Leave No Station Unphotographed: The Blog of SubwayNut.com


Rebuilt Stamford and Darien with many new photos!

I’ve continued to work on the New Haven Line from my archive on the side while working on trips from this year.

In this update I’ve rebuilt to my modern navigation standards and added full summaries for two more important New Haven Line stations from my large photo archive:

Stamford(61 new photos)


Darien-(25 new Photos)



The Long Downtown Chicago Subway platforms and the Boston-bound only Lake Shore Limited Home

This is the final part 3 of East Chicago & the Rock Island Day on June 10, 2018. Part 1|Part 2

After a good half hour break in the DePaul Barnes & Noble Cafe, and a firm plan to meet some friends at Millennium Park to see what the free Chicago Blues Festival is all about; I head back out to State Street and armed with a One Day Ventra Card I decided to finally walk and try and do every exit from the State Street Subway platform. I tap back in at the northern fare control area to Jackson-(5 Photos) and immediately start walking north down the platform.

I soon reach the southern exit to the Monroe(18 Photos) and the Monroe-Adams Mezzanine with a closed escalator, I continue outside of fare control on street level (one of my main goals is familiarizing myself with every exit) to the northern fare control area and tap back in.


My plan is to see if I could walk through the abandoned Washington Station(6 Photos) that was closed for construction for now abandoned Block 57 project but this plywood barricade around the start of one of the escalators to the closed Washington/Madison Mezzanine made me turn back although I’ve since learned that technically the platform here is still open to the public here, so I could have continued to Lake.

I walk back and used the staircase only exit at to the northern Monroe/Madison Mezzanine and walked down State street, getting some photos of the abandoned Washington Station entrances still clad in gold on the street.


I then realized it’s time to walk over to Millennium Park where I walk by the new Washington/Wabash(1 Photo) Station and continue to Millennium Park. There I enjoy seeing my friends and how Millennium Park feels in a festival setting. Southwest Airlines is running a spin the wheel giveaway and I win a surprisingly nice tote bag.

Eventually I grab a well-deserved large meal with one of my friends and eventually walk him over to Lake(7 Photos) and tap him onto the Red Line. I then head back up to the surface since trying to board a train here will activate a Ventra ticket passback.


I still have a good hour before my train leaves so I decide the next stop I want to make is the new Washington/Wabash Station(20 Photos) at night, the lighting is dramatic as I have hoped for.


I don’t board any trains at this stop and end up leaving the platform through the southern exit only staircase. I end up walking down Washington Street and getting a nighttime photo of the abandoned Red Line Washington Station.

I still have a little time before I need to be across town at Union Station and decide to continue over to Washington(7 Photos) on the Blue Line.


With a train to catch and wanting to maximize time getting mezzanines at Monroe(21 Photos) I hop on the next train to the middle stopping position on the long Dearborn Street Subway. At this station I do both mezzanines, getting off at the Madison/Monroe Mezzanine and then walking down the street to the next mezzanine south at Adams Street.


Then I walk down the long platform to Jackson(11 Photos)past the closed southern staircase to the Monroe/Adams mezzanine. I notice the start of the modern platform walls just beyond the most northern exit staircase.


At this point it’s 8:53 and don’t leave fare control at Jackson, deciding it’s time to head over to Union Station to catch my train. I take the next Blue Line train two stops to Clinton(5 Photos).


From there I walk the couple blocks towards Union Station(10 Photos) and decide to enter through the new bus loop.


The Lake Shore Limited has started boarding. It feels rather strange since its running to Boston only this summer due to construction on the Empire Connector that’s rerouting all Empire Service trains into Grand Central Terminal that has no way to service a Long Distance train like the Lake Shore. All the station signs now just say Train 448 to Boston. I don’t bother going into the awful boarding lounge and instead walk down the walkway along the south gates and join the queue out to the platform as others leave the boarding lounge with General boarding just begin. As we head out to the platform I see the rear locomotive of the last Hiawatha train of the night that has just arrived and pulled through to the Southern platforms to discharge it’s passengers for easier yard access.

The Lake Shore Limited is shorter than the usual combined trainset as we walk by a couple Viewliner Sleepers and then Viewliner diner Providence. This dining car is not having its brand new kitchen used but is instead just a Sleeping Car “Lounge” and boxed meal storage area for Amtrak’s new “Contemporary Dining” cold boxed meal service that began at the start of June on this route and the Lake Shore Limited.

I continue up to the assigned car for South Bend, the car attendant isn’t assigning individual seats and I take a window seat.

The train leaves on time at 9:30pm. It’s a largely uneventful ride that I spend doing some work on laptop that I’ve brought with me. I get some photos of us passing over the 63rd Street Station that I stopped at earlier in the day but they appear blurry as expected.

The conductor takes a surprisingly long time to come and scan my ticket as we pass through Gary, he finally reaches me at Porter and it becomes apparent why things have taken so long, the conductor asks for our last names and destinations, reporting that his iPhone ticket scanner is broken. My tired self soon arrives home in South Bend at 12:16am 16 minutes late.

I’m happy to have Louise’s car waiting for me and don’t have to play games with Lyft or Uber and it’s a quick 7 minute straight shot drive home down Washington Street. Happy for another fun day getting more Chicago Metra Stations.

Busing and Lime eBiking the Beverly Hills Area Rock Island Line Stations

This is part 2 of East Chicago and Metra Rock Island Day, here is Part 1.

I get off the Red Line at 87th Street, and get on the appropriately named 87 bus that leads be eastbound towards the Rock Island Line. I get off when I see a Metra logo on a viaduct at Gresham(29 Photos). 

There I do a photo essay of the non-accessible viaduct station with two entrances.


From there I walk to the next Route 87 bus stop and take the next bus to Loomis Street, then I walk south a few blocks to the basically street-median Brainerd Station(24 Photos)


I keep walking east following the tracks and then a little south to the most northern Beverly Hills Station, 91 Street(22 Photos)

I get my photo essay of this station basically in a park and it starts raining harder. I walk down a paved bike path along Beverly Blvd that I think will provide direct access following the rail line but unfortunately the only connection to Vanderpoel Avenue to stay closer to the rail line is this gap in a random fence which I climb through.

I keep walking to 95th Street(27 Photos)


While I’m doing my photo essay at 95th Street, I see Chicago dockless bike share bikes that are being piloted in this neighborhood since bringing DIVVY bike share so far south is years away. I open the LimeBike app and see that there are some lime petal assist eBikes nearby on 95th Street. These are more expensive than the conventional bikes in South Bend since they charge both a $1 rental fee plus a 15 cent per minute fee. Since it’s raining and the idea I can make the day much more efficient I decide to give one a try. I scan the LimeBike app and am off to 99th Street(15 Photos). At 99th Street I leave the clock on my Limebike running while I do a photo essay including dashing inside the station house.


I arrive at 103rd Street(12 Photos), and lock my lime bike. This 13 minute ride cost $2.95 minus $1 I have in credits, so $1.95 out of pocket.


After getting my photo essay and debating if I want to take the bus across to the rush hour only 103rd Street-Washington Heights stop on the Metra mainline I decide to check out the same LimeBike again and ride to 107th Street(10 Photos).

I keep my lime bike unlocked as I get my photo essay of this simple station before riding to 111th Street/Morgan Park(39 Photos) where I lock my LimeBike. The 10 minute ride costing $2.50 but only $1.50 out of pocket due to a second $1 credit I have in my LimeBike wallet.


I debate what’s next and look at the LimeBike Service area and realize that I can’t LimeBike all the way to 123rd Street in Blue Island because it’s outside the City of Chicago and the LimeBike Service area. So looking at the bus map rent the LimeBike again for a 6 minute $1.90 ride to 115th Street/Morgan Park(15 Photos), where I don’t learn until later the depot recently burned down.

At this point it’s time to call it a day on the Rock Island Line’s suburban branch but not before getting the two intermediate stops on the main line that only receive service during rush hour. To start this process I re-rent the lime bike and take a 13 minute $2.95 ride to 103rd St-Washington Heights(30 Photos), I’m really enjoying the pedal assist feature of the Lime eBikes! There I get some photos of passing Sunday Express train.


I do my photo essay and retreat to a bus shelter to wait for the next 112 bus that follows the Blue Island main line to continue north and am treated to two locomotives from a locomotive leasing company going by.


I take the 112 bus the short distance to busy 95th Street where I do my final Metra photo essay of the day at 95th St-Longwood Manor(15 Photos). The LimeBike in these photos wasn’t used by me.

I then walk to nearby stop where I can catch the 95 or 112 (and have some Pace buses pass me by), and have a good 10 minute wait with my phone dying from all the LimeBike rides and navigation.

I ride the 95 bus east to the new 95th Street Day Ryan Station with it’s large south terminal building with improved bus bays and a northern building under construction.


I get on the next Howard-bound train.

It’s a fairly eventful ride downtown, I end up first switching cars because of a passenger smoking in my car. Next I experience something I’ve never seen before a loosie cigarette seller. A man walks down the train with a pack of cigarettes and multiple people grab a couple of cigarettes from the pack and hand the guy a few bucks. There is strangely no verbal discussion during the loosie cigarette transaction.

I take this train to Jackson-(9 Photos) where I get off and seek refuge with a place to charge my phone (along with a hot chocolate) in the Barnes and Noble in DePaul University to finalize my evening plans.

Continue reading as I get the Downtown Chicago Subway Platforms and take the Lake Shore Limited home.

Starting a SubwayNut Day Trip to Chicago via a car, LimeBike and the South Shore Line to 55th-56th-57th via a stop at East Chicago with a visit from NICTD’s Finest

This post is part one of East Chicago and Metra Rock Island Day.

This past summer, on June 10, 2018 to be exact. I found myself with a weekend alone in South Bend while Louise was in Poland for a conference. I was hoping to join her in Europe but I’m still too new in my job and wasn’t quite able to horde enough vacation time to be able to. The plan originally for the weekend was to go on a bike adventure into Chicago to tackle some more Metra stations as a day trip on Saturday (when Metra has more frequent service) and then spend Sunday at home doing my weekend audlting. Friday night, my friend Adam texted me to say he would be driving through South Bend on his way to Chicago and if he could stop for dinner Saturday night, this meant I flipped my weekend around and decided to stay in South Bend on Saturday and go adventuring on Sunday. After a nice dinner on Saturday evening with Adam we decided that we might as well meet up Sunday late afternoon as well, before I return to South Bend after my Metra adventure.

Sunday morning arrives with dreary-looking weather and a forecast for on and off thunderstorms. I decide I don’t want to spend the day riding around on my bike wet and that a benefit of not bringing my bike is being able to take the faster Lake Shore Limited trip home, giving me a few more hours in Chicago (there is a 9:15pm CT South Shore Line train but that gets into South Bend at 12:46am ET, painfully late, compared to the earlier midnight arrival of the Lake Shore Limited that seems less painful). The next question though is the first mile/last mile how to get to the train station since the South Bend Amtrak Station, and South Shore Line Station are at different places? I decide on what I feel is an indigenous solution with access to Louise’s car. There no LimeBikes by the Amtrak station but quite a few by my apartment so after trying one LimeBike that I can’t seem to get to unlock, at 8:24 I unlock a LimeBike and dump it in the back of the car.

I drive to the Amtrak Station and park Louise’s car, before getting on the LimeBike for a peddling quickly ride to the airport, nervous I’m not going to make the train. I lock the LimeBike up at 8:57 and board the 9:01am Express train bound for Chicago. One of my nearer term goals is to finally finish the South Shore Line, and the Saturday morning schedule means I can easily make a 52 minute stop at East Chicago. I purchase my $11.00 ticket using the app. The conductor soon comes, I tap my iPhone screen and get a little white seat check that has EC written in pen on it. The South Shore Line assumes everyone is riding into Chicago and on westbound trains conductors use a pen to write down your destination, if you’re getting off sooner.

It’s an uneventful, express South Shore Line ride, with a quick stop at the flag stop of Hudson Lake, the train having to briefly pause to activate the signal near 11th Street in Michigan City before making it’s one intermediate stop at Beverly Shores. I then get off at East Chicago(49 Photos) at 9:27 CT. We arrive a few minutes early, just as the first Eastbound train of the day to South Bend pulls into the station. I get some photos of the trains passing and confuse some crew members not wanting to get on either train. Everyone is friendly to my picture taking.


I then slowly leave the platform, through the platforms only exit through a station house shared with the one NICTD Police station to get some photos of the train embankment from the parking lot.


I first walk to the South Shore Overflow Parking lot under the train line and toll road, shared with Knights of Columbus. I also get a nice view of a South Shore Freight billboard with a locomotive that has lights!

I walk back towards the main parking lot hoping to circle it and get photos of the signage at the other end of the parking lot, but soon I see a policeman leave the police station (in a wing of the passenger) and get into a police car, I keep taking pictures but soon notice the police car driving through the empty rows of the parking lot towards me.

He asks we what I’m doing “Taking pictures of random cars?” I explain, “I’m not, just have a hobby taking pictures of railroad stations and am trying to get some wide-angle shots of the station off in the distance.” He asks me for ID which I reluctantly give him, and doesn’t say I can’t take pictures at South Shore Line stations but he just wanted to check on my “suspicious” activity. Overall it’s one of my better website encounters with the police (which have happened over the years, although I don’t remember the last time, the most memorable was once on BART when a station agent wasn’t happy I was taking pictures, but a BART cop was extremely friendly and supportive of my hobby, ending our conversation with “Time for me to go down and try and calm down the station agent”).


I do decide to end my parking lot walk slightly short and return to the station. There I get some headhouse photos and buy my next ticket to 57th Street (as the South Shore Line calls it) from the TVM for $6.25, this stopover has cost me $4.75  South Shore fares definitely favor those traveling longer distances, with a high ‘price to board and ride one stop fee’!


I return to the platform, sit on a bench and relax, before getting some photos of my train entering at 10:17 CT.

I board this train, which feels less crowded than the express train an hour ago, get my ticket collected, and make two intermediate stops at Hammond and then Hegewisch, in Indiana and then Chicago, Illinois. We then slowly curve onto the Metra Electric Line and run express to what the South Shore Line simply calls 57th Street(51 Photos). I get photos of my South Shore Line train departing and walk towards the 55th Street exit down a path between the tracks.


I don’t currently have an Active Ventra Card (long story) and want to take buses over to the Rock Island Line which doing stations on is my goal for the day. The Ventra website says the Walgreens on 55th Street sells Ventra cards so I head over there. I get there and there signs about Ventra cards in the store windows but the staff rudely tells me “Sorry we’re sold out of Ventra cards we can’t sell you one.” I walk by a historic building originally used by the Chicago Cable Car Company.

I then return to get the 56th Street and then 57th Street entrances of the Metra Electric Station, thinking about my next steps.


I then remember that the Museum of Science and Industry at least used to have CTA Farecard machines that I assume have been replaced by Ventra machines. I head the couple of blocks over there are enter by the bus loop, no sign of the machines outside the bus loop so I decide to head down the couple of flights to the main entrance lobby through the underground parking garage. There I find what I need a single Ventra Machine!

It unfortunately can only sell Ventra tickets, not new Ventra cards, so I decide just to buy a Ventra Day Pass for $10 and not think about my taps on and off of the CTA.

After completing my slight detour to get a Ventra card I walk south to the other Metra Electric goal of the day 59th Street-University of Chicago(18 Photos). As I head up to the first platform (each has just one entrance) of the simple station, I notice a Metra police car sitting in the bushes alongside the freight ROW, as much as I might have enjoyed watching a police car drive down the train tracks thinking I’m suspicious I don’t do a full photo essay of the simple platforms and focus on the unique entrance areas and single staircase up to each platform.


I then head to Stony Island Avenue where I used my Ventra ticket, to board a Route 15 bus that’s just arriving for a very short ride to 63rd Street. There I board a Route 63 bus that I board and wait for a few minutes since I’m at the routes terminus for a longer ride down 63rd Street, under the end of the East 63rd branch of the Green Line over to the Dan Ryan Expressway.

I tap onto the Red line at 63rd(17 Photos) where at Elevator has been installed since my last visit to the station in 2011.


From 63rd, I take a Southbound Red Line train in 4 minutes two stops to 87th(15 Photos), there I slowly exit the station, photograph some artwork that isn’t new, notice a new elevator shaft and wait 6 minutes for the 87 bus to get to my first Rock Island Line Metra Station.


Continue Reading: Busing and Lime eBiking the Beverly Hills Area Rock Island Line Stations.

Harrison and Rye – Two More Westchester Metro-North Stations

I’ve been working on a verity of website projects over the past month, based on past advenutes but I haven’t been able to quite get any of them finished enough to blog about.

Here though is a minor update of two more Metro-North Stations from the vault, including photos from a unique visit to Harrison when it had a temporary substation built in it’s parking lot after a transformer line blew.


Two more Metro-North Stations: Larchmont (rebuilt) and Mammaroneck

My current “finishing things” from the archive project is getting every Metro-North Station I’ve visited (and didn’t lose photos from during an unfortunate hard-drive crash, primarily involving the Wassaic Shuttle) up on the web.

Here are two more stations on the New Haven Line in Westchester:


From the Vault – Metro-North’s Pelham, New Rochelle and Mt. Vernon East Stations

I’m not quite all caught up on my 2018 trips to this date but have gotten a big urge to return to my New York City Routes and get every Metro-North Station I’ve visited with photos processed and a station page made for the website. The bulk of this update will be the Westchester portion of the New Haven Line:

Here are the first three stations (2 are rebuilds from 13 years ago):


Transportation Camp and a not alone SSL trip home

I have my adventure with the door to the bike car, not quite platforming as I arrive and then start bike riding down Roosevelt Road with the unique crosswalk/bike line towards the UIC Student Center on Halstead Street.


I ride over the Railroad yards and turn north towards Halstead Street to get to the student center but find my self stuck, by streets split into two by the wide Dan Ryan Express. This takes me slightly out of my way, but I arrive, lock my bike up tight for the day, and head inside in the middle of Transportation Camp introductions.

The inaugural Transportation Camp Chicago is a unique event that feels much less scholarly than the other Transportation Camp New Yorks and Boston’s I’ve been too. It feels much more of a train buffs, “Let’s Talk Trains” event. There is an interesting introduction presentation on the new dockless bike share pilot in a couple extreme South Side Chicago neighborhoods, which I spend a lot of time talking in because we have LimeBike already in South Bend and have had it since last Summer. I attend a discussion on why the Nashville Transit referendum failed, right-leaning anti-transit funding money, proposals for the O’Hare Express Train/hyperloop, a presentation on Detroit’s Modern Streetcar, and finally a discussion of the O’Hare Express/Hyperloop proposals. The entire event feels a bit disorganized and keeps not fully following the normal propose your own session script. The sessions feel haphazardly put together without a clear session leader. I am not surprised to find out that none of the organizers have attended a Transportation Camp event before and have basically just planned this event hearing about the principals from other camps.

The camp cancels the last session and ends with a few fun rounds of Cards Against Urbanity, Young Professionals in Transportation Edition instead, so I have a bit of social time since I don’t feel like taking the final South Shore Line train that gets me in at 1:00am. I tie myself away from the fun at 6:00pm, head down to by still in one piece bicycle and am on by bike by 6:10. I ride down Harrison Street this time, a much more pleasant ride. I get some decent photos of LaSalle Street Station(3 Photos) as I ride by.


I realize I have a moment as I approach Grant Park to refill my water bottle at a water fountain. I then arrive at Museum Campus(8 Photos). My train comes in at 6:28, I get some photos and have the driver wave at me and verbally say from his cab to “Walk Down” to the very front of the platform where the bike car is.


I board the bike car and there are two other bikes on the bike rack that I put my bike near.

The ride back is largely uneventful and I don’t take nearly as detailed notes as I did for this morning’s ride. We do curve off the South Shore Line at 6:52 heading onto the South Shore’s unique independent trackage.

I get a few photos of the train going through Gary as the sun starts going down of the historic locomotive and courthouse.

In Dune Park, the other two bikes get off, wheeled off my only one owner. This is in conflict I believe with most transit systems bike policies that require one rider per bicycle. The South Shore Line’s easy to use bike racks really don’t effect this so much, and she can wheel both bikes together at once.

As we go through Michigan City I see passengers walking up front towards my car. This is standard South Shore Line practice so they can close up the rear of the train beyond Michigan City for South Bend’s very short 3 car platform, or even dump cars in Michigan City, leaving them behind. I’ve never been on an Westbound Train where they add cars though. At this point the sun has nearly fully set as we slowly go down 11th Street.

We reach Carroll Avenue 5 minutes early at 8:07pm and I hope we get through this stop with the South Shore Line shops efficiently. The train’s crew changes (this train becomes the 10:16pm final Westbound train back to Chicago of the night) and I hear the dumping of air, since we’re clearly dumping some cars off and leaving them behind, this is a relatively slow process, but we leave Carroll Avenue again at 8:14pm CT. I wish that Amtrak’s didn’t charge $20 extra dollars to use the Capitol Limited’s Bike car, I would have left Transportation Camp at the same time and have been home by now. This is how trips often occur now, the South Shore into town (to avoid Amtrak delays) and Amtrak back to South Bend since it normally leaves Chicago on time.

It’s then a final ride through the night, with me deciding I’m too tired to read and listen to music instead, the track work is definately making the ride a bit slower. We arrive at the South Bend Airport at 10:03pm as a 3 car train, instead of a 7 or 8 car train, about 10 minutes late. I put the lights on my bicycle and ride down Lincolnway home into the night. I’m home by 10:15pm.

A Private South Shore Line ride with my bike to Transportation Camp Chicago

This past May (on May 5th to be exact) I headed into Chicago to attend the inaugural Transportation Camp Chicago for the day. Louise and I considered getting a hotel room and making a weekend out of it but with a big trip (no transit involved) the following weekend, tickets to Kinky Boots in South Bend the night before, it just didn’t make sense to make a weekend out of it. Based on the location of the event, the logistics of not wanting to make Louise get out of bed too early on a Saturday morning, and the weather forecast I decided that taking my bicycle on the South Shore Line was the perfect way to solve the first mile/last mile logistics of the day and get to Transportation Camp — an unconference where it really wouldn’t be an issue — slightly late, but faster than any other option for getting across from a South Shore Station to the UIC Campus for the event.

I wake up at 6:15am ET, leave the house at 7:05am and get to the airport at 7:30am, plenty of time for my 7:45am train. The South Shore Line has a very strict policy requiring bicyclists to only board at high-level platform stations, and through center doors. Like last bike season the bike car is now the very last car of the train and one that won’t platform at most stations, so it’s been closed off meaning I get most-likely (unless there are other bicyclists) a private car. In 2016 when I took the South Shore Line with my bike more it was always a scramble with other passengers boarding in South Bend who don’t feel like walking forward more. The friendly conductor asks me to wait a minute and then asks me my destination – Museum Campus – before opening the center doors for me and then closing them. I put my bicycle in the nice easy to use rack and sit down.

At 7:43 the conductor lets a few last minute stragglers into my car before we leave at 7:45, with the stragglers walking up to the regularly open few cars. This means a car to myself until at least Dune Park. The conductor then punches my final ride on my 10-trip ticket, this evening this 10 trip ticket will be collected. The ticket was purchased last June before the South Shore Line’s last fare hike, Louise and I haven’t been taking the South Shore Line into Chicago as much lately, preferring the comfort of taking Amtrak.

The South Shore Line leaves the Airport on it’s slow merry-go-round like ride out of the airport, along Bendix Avenue (which it crosses at grade-crossings twice), past the concrete plant, retracing my ride to the airport.

At 7:54 we pass the old Honeywell plant, a place where some have proposed relocating the South Shore Station, “to save time”. The original plans to relocated the South Shore Line to the west side of the Airport, was curtailed by NIMBYism from a few landowners (12 to 24) in the unincorporated community of Ardmore who protested that the South Bend City government (a government they don’t vote for) were going to use city money to buy their homes using eminent domain.

7:57 – We finally switch onto the South Shore “Mainline” that continues before it ends at the current Amtrak Station, parallel to the Norfolk Southern Tracks. We pick-up speed, finally heading west in good time, and are soon in fields.


8:09 – We pass the train running in semi-revenue service from Michigan City to South Bend that will become the 9:00am Express Train to Chicago that I usually take. At one point pre-2009, ‘reliability’ service cuts nearly all weekend trains running every 2 hours ran all the way to South Bend. These meets today are relatively rare east of Michigan City. The ride here is through fields.

We bypass the Hudson Lake Station, at 7:14 CT, just after passing the Hudson Lake Cemetery. No one has singled the train to stop at this flag stop. This station is just beyond the county line where I gain the hour entering Central Time.

I then listen to music and doze off, my plan for at least the start of this early morning train ride. I wake up and am sitting the Carroll Avenue(3 Photos) train yard with a nice view of the ex-Metra Galley Car, I think the South Shore Line purchased for clearance testing before they purchased their most recent bilevel cars.


  • 7:43 – I notice a purple cross by the train line as we enter Downtown Michigan City. I assume this cross is for someone killed by a train.
  • 7:45 – We cross Michigan Blvd and head into 11th Street to begin the one remaining street running section of “the last interurban in America.”
  • 7:46 – We stop at 11th Street-Michigan City in the middle of the street, while stopped the same conductor walks back to “Check in and make sure your doing okay.” We leave the station before stopping again to activate a signal. I notice a gravel parking lot on the north side of the tracks with a South Shore Line parking sign.
  • 7:51 – We transition from 11th Street to 10th Street and cross the Amtrak Michigan Line.

We continue down the middle of 10th Street before passing the Michigan City State Prison. Then we finally enter the paster private ROW through Duneland.

We stop at Beverly Shores at 7:58, I glance at my timetable and see for no reason I can fully think of we’re running 15 minutes late. Perhaps there was a slow down between Carroll Avenue and Hudson Lake that I slept through.

We get to Dune Park at 8:03, let see if any other bikes are riding this morning. The doors on my car don’t automatically open but I platform! The platform has signs for local trails, no other bikes this morning. As we leave, I noticed a pedestrian trail leaving the station leading to Indiana Dunes State Park.

8:09 – Industry returns as we pass the Bruns Harbor area and cross over the NS line used by Amtrak (including all Michigan Service trains) into Chicago.

We stop at Ogden Dunes at 8:15, my car is stopped by the mini-high platform that has a retracted bridgeplate to allow freight trains through without needing gauntlet track. I also notice a strobe light on the mini-high platform to alert the crew if any wheelchairs need to board. I wonder how delayed trains are if a wheelchair wants to get on here.

We cross the NS railroad used by Amtrak again coming to a stop at the simple Miller Station at 8:22, 15 minutes late

We follow follow the Dunes Highway into downtown Gary where we cross and then follow the Toll Road into town. We then pass the RailCats independent baseball team’s stadium.

Almost immediately we come to a stop at the Gary Metro Center Station(1 Photo). The bike car is stopped near the switch used by weekday trains that short-turn at Gary use. The bike car isn’t anywhere close to the platform. I do have a nice view of the New York Central Station.


We leave Gary-Metro Center and I get a nice photo of the station building with the walkway that angles up from the platform to it over the parking lot.

At 8:33 we come to a stop at Clark Road-Gary Airport, my car is nearly under Airport Road, quite a ways from the short station platform.

We reach the edge of the large East Chicago(2 Photos) parking lot, (with a non-union rat in the distance). My car comes to a stop at 8:40 at the unusued low-level platform area on the opposite side of the elevator/stair landing that leads up to the high-level platform.


We head back down to grade-level and enter Hammond where my car actually platforms!

We pass a train yard and a lake and continue into Chicago, where the first stop is Hegewisch at 8:51. We pass a Norfolk Southern locomotive attached to some autoracks.

I see a waiting bus to the 69th Red Line Station, which seems like a fun way to enter Chicago one-day and get a proper photo essay of Hegewisch, I did bike there once but nearly missed the South Shore Line so I didn’t have time to get a proper photo essay.

Leaving Hegewisch, we pass a CSX yard where a locomotive is pulling some autoracks, just like the NS locomotive when we entered.

We pass the modern blue bridge that opened as part of the Create project and more abandoned industry.

At 8:59 I see Metra Electric tracks, and we cross the parallel ex-IC freight and intercity tracks at a grade before slowly switching onto the Metra Electric line at 115th St/Kensington, where the platform signs seem to be missing.

We then immedately pass the Kensington/115th Street Station.


We then head onto the outside Express track, and I decide to get out the window photos of the Metra station’s as we pass.

I’m at the ready at the abandoned 67th Street Station, after we pass over the South Chicago branch that arrives at at a flying junction.

Then some photos passing through 63rd Street(3 Photos)


At 9:10, as we stop at 55th-56th-57th, we finally get an announcement to expect all trains running to and from South Bend to be 10-15 minutes late due to track work. Probably residual delays due to the weekdays busing that ended the day before.

We then bypass 51st, 53rd/Hyde Park(3 Photos) were I get some nice, final out the window photos.


At this point I put my camera away and start to pack up. At McCormick Place I notice the platform has a lot more bright signage. I definitely need to put this unique convention center stop on my re-visit list.

We then come to a stop for Museum Campus with my car not actually platforming.

The conductor is nearby and tells me to wait a minute. The train than pulls-up and makes a double-spot at Museum Campus(8 Photos). Unfortunately the engineer didn’t pull the train up enough. The middle door is now only half-way on the platform. I carefully get off with the conductor asking me “Is everything okay?” not that happy that I’m taking pictures of a safety hazard she’s created not properly spotting the train.


Continue reading – Transportation Camp Chicago and a Not Alone South Shore Line ride home.


Flying Home From Disneyland to my first ride on Amtrak’s Blue Water to Niles

After a great day at Dinseyland, on a trip designed to keep us on eastern time, we work up (almost naturally) shortly before 6:00am at the Courtyard by Marriot Anaheim Convention Center, quickly packed up and hailed a Lyft to John Wayne Airport. The ride was quick (taking from 6:09 to 6:27) and cost $16.49, plus a $2.00 tip to the driver who waited for us when I realized I had left my camera in the hotel room and ran up to grab it.

We get to the nice, small John Wayne Airport and clear security into a terminal with tons of planes getting ready to depart, although the first take-off can’t be until 8:00am due to the airport’s overnight curfew. At a departures monitor I noticed something unique and helpful, arrows pointing in opposite directions (the terminal is one long building with gates on one side) orienting travelers on the location of their gate.

The only decent thing nearby for breakfast was McDonalds so we head there to grab breakfast before heading back to the gate. The plane boards relatively early with a notice on the jetway to comply with California’s lets put a sign that everything causes cancer to alert us just before we board the plane. There’s also a sign warning us of the effects of drinking like we’re entering a bar (I guess since planes serve booze).

The flight itself has one fun event. Louise starts by napping. I watch Enchanted! a strange live-action Disney movie that takes place in New York on the seatback TV (this is one of the planes American hadn’t gotten to rip the TV out of yet). When the free drink cart comes I order us both ginger ale before overhearing someone else ask for Dr. Pepper. Before the cart moves on I ask if they have Louise’s soft drink of choice Diet Dr. Pepper, and the flight attendant says “Yes we do! Not many people know about it” handing us a third can of soda.

We get to O’Hare pretty much on time around 1:50pm. The next train to the South Bend area is Amtrak’s Blue Water. I booked these during a sale a few weeks ago for $17.00 each, there’s no good taxi service from Niles (Uber and Lyft’s from South Bend can’t pick up across state lines in Michigan), so we’ve arranged for Louise’s Dad to pick us up (in return we will take him out to dinner). So at O’Hare we head for the Blue Line(2 Photos).


As we leave O’Hare I watch the train’s destination roll sign and think for a minute we may be running express but the sign soon settles on Forest Park.

We head downtown and get off at Washington Street and head to a Roti for a late lunch since were both quite hungry. After lunch we board a bus on the Loop Link, taking advantage of the free transfers on the $5 single-use Ventra passes I’ve bought at O’hare. I’m convinced that just tapping a regular Ventra card at O’Hare would have been more expensive since you will still be charged the CTA 25 cent transfer fee on most tickets.

We get to Union Station-(1 Photo) at 3:30pm, and soon join the Kindergarten walk to the Blue Water to Port Huron scheduled to leave at 4:00pm. This train runs in a pull-pull configuration with P42s at each end. A Cabbage can’t be used because of the 110mph stretch of running on the Michigan Lines and Cabbages aren’t raited for those speeds.


We board and I enjoy looking out at the Horizon cars of some other Amtrak Midwest trains in the station.

The train slowly leaves Chicago on time at 4:00pm and heads down past the train yard on the same route used the Lake Shore & Capitol Limited and all other Michigan trains towards Indiana. The conductor comes and a I learn a few travelers going to Dearborn booked the unnecessary connection Amtrak has built into Arrow by taking the Blue Water to Battle Creek and then transferring to the Wolverine that originates in Chicago 2 hours later. They seem in good spirits about their Battle Creek layover. I’m not quite ready with my camera to get photos as we cross over the Dan Ryan Expressway.

At 4:22 we’re back in Indiana, passing the Casino and then through the Hammond-Whiting Station. We then go through one of the abandoned steel mills.

Soon we’re going through Gary, and past it’s abandoned station, with the South Shore Line’s Gary Metro Station visible, across the Toll Road.

Next landmark is at 4:41 CT when we pass the South Shore Line’s Portage-Ogden Dunes Station.

I have my camera at the ready when we reach the town of Porter Indiana where we curve off the Norfolk Southern main line and onto the Amtrak Michigan district at 4:42 with a sign welcoming us to it in the same style as the one at the other end that I saw a few weeks ago in Kalamazoo.

We then pick up speed as we head towards Michigan City, crossing the South Shore Line (which has to yield to all Amtrak traffic, I’ve been made late waiting for Amtrak trains to cross and even a crossing bar blocking the South Shore’s track), and then Amtrak’s small waterfront station.

We make our one intermediate stop at New Buffalo at 6:10pm. Then its another quick ride through some fields to Niles(24 Photos) where we arrive at 6:29 on the outside track.


Louise’s Dad isn’t there so we head into the station to wait on this cold day. I get some photos of the recently closed ticket office while we wait.


He pulls up 15 minutes late fuming because he got lost in downtown Niles (just south of the Amtrak Station) due to the lack of a sign telling him when to turn to stay on Michigan 51 (also known as 5th Street) to reach the train station. We take him out to dinner which makes him feel better.

We get home at a reasonable hour by 8:00pm. Staying on Eastern Time definitely works! We both wake up the next morning feeling well rested and not at all jet lagged with long productive days working and none of the usual post-trip (especially from the West Coast) fatigue.