Amtrak Chicago Transit Adventures

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.