Leave No Station Unphotographed: The Blog of SubwayNut.com


Driving back from Thanksgiving in Syracuse via Rochester and Erie

This past Thanksgiving Louise and I drove (for the second straight year) to and from my grandmother’s house in Syracuse. Taking the Lake Shore Limited we’ve considered but in order to get a Roomette would be over $900 total and even going round-trip coach I was seeing prices of $400 to $500. With the price of gas right now, plus rental cars in South Bend ($130 for the week) being so cheap, even with spending two nights in Hotels (on this trip both were paid stays at Marriott Brands, due to their free night certificate after 2 paid nights promotion) and the tolls, the trip cost we knew would be $500 for two people max, much less than Roomettes (during peak times) on the Lake Shore Limited. One thing that made this trip unusual was Louise had a major exam two days after our trip so driving back we planned our trip making strategic stops, maximizing the ime so she could work (with me quizzing her quite a bit in the car while she drove).

On Saturday as my family dispersed we had a friend who’s college student at the University of Rochester, who spent Thanksgiving with us, so we detoured off of the I-90 Throughway via I-490 into Rochester. After dropping him off, we headed to Dinosaur BBQ on the riverfront for lunch. Across the street I left Louise in the historic library and started taking a transit adventure walk, to the modern Rochester train station.

I first noticed the modern Rochester RTS Transit Center.

I kept walking and started approaching the modern Rochester Amtrak Station(35 Photos). First impressions were the impressive design of the depot and the (unfortunately for a me, since I’m not boarding or alighting from a train) very secured platform. I walked into the station and directly in front of we was a well roped off stairs/single escalator down to the modern platform. Luckily out the windows of the station and on the edge of the parking lot I was able to get a good sense of the layout of the platform and how both passengers and baggage get from station to platform. Hopefully at some point I’ll be able to get or off (or be on an on time train) and get photos on the actual platform.


I then headed back towards the library and walked through the modern Rochester RTS Transit Center, I liked it’s buses drive into fully covered areas design. Although the stop for RTS routes using articulated buses it was outside in normal shelters across the bus lanes, probably due to clearance issues. Overall I thought the Transfer Center was well designed, but will perhaps trap RTS in a hub-and-spoke model going forward. As large a city as Rochester is, perhaps RTS would do better running as a linear grid with more frequent routes, not all going to downtown.

I walked back to the library and found Louise in a room with a nice view of the Broad Street bridge over the Gennesse River, the slits below the bridge is the now abandoned Rochester Subway (Wikipedia link), crossing the river beneath Broad Street, most portions which were built on the bed of the Erie Canal.

That night we drove to Erie, and splurged a little at the Courtyard by Marriot Erie Bayfront Hotel so I could take a walk in downtown Erie (and finally get this Amtrak station) while Louise worked.

The next morning Louise and I headed out to breakfast (skipping the overpriced Courtyard’s bistro), in downtown. While Louise drove back to the hotel (with 2:00pm late checkout due to my Marriott gold status, not 4pm as seems like a guaranteed benefit), I walked up to the Erie Amtrak Station(31 Photos), located in restored Union Station. Unfortunately the brewery in the historic waiting room was closed (definately a restaurant option on a future drive to Syracuse), and I discovered the Amtrak waiting room (which would have stayed open until 8:00am because the Lake Shore was running a little late this morning) had no windows to the street. The main glass doors Amtrak entrance lead to another set of doors into the waiting room in what must be the former tunnel to the station. I walked around the station and got some photos from behind the historic station and then found a place to photograph the platforms not behind a fence up an embankment. In an ideal world I’d figure out some way to get on or off a train in Erie, to fully experience this complex station (like Rochester).


I then had a nice, long walk back, downhill to the Courtyard Bayfront Hotel, noticing some the “e” buses (running very limited Sunday service) had little stop signs that come out of the buses, like schoolbuses, something I hadn’t seen before.

Louise and I had an easy drive home to South Bend that evening, stopping at a neat Asian Market in Cleveland. I’m happy that I’m just 2 harder stops (I need to just do a write-up for Elkhart) from having the entire Lake Shore Limited New York Section (missing 2 stops for the Boston section) on the web.