Greetings from the Lakeshore Limited as I go up the Hudson, luckily in a window seat, my bike in the baggage car to do four days of Ragbrai in Iowa.
I don’t have my computer with me so I’ll just be updating from my iPhone. Right before I left I continued down the NEC to upload photos of the two stops on the Dinky, the Princeton Shuttle:
Princeton with 24 photos and Princeton Junction with 74!
The trip began with a slightly eventful bike ride down the quite busy greenway along the Hudson mostly because of few of the gnarly bumps which caused by sattle bags to go flying. I leave the house after 1 and am carrying my heavy bike down the stairs (didn’t want to go around to the elevator) at the 31 st and 8th entrance to Penn Station right in front of the baggage office at about 2:30.
I stop at a QuikTrack machine and pick up my ticket. Then I walk up to the baggage counter which much to my surprise has a line (thank god its separate from the actual ticket office area) It’s the usual left luggage and people checking in for the Silver Meteor leaving at 3:15. An agent brings out a new bike box and tape for me and within 20 minutes my pedels are off, Handel bars flipped and it’s ready to go. As I pack I hear the last call for Silver Meteor baggage at 2:45 (so Penn is the standard half hour before) and then i am paying the agent $20 and am handed two carbon copy handwritten receipts (one for the excess baggage fee, $5 and one miscellaneous revenue receipts for the huge box $15) my claim checks (I also checked one of my saddle bags) looks slightly different wit the modern Amtrak logo.
I do a quick wonder over to the NJT concourse for water and try there bathroom and realize the one on the Amtrak concourse is actually slightly better, which isn’t saying much. I wonder over to wait near tracks 5 and 6 and see a line of people walking
from club Acela to a track and realize there for the silver meteor, delayed leaving sunnyside by about ten minutes. Boarding is soon announced for that train. I notice people then going to the elevator from club acela to tracks 5 and 6 clearly in sleepers. Before I can debate sneaking onto the platform boarding is called on track 6 at about 3:25. I’m the first one to show my ticket to the gate agent standing by and go down the stairs to the platform getting there right by the Heritage diner (I wonder where the viewliner diner is). There is one problem, the attends aren’t on the train for boarding! Some passengers needing assistance board before the conductor and attendants come and we are told its general seating and all Chicago passengers for the last car. It’s the efficient penn station kiosk and all the single seats fill before some passengers for Chciago are told they can go to the next car (and that point only in use for intermediate stops), where I would prefer to be but it’s not worth moving. I settle into a window on the right wanting to wake up to possibly lake erie of we’re running late. Ive done the Hudson enough times. There are some very confused foreigners who are used to the European model where a reversed seat means your assigned to a specific seat number.
Much to my surprise the train leaves on time at 3:45 a little different than my trip on the Texas Eagle when we kept being delayed due to boarding passengers.
We go through the tunnels beneath the West side just a few yards from where I was riding just a few hours ago. I notice some new signs with the cross streets as we go through the Empire Connection.
3:56 get to the daylight at about 110th street
3:59 go under the GWB and under the one little bridge I crossed where a sattlebag fell off the first time (and saw a train)
4:02 over the Spuyten Duyvil bridge and leave Manhattan for good
4:05 pass Riverdale
4:13 pass Dobbs Ferry where there is a double bridge plate. Ardsley. I get distracted talking with the mom sitting next to me who’s kids are four rows back and miss the Kawasaki plant.
The dining car Stewart comes through slowly chatting with folks. I make a reservation for 8:00 and get a little slip. The please listen announcement for your seating portion is crossed out. He says we operate things faster here and to just come at that time and NOT wait for the announcement. I realize it will be my first dinner in a heritage diner. I’ve only had breakfast and lunch once in them. I also remember breakfast on the lakeshore once when it only had an Amfleet II cafe because of two few heritage diners.
4:23 Scarborough with a little station house I’ve never noticed.
4:30 stop outside Croton-Harmon seeing its parking lots for a terminating Metro-North train to pass us and enter
4:34 we pull into croton and there is something neat about the metro north led sign saying Chicago IL with all stops scrolling with state abbreviations and a Poughkeepsie bound train pulls in right across from us. We leave first at 4:39 ten minutes late.
5:00 the dining car announces that the diner is doing its snack and beverage service. We go through the upper Hudson line territory, areas that I really need to explore, I’ve only done Poughkeepsie.
5:05 breakneck ridge, the tiny hikers stop. I realize from the jurkyness that I’m sitting right over the trucks of the car and at 5:08 Beacon as we go beneath that bridge.
5:21 get to Poughkeepsie. There is a blog boarding, singles to Chicago are being assigned to my car. It’s basically full. I debate walking the train but assume the front cars are being saved for albany (which I’m fine with, it’s only a 2.5 hour ride through) The conductor comes through and I notice he has the pointless arrow on his hat. We continue up the Hudson, it’s too bad there isn’t a better viewing car for the scenery.
5:59 pass the nice, historic Kingston depot.