Leave No Station Unphotographed: The Blog of SubwayNut.com

 

Flying to Maine on the Opening Day of the new Washington/Wabash ‘L’ Station

I booked (expensive) plane tickets on United’s non-stop service to Bangor, Maine a couple of months ago for Louise and I to go to family wedding (and to eat lobsters) on August 31. A few weeks before I was reading up on Chicago ‘L’ happenings and discovered we’d be transiting in downtown Chicago from the South Shore Line to the Blue Line out to O’Hare on opening day of the CTA’s newest station. Timing between the South Shore Line schedule and our United Flight was such that we had a good extra hour so an ever slight detour to the station on our way to the airport was clearly in order.

The day started with me working from 7:00am to Noon to conserve vacation time before I got picked up by Louise (and her Dad to take the car home) for the short drive to the South Bend Airport South Shore Station. We got to the airport with plenty of time for the 12:49 train. From there it was the long, two-and-a-half-hour but uneventful ride on the always single-level (to South Bend) South Shore Line ride into Chicago. Wanting to pick up sandwiches at a place Louise knew about, we got off at Van Buren Street, bought a sandwich for the rest of our CTA to Plane to rental car long journey to Maine, and walked to the loop.

We got to the loop and walked under Wabash to the new Washington/Wabash(37 Photos) station.

 

With a rolling suitcase we decided to take the elevator (the escalator wasn’t working yet) to the mezzanine. At first I thought there were two elevators for all 3 levels until we got closer when I realized there were two elevators in the same shaft one street to mezzanine, and one mezzanine to platform. The street elevator had a button for a lower level, perhaps it’s additional access to the Chicago Underground Pedway. We didn’t try pushing it. The elevator smelled nice and new.

 

Once on the mezzanine we re-loaded the Ventra Card and entered fare control. Some neat murals line a large non-public area area in the middle of the mezzanine between the staircases up to the platforms.

 

We then headed up to the platforms, where a train was approaching. With plenty of time before our flight we let this Green Line go so I could get plenty of photos of the new station.

  

Eventually we got on a Brown Line train for the 3 stop (today 2 stop) ride to Clark/Lake. I got some photos of the strip maps (the individual line map with just Washington/Wells, the system map with both) as our train stopped at Randolph/Wabash after a less than 1 minute ride from the new station (this stop closed three days later).

We got off at Clark/Lake. From the outer loop platform at Clark/Lake it was a down the switchbacks of 3 escalators and through a set of revolving doors before we finally reached the Blue Line platform(2 Photos). There I found the O’Hare departure monitors in the ceiling, but they have unfortunately been turned-off.

Then it was the long and jerky 17-stop Blue Line Ride out to O’Hare Airport . We got there at 3:47 with plenty of time for our 5:45pm non-stop flight to Bangor, Maine.

With PreCheck security was easy. The flight was non-eventful and arrived in Bangor 15 minutes early. Although we pulled up to a gate in the small international portion of the Bangor Airport and had a creepy walk through an odd sterile corridor that felt like it a mixture of abandoned and under construction to finally get to the airport exit. It was an easy check into our rental car (where we were upgraded to minivan, which proved extremely useful) and we made it to Gouldsboro at 10:30pm.

The wedding was fun. Although, on the way back there was no train and transit adventure. In the strange-way expensive airfares work it was cheaper to add on the joke (our flight flew 139 miles to go what is 84 miles direct) puddle-jumper flight from O’Hare to South Bend with an almost 4 hour layover. Luckily the we were able to stand by for an earlier flight from ORD to SBN Free of Charge so we had a more reasonable layover (and gave up sitting together).

Even though I haven’t fully visited the Second Avenue Subway yet, at least the newest CTA station is here!

Dyer, IN Amtrak and Chicago Amtrak Yards

I haven’t had much of a train summer. I haven’t even been on a non-tourist train since June. I’m also currently transitioning computers, (anyone know what program can display my Aperture 2 Photo library on Windows?) to a new PC desktop from the 2009 MacBook that I’m still working on this website on. There were two small sets of photos I took in June that I’m ready to share.

I had to drive to Chicago to make a late evening O’Hare pick-up (after the last trains and buses to South Bend leave at 9:15pm) and stopped for the Amtrak platform in (23 Photos), I unfochunately I missed the day’s New York-bound Cardinal .

 

Earlier in the month I was in Chicago with my bike and had an excellent ride viewing the Amtrak yards from the various road bridges that pass over them. Don’t quite know where these would be filed long-term in my stations page scheme of my website so consider this a “bonus” blog photo share:

Enjoy!

A Day of Train Spotting: the South Shore in Hudson Lake to Michigan City to the Pere Marquette at Sunset in St. Joe

This trip took place on June 3, 2017

Last month, my one other good railfan friend Robbie was visiting me in South Bend. He arrived on Friday on a 3 hour late Capitol Limited. On Saturday, we rented a car for 24 hours (I still don’t have my own vehicle in South Bend) and we went exploring and train spotting, photographing pretty much every South Shore Line and Amtrak train we could within an hours drive of South Bend.

The day began on Transpo Bus Route 4 out to South Bend Airport where we rented the car. From there we started driving west on US-20 towards Michigan City and I realized the first South Bend-bound train of the day was going to stop in Hudson Lake(11 Photos) within 15 minutes. We entered Central Time and stopped there. The train came in on time and stopped since a few people were getting off.
 

From there we continued driving west and went around Michigan City to Beverly Shores, where we first checked out the National Lake Shore and then the Century of Progress Houses that were relocated there from the World’s Fair. We then headed to the Beverly Shores Station(11 Photos)  and got the next Eastbound train.

 

From there we got back in the car and started driving to Michigan City where I was curious if we could “beat the train” and photograph the same train there running down the middle of the street. We got there and failed. We did manage to see the train in the distance down 11 Street(31 Photos) but other traffic and traffic lights prevented us from catching up to it. Governor Holcomb had been in Michigan City the previous week singing a bill to double track the South Shore Line (to Michigan City) and the historic abandoned station had it’s for rent sign removed and got a Welcome Governor Holcomb banner.

 

After parking on a side street, the next Chicago-bound train soon passed through and we photographed it making the station stop in the middle of the street.

We then stopped for lunch at a really good Italian Sandwich place along the tracks. We walked west towards the crossover where the South Shore tracks cross the Amtrak Michigan Line at a grade. There we photographed to next Michigan City-bound Westbound train, running down 10th Street and across the short section of private ROW over the Amtrak tracks towards 11th Street.

  

Next we photographed the midday Pontiac-bound Amtrak Wolverine, it was running about 15 minutes late.

We then walked down towards the Michigan City Amtrak Station(15 Photos) and the Waterfront. First we got to a decision point for train station options.

Then we continued to the Waterfront Amtrak Station. With a train not for half an hour we headed over Trail Creek to the Outer Basin to poke around a little. We made it back to the Amtrak Station just in time before the drawbridge went up, and got the Midday Westbound Wolverine passing through, a train that skips Michigan City, nearly on time.

  

We then walked back towards 11th Street, where a South Bend-bound South Shore Train was due, we got it rounding the curve and hill east of the station.

 

With a train due to soon originate at Michigan City Carroll Avenue we got in the car and started driving there.

Unforchunately a South Shore Line Freight train (two locomotives and one car) was blocking the grade-crossing to the overflow parking lot. I wonder if any missed the train.

Unable to find parking in the limited parking spaces at the train station, we parked a few blocks away and got the train leaving Carroll Avenue(9 Photos)

At that point we drove the 10 miles and re-entered Eastern Time heading to New Buffalo. The first stop was to photograph the remains of the station on the Pere Marquette(12 Photos). Across the street was the free New Buffalo Railroad Museum, unforchunately we got there at 5:00pm ET right after it closed for the day.

 

We then drove down Whittaker Street into downtown New Buffalo(18 Photos) and parked. As we walked towards the Amtrak Station, we noticed a couple of Shuttle buses from the Four Winds-New Buffalo Casino dropping off passengers for the Port Huron-bound Blue Water. Although the Blue Water wasn’t due for half-an-hour, the platform became crowded with people spilling down the ramp off the very short platform.

We took a little walk and soon the Blue Water arrived with a P42 on each end of the train. The train stopped for 8 minutes while the crowd from the casino got on and climbed onto the train at just two open doors. Two bicyclists were let out directly onto the ballast from the cafe car which has had a bike rack installed since the cafe car hadn’t platformed. We got back to the platform in time for the train to leave. Followed by a crowd of pedestrians and cars crossing Whittaker Street.

  

Our final goal of the day was getting the Superliner Pere Marquette stopping in St. Joseph(27 Photos) at Sunset. After a quick stop for dinner at my go to place in St. Joe, a Silver Harbor Brewery, we headed down to Silver Beach. The Grand Rapids-bound Pere Marquette arrived at dusk 6 minutes early, blocking all access to the beach (as the sun set some more) before leaving on time at 9:15pm.

  

At that point we drove back to my apartment – stopping to put a quarter tank of gas in our rental – in South Bend for an early start tomorrow on the 9:01am South Shore Line Weekend Express.

 

Upload: The VTA Winchester Line

In this update I continue south with the (rest) of the VTA’s newest branch the Winchester Line, opened in 2005, it has two single-track sections where the line goes over (more expensive) bridges and doesn’t run at a grade.

Enjoy

Upload: The Core of the VTA Light Rail

About three years ago I wrote up (and flagged the photos I was going to use) for the entire VTA light rail in San Jose-Santa Clara. The idea was to have an easy ‘churn-able’ website project for a rainy day. Although the weather in South Haven, Southeast Michigan is super nice today, Louise has a bunch of work to do this Memorial Weekend so we’re having coffee shop time between walks and exploring this cute lakeside city (which lacks an Amtrak Station, unlike St. Joseph and Holland which we are in between, the Pere Marquette running further inland here via Bangor).

Anyway over the past few days I’ve done the core of the VTA Light Rail, from Tasman(10 Photos) to the already completed pages for San Jose Diridon and Tamien, so start clicking between those stations. Be sure to check out: Children’s Discovery Museum(19 Photos), Convention Center(20 Photos), Santa Carla South–(9 Photos), and Component(16 Photos) 

    

Enjoy this Update with at least 200 new station photos, of this older light rail line.

Visiting the ARTIC and riding the Expo Line to the Sea on a quick trip to Dinseyland

About a month ago Louise – a Disneyland fanatic – and I went on a quick 48 hour trip by plane out to Los Angeles to use up two free Dinseyland tickets that we had. What also made the trip possible was an intro promo from Upside a new package deal website that made the hotel room for two nights in Anaheim basically free (with an Upgrade to a nicer hotel after we got a phone call that the first hotel we tried to book through them was full, they upheld our original package price).

On the way there we landed in Los Angeles at 10:30pm, so the only option was the ~$30 for two Prime Time Shuttle. The dispatcher was unfriendly, simply saying there were no shuttles available as we waited a good 45 minutes for our shuttle to show up but was otherwise an uneventful shared-ride trip to our hotel.

On the way home through, I managed to have a bit of a transit adventure back. The original plan was to take an earlier train and do a station-to-station on the Expo Line, unforchunately we were exhausted from 16 hours in Disneyland (gate open to close), and managed to get the hotel to give us slightly later check-out at Noon, so this meant sacrificing a station-to-station on the Expo Line.

The first hard adventure was getting to the station. ARTS, Anaheim Resort Area Transit runs a route that supposedly stopped right outside our hotel, but they seem to operate more as a shuttle system with posted frequencies than a regular fixed-route bus system with a posted timetable. As someone in the transit industry this is a bit infuriating. An hour earlier I was out taking a walk (and finding us some expresso) and found an ARTS driver (on a different Route) on a layover behind our hotel who looked at his tripsheet for us and said their would be a bus at 12:05 to the Artic. 12:05 came and went and at 12:15 I finally called an Uber, not to miss our train.

A $7.16 (using some credits), 12 minute Uber ride later we we’re dropped off at the new Anaheim Artic(21 Photos) Station. We arrived with train options of Metrolink at 12:41 or the Pacific Surfliner scheduled for 12:57, now running 30 minutes late (I purchased unreserved tickets earlier to get discounts, and for a free transfer on the ARTs bus had it come).  Unforchunately the modern LCD screens above the Ticket Windows hadn’t been reloaded with the new Metrolink schedule that had gone in effect a few days before and said the Metrolink Train was On Time at 12:33.

We headed up two flights of long escalators to the high bridge above the platforms.

 

There was a crowd waiting for Metrolink so we quickly bought one-way tickets (which would include a free transfer to the Metro out to Santa Monica) although the glare in the TVM touchscreens made it extremely hard to see. The fare to Los Angeles-Union Station is under $10 so no Weekend Day Passes purchased today.

 

The train came in on time.

 

It was then an uneventful trip, on seats definitely more comfortable than the South Shore Line, into Los Angeles Union Station(2 Photos). We got off and were confronted by the usual ticket divers trying to collect ‘unused’ tickets as we headed downstairs to the underpass. There I noticed new color LED signs have replaced the original Red LED signs for track destinations, as well has some signage updates in the more than 3 years since I’ve been through Los Angeles.

From there we headed to towards the Metro Center modern side of the concourse and to the Metro Red Line.  Then it was a quick ride to 7th/Metro Center(2 Photos) where we transferred to the Expo Line. There I noticed that the old P850 cars have been retrofitted with LED signs, as we waited for a Blue Line train to leave.

Taking the Expo Line on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, felt like taking the Subway to Coney Island on a Summer Sunday. The train had plenty of passenger turnover, but was crowded with nearly every seat taken for the entire ride with some passengers having the usual beach paraphernalia. The extension felt similar to the original Expo Line with stations having similar designs, a few on arial structures but for the most part at grade. I also noticed a bicycle path followed most of the route. Here’s passing the new maintenance facility.

We eventually arrived in Downtown Santa Monica where I noticed historical facts edged into the concrete since the Expo Line is really a reopening of the former Santa Monica Air Line, where Pacific Electric Red Cars ran until 1953.

 

We then followed the crowd off the platform (at the three track, two platform terminus) and through the turnstiles.

Then we crossed Colorado Avenue at a Barnes Dance with an extremely well painted crosswalk.

It was a two block walk to the sea and the Santa Monica Pier. The sidewalk crowds felt like being in a crowded place, like Times Square.

We didn’t ride any other transit on the trip. Not knowing the reliability of the parking lot shuttle that connects with Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Rapid Route 3 we decided to take an $18.00 Uber straight to the Airport for our 6:30 (to 12:30am CT) flight back to Chicago. To get home to South Bend we had a middle of the night drive home to South Bend in Louise’s car that we left at a $5 per day hotel parking lot.

Parkesburg and Coatesville – two former SEPTA Stations

These two stations I visited on a different Philadelphia Trip down the Keystone Corridor from the previous updates, and I can’t believe it’s been over a month in the making to get such a simple website update. All I can say is I’ve been busy.

In this update I present the two Keystone Corridor Main Line stations in Chester County that are in SEPTA territory and were once served by SEPTA Commuter Rail but had SEPTA service discontinued in 1996 because of a lack of siding facilities requiring trains to deadhead to Lancaster to turn-around.

Enjoy! I’ve gone on a couple transit adventures recently and hope to get posts and stations from those up soon!

The 3 Keystone Stations in Lancaster County

Thought I’d due a bit of a geography lesson with the title of this post. I’ve finished writing pages for the 3 Keystone Service Stations in Lancaster County that I visited almost 4 years ago in my quest to clear my archive of extra Amtrak Stations:

Enjoy the 200 new photos, these stations are so interesting, I couldn’t limit myself!

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)

 

Enjoy!

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:

Enjoy!