Superstorm Sandy

A Chatty VIA Park Car Ride North to Port Henry on Adirondack #69

This is the second post (Post 1) in a multi-part series about a going home from Syracuse via Port Henry on the Adirondack to run the VIA equipment borrowed by Amtrak over Thanksgiving to provide an increase in capacity after Superstorm Sandy.

I get on the Adirondack and start chatting with one railfan who’s is from Rutland and getting off in Rouses Point where he stashed a car doing the trip in reverse (with others) on Friday. He took the Ethan Allen down I photographed entering Schenectady this morning. The train is a mix with 4 VIA Stainless Steel Long Distance cars that I remember on the Canadian and a single Short Distance car with enclosed luggage racks and a galley at one end since all food service on VIA Corridor is via carts (Amtrak had the options of a Park Car or a full Dining Car). We decide to sit together (since neither of us are going to spend any time really in our actual seats) and the conductor soon comes by to scan our tickets.
We then wander back to the Park car where its clear the attendant is still doing inventory and go up to the dome. There a few other railfans and we are all chatting. Most are doing the Port Henry day trip like I am.

Soon after we sit down in the dome the terrible LSA announces that the food service car and observation car are still closed and to not come back to the cars. Maybe one guy leaves, worried about getting kicked off. None of us do, there is no sign of an attendant or conductor actually coming into the car to kick us all off. One guy says he has some higher up at Amtrak on speed dial and we joke that were not even in the observation part of the car (that’s the bullet lounge!) and the announcement didn’t say that the dome is also closed.

We arrive in Saratoga Springs on time at 11:57. There we sit in the station unsure of what is going on until we see a bunch (like 5) Saratoga Springs police cars outside of the station. We joke there all getting on to arrest us for staying in the dome. Eventually we see the police taking someone off the train questioning him as the police take someone off the train (who so far is only being questioned, not handcuffed) who I recognize got on at SDY. We finally leave Saratoga Springs at 12:08.

At 12:13 its annouced “the observation car is officially open” but no word about food service being open. I have a nice, chatty scenic ride as I take lots of pictures and not really any notes. At one place we notice a railfan photographing the train from the roof of his car. The bullet lounge eventually fills up with people, not using the area as intendent. It is silent with about six people sitting in the nice chairs, laptops perched on their laps. We make uneventful stops in Whitehall and Ticonderoga and soon they announce 20 minutes to Port Henry. I leave the dome a little early, grab my small backpack from my seat and walk the train as I wait for our arrival. I want to be the first one off to get an engine photo. We arrive at 1:58, 19 minutes late and I run up to the locomotive to get a picture, its not a very good picture facing straight south into the sun but the photos I get of the Park car leaving the station more than make up for things. We know were going to be there for awhile, #68 had been delayed for an hour at the boarder.

I spend the layover wondering around the historic station built in 1888, and barely step inside. It’s a senior center and they are not all that welcome to travelers wanting to go inside to get warm. Its also nice to get photos of the 3 cars, with a locomotive, hopper car and caboose in the station painted for the Lake Champlain & Moriah Railroad. It’s also a quite social layover with a good ten railfans including me standing around waiting for southbound #68 to come into the station.

Here are photos from the trip north:
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