Leave No Station Unphotographed: The Blog of SubwayNut.com


From the Archive – Harrisburg (and more Pittsburgh)

I’ve been on an Amtrak Station kick lately, now with my new route pages, trying to figure out if I have any other routes fully photographed but that I haven’t made enough pages for. The Keystone corridor I realized I’m one-stop away from finishing. I’m missing Middletown, PA specifically which is a bit frustrating but oh well (maybe I’ll take the train to or from South Bend again and make a photo stop there). I then realized I never uploaded the pages from the rest of the Keystone Corridor that I’ve visited, so that’s my next little project. This update a full photos from The Nice Empty Pennsylvanian to Elizabethtown. On this trip we were super early into Harrisburg–(65 Photos), so I got a full photo essay.


I also added photos from my layover in Pittsburgh(9 Photos)



Upper Harlem Line – Croton Falls through Bedford Hills

It’s been more weekend work time with Louise in South Bend, although the weather’s been super warm here in South Bend, the South Shore Line has removed it’s bicycle cars for the winter so I can’t go into Chicago on any biking adventures. Instead I decided to finish up what I have of the Upper Harlem Line:


St. Joseph, MI finishing the Pere Marquette (and pages for all completed Amtrak Routes)

St. Joseph, MI(37 Photos) is a small lakeside city that Louise and I enjoy visiting, so I’ve walked by it’s Amtrak station on many occasions. I hope this summer once the days are longer to get the Pere Marquette stopping (at 9:15pm) in daylight or in the sunset. With this I’ve (visited by car) all 3 intermediate stops on the Pere Marquette Route (although I need to get back up to Grand Rapids to get the new station there).


As I was writing this update I decided it was finally time to get home pages written for the Amtrak routes I’ve visited (throughout the country) and uploaded a page of every station on: Amtrak Cascades,Capitol Corrido,San Joaquin,Pacific Surfliner,Pere Marquette,HiawathaEmpire Service (well making pages for Penn Station needs to be done, perhaps this will give me motivation), and Piedmont.

So the reason for the lack of updates the past few weeks was my usual busyness of life and having to get these pages written. Hopefully in a few months on a few trips (with some visits by car, but I’ve come to accept those) I’ll also get to add the Wolverine to this list.


Cermak-McCormick Place – The newest CTA Station!

I can’t believe I didn’t make this update earlier, back in August I needed to take the ‘L’ to get to something in. I was on a weekend South Shore Line train, that makes the McCormick Place(17 Photos) Stop and decided to get off at this bizarre station beneath the convention center, that’s hard to find the entrance to.

It was then a good 15 minute walk to Cermak-McCormick Place(39 Photos) that re-opened on the Green Line on February 8, 2015 with a neat cylindrical enclosed platform.



The Sleeper Lousianna to New Orleans for New Years

Well ideally my next post and update would be of the new Second Avenue Subway Stations. Unforchunately the timing of the subway’s opening couldn’t have been poorer, had it opened on a random weekend I may have used it as an excuse to fly east for a weekend visit. Unfortunately it opened on New Years Day and I had already made plans with my lady Louise to head down to New Orleans for the weekend. Since then I’ve spent two more weekends away (in Tucson followed by Southern California, although I didn’t do any more train riding, just lots of flying) and have been nowhere east of South Bend. The next time I’ll be in New York for a weekend is in early February and I hope to have a chance to at least ride the new Subway (don’t know if I’ll have time to do justice to the 3 new and one greatly renovated stations).

Anyway this post is a trip report and 3 new stations from our end-to-end Roomette trip aboard Superliner-II ‘Louisiana’ on Amtrak’s City of New Orleans. The trip represented new trackage from Champaign-Urbana (previously covered when I took the Illini from there to Chicago) to Memphis (I took the City of New Orleans once before, on the Tennessee to Texas trip, where sadly most of my photos were lost in a hard drive crash). I didn’t get to enjoy any of the new trackage because I was sleeping in the upper Roomette bunk (my lady trumped me) pretty much fromChampaign to Memphis.

The trip began with an extremely crowded ride on the 4:45pm South Shore Line train from South Bend with tons of people heading into Chicago for the holiday weekend.

We spent the ride listing to some extremely obnoxious college age kids who were all clearly high school friends. Louise remarked as we got off at Van Buren Street that “This is what I absolutely don’t miss about high school. They are so obnoxious.”

We walked across the loop to Union Station and checked into the new Metropolitan Lounge. Louise was extremely impressed and (as a pHD student, unlike me who’s now on the clock except for hobbies like this website) decided to get some work done really liking the atmosphere. I explored the lounge a lot, upstairs is where you’ll most likely find me on future Sleeper and Business Class trips through Chicago. These are photos from upstairs, I didn’t get any decent photos of the lounge downstairs (now if only I could still take AGR points runs to maintain Select+ Status I would be here a lot more, it was fun while it lasted):

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I also went on a bit of an adventure to find the nearest ATM outside the lounge (I learned after I returned that there was one inside the lounge!) lacking any cash for tips. The Great Hall was also decorated for Polar Express excursions powered by Amtrak (I think it’s a charter arrangement) with the train’s destination listed as North Pole throughout the station.

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At about 7:30pm we were called for boarding and headed out to the train, walking out through the normal platform exit, and skipping the line of coach passengers, the staff knew what we were doing, we passed the line of coach passengers lining up for seat assignments and walked out to the single full sleeper on the train.


At the door there was a bit of confusion, we had been assigned room 8 but the attendant asked us if we would take Room 6 so a family of 4 with two roomettes could be across the hall from each other. We of course agreed. We were also told to head back to the Cross-Country Cafe car for dinner. As we walked there I found the remains of the Superliner-II nameplate (they were named after states) on the interior door. We fittingly taking ‘Louisiana’ down to New Orleans.


We settled in and headed back to the Cross-Country Cafe as we slowly left Chicago doing the back up  move across the Chicago River (the skyline was pretty) and eventually leaving down parrallel to the very tracks we road the South Shore Line in on just a few hours ago.

In the dining car we sat down with a Mom and two little kids. The new ‘Express Dinner’ on the City of New Orleans (that has lacked a chef for the past two years) has been degraded to two types of Sandwiches, a turkey and cheese or a cuban sandwich (the cuban was served on nice Italian Focaccia bread) or a salad option. We each got a sandwich, and each ate an half of each sandwich. They were surprisingly good and filling (better than the average AmSandwhich in the cafe care) but made me wish I could expose Louise to the usual AmSteak Sleeping car dinner. Dessert was just two packaged cookie options that were okay.

We returned to our room with the packaged cookies and enjoyed watching the dark lights of Illinois before getting the room made up and heading to sleep (with me climbing up into the tight upper bunk) during the fresh air stop that I didn’t partake in in Champaign-Urbana. I was rocked to sleep on new trackage that I couldn’t see and slept okay definitely with the usual wake-ups during the night.

I fully woke up as we arrived in what was clearly Memphis(33 Photos) nicely early at 6:08, 19 minutes early. I got nearly a full photo essay, including some nice photos of the locomotive being refueled. Although should have gone downstairs and outside the main entrance for a few exterior shots. Signs in the station said the main entrance to the Amtrak portion of the station would be closed effective tomorrow with all access now from the trackside parking lot (super-unfriendly for people accessing the station as pedestrians not in vehicles).


I re-boarded the train and found Louise awake so we soon headed for breakfast as we left Memphis a little late. The options were an omelet, a southern style breakfast sandwich, or the continental. The attendant immediately informed us they were out of omelets, I ordered the Breakfast Sandwich (which was clearly re-heated but okay) and Louise ordered the continental which looked normal, like those found on most trains.

I then decided to head back to the room for a post-breakfast nap (we asked the attendant to leave the beds down until the last possible moment) while Louise worked in the lounge. We slowly lost some time waiting for freights on sidings, as I soon rejoined Louise in the lounge. This trip is in CN-owned trackage and it was fun to spot this unpainted since CN acquired BC Rail locomotive


We made it to the next stop of Greenwood, MS, 52 minutes late. (a conductor crew change that I remembered stepping out at on my on time previous trip) but no smoke stop was announced. A women in our sleeper with a “service/therapy” dog we watched trying to find some shrubbery beyond the chain-link fence. We left at 9:59, an hour down.


I tried to do a little website work in the lounge as we headed through Mississippi through small towns, the next stop being Yazoo City (a fun name!)

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It was an un eventful ride until we were soon heading into the Jackson suburbs and two our final fresh air stop of Jackson, MS(22 Photos). We arrived at 11:47, 35 minutes late. With a super long line of coach passengers that the crew was scanning and assigning seats to on the rainy platform made me take the risk and go downstairs into the station. I also got some nice photos of the engineers changing.


I re-boarded the train as we left Jackson, MS at 12:01pm, 41 minutes late. We slowly left passing more freight trains.


Soon our stomachs and the call for lunch directed us to the dining car. The choices for lunch were the same sandwiches from yesterday, salad, and two warmed TV-dinner style entrees, the pork and potatoes were surprisingly eatable that everyone at our table ordered.


We eventually returned to our room for an afternoon nap and enjoyment of the scenery of small-town Mississippi as we nearly gained nor lost time. As we headed into Louisiana we had the worst delay of the trip, sitting on a siding in sight of Hammond, LA Station for a good 40 minutes, with a couple northbound freights and finally the northbound City of New Orleans passing us. We eventually left Hammond at 3:16pm, 1 hour and 48 minutes late.

After that the attendant said he needed to re-make the rooms and we headed into the lounge car as we went over the causeway between Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain. This is definitely the most scenic part of the trip. The lounge car felt like a party with tons of others heading to New Orleans for New Years.

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We eventually passed Art Egg Studios and some ads we found interesting (are they authentically old) before the train began it’s back up move into the New Orleans Station, passed the New Orleans engine shop.

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We then backed in past the Louisiana Superdome and into the New Orleans Station, where a train of Horizon Cars (and a Viewliner baggage car with people in it) was slowly leaving. Signage on it said Polar Express so this event train was also in New Orleans.

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We arrived in New Orleans(20 Photos) at 4:30pm, 58 minutes late. I got some photos of the station as we left the platform and walked through the 1950s terminal with its murals and shared with Greyhound. The Polar Express area was much less impressive (just some curtains) than in Chicago.


We had reserved an AirBNB in the Garden District (hotels expensive and over-booked due to New Years) and walked over to the historic St. Charles Streetcar line to get there.


Unfortunately we were getting on a few stops beyond downtown with streetcars so crowded that 3 passed without letting us on. I had a $5 off a bunch of rides sign-up credit from Lyft so even with slight surge pricing I relented on taking the Streetcar and $4 and a pleasant Lyft driver later we arrived to our nice AirBNB hosts.

Columbus Day Evening in Michigan City

Happy Holidays everyone! I actually stayed in South Bend with my Louise instead of traveling back to New York City.I’ve finally found time for another website update, this one about an adventure to Michigan City to spend the evening rush hour as the sunset photographing South Shore Line trains running down the middle of the street, and two Amtrak Trains.

This trip I tried to do on a couple of Friday afternoons after work back in June when I had just moved to South Bend, but to bike to the Airport I really need to leave work at 4:20 (which requires using my 15 minutes of flexibility rule, which is much easier to tell colleagues about when your going somewhere far into Chicago or catching a flight and not just a quick evening trip for fun-zees) so with Columbus Day as a random day off (and not going anywhere because of a non-blogged about trip to Colorado the following weekend) and Louise busy with an evening activity it was a much better fit for a train adventure.

I left my apartment at about 4:15 for a leisurely bike ride down Lincolnway to the Airport. I get there, lock my bike up for the evening and board the 4:45 South Shore Line train-bound for Chicago. The ride is uneventful, except as we pass the yard and enter Carroll Avenue(27 Photos) I notice little white ‘W’ pennants hanging off the sides of the train cars. There to cheer on the soon to be World Champion Chicago Cubs (at that point tied in the Division Series, with a long way to go) When I get off in Michigan City its 4:20pm. I’ve gained an hour entering Central Time.

I start getting my photo essay, knowing the ticket window is open for another 10 minutes. When I try the ticket office door I realize it’s not worth it, the ticket office here is receptionist for the Accounting and Transportation Back offices that are located on the edge of the train yard (the rest of the South Shore Line offices are at the Dune Park Station), there just a few chairs like an office waiting room.


I then start walking towards downtown Michigan City, across freight tracks, first passing the overflow gravel parking lot.I can’t walk parallel to the tracks at first, there on a private ROW through vegetation but head back towards the tracks when I hear a train, it’s a lone South Shore Freight Locomotive.


I keep walking and soon get to the intersection of Michigan Blvd and 11th Street where the reason to spend 2 and a half hours in Michigan City begins, street running!


Soon the first train to pass through comes, the evening Express Train to South Bend (that runs non-stop through Michigan City)


I keep walking knowing there won’t be a train for another 20 minutes, and pass the 11th Street(73 Photos) ‘Stop’ in the middle of the street!

I continue walking west, towards the grade-crossing (where I once sat on a South Shore Line train for 10 minutes) where the Amtrak High-Speed Line to Michigan and the South Shore Line cross each other. I get the next westbound train, curving from 10th Street to 11th Street on a brief section of private ROW as I happily notice the Blue Water is running about 45 minutes late, meaning it and the first evening Wolverine (under a construction schedule) will run within 10 minutes of each other), and I’ll have perfect opportunities to photograph both of them.


I keep walking past the transition of the tracks from 11th Street to 10th Street and soon reach the level-crossing where Amtrak Michigan Service Trains pass under the South Shore Line’s wires.

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Soon I’m at the Amtrak line. Michigan City Amtrak Station(14 Photos added), gets the new Amtrak photos since the stop is close enough (I don’t have a chance to walk down there on this trip). First I get the Blue Water, going under the South Shore Line wires. It’s a long Pull-Pull train, and it and the Silver Service are the only Amtrak routes I haven’t ridden (if points runs were still a thing, you bet I would have ridden it from Niles by now).


I then walk south a little to get the Wolverine, now with just a single locomotive, and not running in push-pull anymore.


At this point I’m in a poor position for the next South Shore Line Eastbound Train (there aren’t any westbound trains except for the final one at 8:45). I end up getting it transitioning from 10th Street to 11th Street just like the previous train.


I head back towards the station, as dusk descends, getting the 6:37 train stopping in the station.


It’s then just a short wait for the 6:51 train back to South Bend.

I get on in the middle of the street (that just feels bizarre) and it’s an uneventful 45 minute ride to South Bend where I arrive basically on time at 8:39.

I put my lights on my bike and ride home.

I finally need to mention as part of this update, the first 20 photos of 11th Street are from my first visit there in 2011 (before the station had been improved by Michigan City under a streetscape improvement project) on my way to Detroit. These photos I hadn’t released before so enjoy!

The Full North Jersey Coast Line is here!

I think I’ve reached another accomplishment on the New Jersey Transit side of my website. Finally fully photographed and finished uploading the North Jersey Coast Line. Jersey Shore, here you come!

Here are the final 3 missing stops:


Update: Elberon, Allenhurst and Asbury Park

Thanksgiving’s roadtrip didn’t turn in any new Amtrak stations, plans changed (we still drove, ending up in a rental car when the car broke down in Toledo, Ohio, all fixed now, but there was no use in finding a mechanic on Thanksgiving Day) but were in a rush to get through and I didn’t get to make the couple of stops for Amtrak stations I was hoping to make. Hopefully I’ll get some more remote Amtrak Stations on a future road trips.

Anyway, back to my regularly planned updates, 3 more down the Jersey Shore:

Enjoy (and 3 to go)!

Update: Two Historic Depots and a Racetrack, Continuing down the Jersey Shore

Well, after revisiting the Jersey Shore earlier this month. I finally got inspiration to finally write the stations from my station-to-station bike ride over 3 years ago, and get every station on this 65 mile long line.

This update is most northern 3 that are under electricity, as a bonus I also did a write up for Long Branch that was a station I wrote originally long ago and didn’t have one:

Enjoy! Stay tuned for hopefully some random Amtrak station stop additions from our Thanksgiving Day Road-Trip to Syracuse.

A Four Day Pre-Election Day Trip to New York to Drive to a Wedding on the Jersey Shore

Two weeks ago Louise and I flew back to New York City (her first visit with me) to head down to a weeding on the Jersey Shore in downtown Lakewood New Jersey. When I thought I might be heading down to this Saturday evening wedding alone I thought I might save the money on a hotel room and just take the 24-hour Route 139 bus down for the evening. I thought the middle of the night bus right might be sort of fun (at least to blog about). With Louise joining me booking a room in the Ramada in Toms River sounded like a much better idea good idea. Also realizing that the Ramada doesn’t have one seat ride bus service and wanting to enjoy some time exploring the Jersey Shore (and visiting friends on Staten Island one direction) borrowing my parents car felt like the right call.

This didn’t mean our weekend wasn’t transit heavy, on Friday I put Louise on the 6:00am non-stop flight to Newark (she wanted some time to explore New York on her own – as a student her work is also mobile – something I really miss, now with an 8 to 4:30 desk job), waking up at 5:00am to drive her to the airport and then leave her car at her house. I took the 5:25 flight and was going to take an Uber after work at 4:30 but 4x surge pricing meant it was nearly $40.00 so I after leaving work a little early I took the 4:20pm Route 4 Bus which was running a few minutes late with its long deviation to the Excel Center and the Amtrak Station didn’t get me to the airport until about 4:50. For once there was a line at security, due to an Allegiant Air flight at 5:50, I got through at 5:07 (3 minutes before the 15 minute boarding cut-off) and walked to the gate without putting my shoes back on. I panicked for a moment when I saw a closed boarding door but luckily (after talking to another passenger) I found out boarding hadn’t started yet. The flight ended up boarding shortly after I arrived and sat on the tarmac at the runway for 20 minutes because of “evening congestion at Newark”, waiting for a slot time, they luckily let us use our phones briefly. The flight there was uneventful. I arrived, decided not to deal with the AirTrain and took a crush-loaded  NJ Transit Route 62 to Newark Penn Station, where I hopped on the next NJ Transit Train into Penn Station. I found my Louise in the Starbucks at 35th and 8th, and we hopped on the A train uptown to my parents, getting up there at about 9:10pm (not all that long a commute, less than 5 hours after leaving work in South Bend).

Saturday we drove down to the wedding via side trip to Staten Island where I wanted to see friends. Driving by I got a decent picture of the New Dorp Station house before construction began on Monday, closing this entrance.


On Sunday after a fabulous wedding we decided to go out to a nice brunch and the internet directed us to the town center of Manasquan(13 Photos) and the Committed Pig. While we waited for our table I got some more photos of the train station that hasn’t gotten a platform in the more 3 years since my other visit.


After a nice brunch we spent the afternoon driving up following the shore as much as possible. We stopped for a great hour walk in Asbury Park on it’s historic boardwalk, and stopped following the shore when we got to Sandy Hook. I had one required more required stop on the Jersey Shore, getting the Middletown, NJ(72 Photos) train station. The only stop I hadn’t previously photographed. I left Louise (who was doing the driving, a Californian her major preference to being a passenger) who had a nice nap as I spent longer than I thought I would photographing the original low-level and new high-level platforms, walking the length of both to check out the pedestrian tunnel at the other end of the platforms.


We then drove back to my parents in New York City.

With Election Day off I rearranged my work schedule to take Monday off and make it a 4 day weekend and a real genuine trip. Monday was our one tourist day. I saw the evidence of the W train on signs in the Fulton Center. I need to spend the time doing the busy work of getting the BMT Broadway Line correct again with the new routing changes, I might be lazy and just wait until the Second Avenue subway is actually open and I have a chance to visit it to make the major changes.


Tuesday we went on a real transit adventure when I discovered that we could take the Delta Shuttle for $60 Each to O’Hare, I realized the timing was also perfect and booked us on the Capital Limited back to South Bend (about $7 more total, not bad) for the more pleasant and nearly double the speed faster trip back. We decided that having lunch in Jackson Heights would be a fun adventure and took the A train to the 7 train (slightly slower but so much much scenic than the E train).

After a nice Tibetan Lunch at a hole in the wall restaurant, I realized that the one downside to leaving from the Marine Air Terminal was transit access. The Q47 direct bus route runs every 20 minutes, and I wasn’t going to take my chances on Port Authority Shuttle Buses from the Main terminal area if we had taken the Q70 SBS with the fact the main terminal area is a mess from construction. We ended up in an Uber for $12.18 (only $7 more than the bus since it had been more than two hours since we got on the Subway). There I was blown away by the historic architecture of the original terminal.

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There was virtually no line for security (the line-up was actually across an active path), with just Shuttle flights to Chicago and Washington leaving from this small historic terminal. We were through within 10 minutes (felt like South Bend, even with an Allegiant Flight) and into the lounge-light boarding area. There was shelving in the small modern addition of a boarding lounge of free newspapers and magazines that we took reading material from for the flight.


Taking off we saw the planes of both Hillary, and Trump. While we taxied the less well logoed Trump plane had a logo on the outside of it. Now Vice President-elect Pence, coming to New York from my new home state of Indiana for what became Trumps victory party (at that point I was thinking a nice final trip as a soon to be unknown VP candidate before Pence returns to Indiana). We voted in Indiana a week ago!

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The Delta Shuttle flight was uneventful with the added benefit of a free beer (a can of a nice local ale from Long Island) for each of us and the downside of just peanuts and premium nut mix (that the flight attendant handed out each interchangeably) and no Biscoff cookies.

We got to O’Hare at 4:30pm Central Time and had a very long (non premium experience feeling) walk from the end of the E pier to the CTA. There I bought two $5 premium Airport Ventra one time use tickets that were specially marked for the marathon. It wasn’t the most pleasant CTA ride, the Blue Line lurching and a bit overheated. We were happy to get off at Clinton.

From there we had a nice outside walk to Union Station. We stopped at the ribs place for some pulled pork and a spare rib sandwich and got on the Capital Limited, heading out passed the Veterans Cabbage unit on the Pere Marquette.


Boarding for the Capital Limited was a bit of an Amtrak crew being lazy cluster****. We were told along with a large Amish family and a few others to wait by the conductor who soon opened the then empty last coach for us. We boarded, chose seats and ate our nice good dinner.

As the train prepared to leave the conductor announced they were closing the last car. There was quite a bit of scrambling. I asked if it was because of a group and was simply told they did a count and realized that they only needed two Coach cars to accommodate all the passengers tonight. The Coach attendants clearly wanted to be lazy and not provide the most comfort to all customers instead packing everyone in. Luckily they had been good about saving sets of seats so Louise and I were able to still sit together. If I had been alone in Coach, told to double up because the crew wanted to have a car to themselves (I looked back and witnessed the crew hanging out in it) I would have been very annoyed at what I would know would be a night sleeping much less. We enjoyed an Amish couple and their tiny baby in a nice tiny Amish bonnet sitting across from us. We also spent a lot of the ride in Sightseer Lounge Car enjoying the nice darkness (compared to the South Shore Line), on the non-stop ride to South Bend. We arrived in South Bend basically on time if not a little early just before 9:00pm. There were a good dozen of us getting off too. I called an Uber from the platform, it came from downtown in about 5 minutes and it was a straight shot down Orange Street that becomes Colfax Avenue, a 5 minute and 27 second ride, that took us 1.76 miles and cost just $4.69 (probably offsetting the small price of Amtrak tickets by requiring us not to pay for an Uber, and the $1 airport fee home from the Airport Train Station).

At home it was a hard evening and night due to the election that put a bit of a damper on a really nice four day trip!