this task, I moved over to the vacant room on the right side of the car so that I could observe our journey down the Hudson River.  I’m quite familiar with this stretch of the line, as I ride it nearly every month in my role as a guide for the Trails and Rails program on the Adirondack.  Unfortunately, though, the Adirondack, as well as the other Empire Service trains that operate over this line, use Amfleet I equipment, with small, narrow windows that are not conducive to viewing the magnificent scenery along the river.  Today, I had the opportunity to ride this line in a Viewliner car which – as its name indicates – has large windows from which you can truly appreciate the magnificence of the Hudson River Valley.  

    The late afternoon is not the best time    to observe the Hudson from a train, as the sun is beginning to set, and the glare interferes with the view.  Nevertheless, I spent most of the trip down the Hudson in the right-side room opposite mine, enjoying the scenery the best that I could.  I also walked to the back of the train, and found that there were still passengers in all four coaches.  The first car (used primarily for passengers detraining in Albany) was largely empty, but most seat pairs in the last three cars were still occupied by at least one passenger.

    I had anticipated a swift, unimpeded ride from Albany to Croton-Harmon, as there were no CSX freight trains to delay us.  But this was not to be the case.  At 4:13 p.m., as we approached CP 75, just north of Poughkeepsie, we slowed down and were passed by a northbound Amtrak train (presumably, the Ethan Allen Express, Train #291, to Rutland, Vermont, which is scheduled to depart Poughkeepsie at 4:07 p.m.).  We then switched to the northbound track and passed through the Poughkeepsie station at 4:18 p.m.  We also encountered some slow running south of Poughkeepsie.

    As we approached the Croton-Harmon station, I heard the Metro-North dispatcher tell our engineer that it was “okay to hang out at CP 34.”  Apparently, our train was so long that when it stopped at Croton-Harmon, the rear cars of the train would block the interlocking at CP 34, and special permission had to be obtained from the dispatcher to do this.  (Perhaps the whole problem could have been avoided if no one from the sleepers was getting off at Croton-Harmon, but since I was getting off here, the train had to be stopped with the sleepers on the platform).

    We finally arrived at Croton-Harmon at 5:03 p.m.  We were two hours and 25 minutes late, having lost an additional 17 minutes since we departed from Albany.  I detrained, gave my attendant a small tip, and walked up the southern stairway to the platform and down to the parking lot, where Jane and Walt were waiting for me.  I apologized for arriving about 20 minutes later than I had predicted, but Jane informed me that they had been delayed by an accident on the Taconic State Parkway and arrived at the station only a few minutes before my train.    

    We proceeded across the Bear Mountain Bridge and continued down to Mahwah, via the Palisades Interstate Parkway and Route 202.  At 5:55 p.m., we arrived at the Trail Conference office in Mahwah, in plenty of time for my 6:30 p.m. meeting.  Of course, I didn’t have my car at the office, but another committee member had driven to the meeting from Manhattan, and she dropped me off at my home on her way back to the city.

    My entire trip from Dallas to New York on the Texas Eagle and Lake Shore Limited was a great success.  For both legs of the trip, my sleeping car attendants were pleasant and helpful.  On the Texas Eagle, I took advantage of the beautiful lounge car and even spent time sitting in the very comfortable coach seats, while on the Lake Shore Limited, I spent nearly the entire time onboard either in my room, or eating meals in the dining car.  But in both cases, I enjoyed the trip very much, and everything worked out just about as I had anticipated.

[ Top of this PageBack to the First Page | Daniel's Travelogue Pages | | Various Rail Travelogues ]