Greetings from Highland Park after not losing anymore time on the Lake Shore, the route redeeming itself for me at least westbound with the much better schedule and after two good meals in the diner. The fact that boarding in Penn Station needs to be done so quickly they can’t do assign seats makes the westbound LSL even better. A year ago I road it eastbound, stuck on the aisle, told the diner was already full for lunch and told myself I will always take the Capital Limited instead.
I am still awake as we pull into Depew an hour late at 12:58, I could step off but don’t feel like it. We leave the AmStation at 1:11 but have to stop again for the New York sleepers.
I sleep and wake up briefly as we leave Erie and then on the platform in Cleveland just after arrival at 4:30. I again don’t feel like finding an open door. 4:38 see the baggage driven from the New York car, the double toot arrives at 4:40, down to 55 minutes late. We leave Cleveland following the red line rapid including seeing two trains passing. We leave following the rapid out to the airport. I try and sleep but am awake as we stop in Elyria at 5:12. We leave at 5:17 and pass the recently rebuilt
station with a white modular building.
We stop for about 2 minutes on the edge of town before coming to a stop at the actual Sandusky station at 5:55. It has a stone building with a waiting area which looks open, we then pass the minibuses and an RTS parked outside for Sandusky Regional Transit and get the dawn views of Lake Erie I was hoping for. We go over a causeway built on fill which crosses over the Sandusky Bay inlet. The train goes through Port
Clinton before leaving the lake for good. I realize you might as well sit on the left the views are basically equal of water and on that side you get the two and a half hours along the hudson.
We arrive at 6:50 and I get some nice photos of the train and station in daylight.
We keep sitting there as the train is watered at 7:11. The crisp PA system in the station makes a last and final car for the train and bus to Michigan. A Norfolk Southern cop visits the train on the platform, a first for me. I also see the van for the engineers who have just gotten off our train for their hotel.
I have gone through the fields of western Ohio in daylight before and want to try and get some more sleep. I do until 8:04 when we get a loud pa announcement made I think only to our car for Bryan. We arrive at 8:07 and I watch a station wagon full of people boarding scrambling out to get on the train. I notice a marker for the rail speed record set near the station and a little cinderblock Amshack with plenty of timetables inside. The stop has received modern signage and a platform. We’re 1 hour and 3 minutes late, I’m surprised we haven’t lost any more time!
At 8:30 I go to the dining car which has at least a few people at each table crowded but am seated at a table by myself. Not my preference for breakfast the fun of the dining car is meeting people! I just had bad timing.
Just I am just digging into my French Toast two ladies from Chicago who had always wanted to go see Niagara Falls come and sit down with me. They had just read an article about RAGBRAI Breakfast takes me all the way through Indiana and we pull into South Bend at 9:46, still just an hour late. We somehow haven’t had to stop for freight traffic except for once.
I go back to my seat and enjoy seeing the portion of the single track wooden catenary of the South Shore Line.
I end up taking a quick nap before the caffeine kicks in and at 9:40 CDT were passing the Portage/Ogden Dunes South Shore Line station.
9:48 still speeding trough northern Indiana by a large freight yard where I notice some auto racks with the logos of a bunch of different railways including ferromex.
9:58 pass the large industry of Gary and then get a glimpse of Lake Michigan between coal cars
10:04 bypass Hammond Whiting station in view of the casino
10:07 we cross into Chicago City limits, not held up anything.
10:13 cross over Metra electric as we slowly enter Chicago. Then we pass over another Metra line and by Comiskey Park. We arrive at 10:37 officially, just 52 minutes late, all the time lost in Albany. I pack up sitting in the station and slowly make my way off. I walk to the baggage claim (one I’ve only used once before) which is crowded with neither carousel moving. An attendant let’s me downstairs and I’m told by the manager of baggage operations at 10:52 it will be another ten minutes for my bike to show up, it comes and I show him my two bag tags and am told to retrieve my other bag before assembling my bike, It takes 20 minutes for the bag to come up the airline style claim. I then go off to a corner to put my bike together. As I do that Jim comes down the elevator with his sattlebaged bike. He’s taking the train to Omaha to do RAGBRAI as well, riding two days on his own before joining the ride. We chat a bit and he is very happy to now have a box.
At 11:42 I am waiting for the elevator bike fully assembled it comes down twice with confused passengers and their luggage. Third time is a charm and I’m off at street level and ride over to the Lake for a slow ride to up Highland Park where I’m spending the night stopping to photograph the Metra stations in Hubbard Woods and Winnetka right along the bike path.