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Trip Report

To and From Applefest 2002

January 19, 2002


WAS to NYP Train 162/19 (Unreserved Acela Regional)


901 AEM7 21226 Coach 82021 Coach 44696 Coach 82078 Coach (I rode here) 82067 Coach 82063 Coach 43043 Café 81000 Business Class

The Trip:

The trip was generally routine, running about 4 minutes behind schedule (See my note below regarding business car Beech Grove) to Philadelphia, and then losing about 1 additional minute per station to Newark. He passenger load was heavy starting in Washington. Approaching Philadelphia, the crew announced that all seats would be needed and asked everybody to sit up and gather their belongings into a single seat. Two people in my coach were incensed when an assistant conductor roused them to comply. My coach was 100% occupied leaving Philadelphia, and had standees from Trenton to NYP! A substantial number of passengers de-trained/boarded at Newark Intl. Airport. I believe the very high passenger loading, and the time to de-board/board at each station from Philadelphia on caused the time loss on the latter half of the trip. I did note a Sperry Rail Services track inspection vehicle at the Philadelphia station.

Beech Grove:

I had believed Amtrak business car Beech Grove 10001 was part of the consist until I returned to WAS late Saturday night. When I was walking out to train 162 on track 18, I found Beech Grove at the bumper post. I confirmed the coupling and brake hose connection, and noted that the HEP cables were not in place. When 162 first moved, we moved just a short distance, probably less than a car length, and then stopped for several minutes. When I returned to WAS, I realized the crew must have been uncoupling Beech Grove, for there on track 18 was Beech Grove, now in front of the locomotives from my return train.

Café Car:

The Café car was never announced as open on this train. As we left Washington, and again leaving New Carrollton the crew announced the Café car was closed and they would announce when it opened. As we approached BWI, I noticed somebody walking past my seat with a food tray. I started back to the café car, and returned to my seat when I discovered the line stretched almost through the coach in front of the café. The café was announced as closed approaching Philadelphia. There was no announcement about opening, but the café closed again around Newark.

NYP to WAS Train 159/19 (Unreserved Acela Regional)


I didn't get this consist. I boarded just before departure in NYP. I was going to walk through the train getting the consist but decided not to when I discovered how slippery the vestibules were due to snow collecting in them. I was going to walk to the end of the platform at WAS, but it to was quite slick and I decided I could live without having the consist. The train was powered by 2 AEM-7s.

The Trip:

This trip was generally routine except for tripping dragging equipment detectors twice. The first was between Trenton and Philadelphia. The train was stopped for 6 minutes while the crew inspected it. The second was between New Carrollton and the Ivy City yard. The train was stopped for inspection about 3 minutes this time. The crew found now defects in either case, and assessed that a slush build up under the trains was the culprit. I was surprised during the first inspection stop that a train passed us on the adjoining track at speed while a crew member was conducting the inspection. The train was from 1 to 10 minutes down during the trip, but just 2 minutes late at WAS due to schedule padding. The crew announced at every stop to be careful in the vestibules and on the platforms due the hazardous weather conditions.

The Real Fun:

My truck was parked on the roof at the Washington Union Station garage. After watching an SUV go down the ramp and slide into the curb at the bottom I decided that an alternative was in order. I found a bag of sand and a half-bag of calcium chloride. I spent about 10 minutes treating the ramp and then made a successful exit from the garage with my front end alignment still intact. My usual 30 minute trip home was about 50 minutes due to the hazardous road conditions. Just one more adventure in a fun filled day.

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