Metra Again! Monday, February 11, 2002 (Continued)
METRA trains 105 & 112, Chicago (Union Station) to Antioch, Ill.
Although I rode this line last year, I just had to do it again. It
possesses a rural charm that is simply irresistible. I wrote about
it last year, so just a brief capsule will be included here. Since I
originally planned to skip this trip, I didnít record the radio
channel that is used on this line. Hmmm, Iíll need to do a search as
soon as I see the crew start talking. I must give credit here to Bill
Vandervoort, who publishes a
Railfans Guide to Chicago.
The section "METRA Railfan tips" contains
a wealth of information for each METRA line, that include radio
frequencies used, station lists and signal rules. As Karl Maulden used
to say, "donít leave home without it" I snap a photo of the departure
sign before boarding. Once again, there is an on board-automated
announcement of the trains destination and stops.
We arrive in Antioch on time after an uneventful trip. I actually slept
through most of it, so relaxing it was just riding this train, realizing
the peace of the place I was heading for. I get off the train at the
station, and walk into town. This is another place Iíd move to in a
heartbeat if I could. I stop at the local Dunkiní Donuts and pick up a
cup of coffee. They have a deal where you get a medium for only 25 cents!
Wow some deal. I doubt Iíll do any better on this trip.
Returning to the station, I hear a train
approaching from the south. Since there are no scheduled passenger
trains due, Iím assuming itís a freight train. Last year, I just missed
photographing the same train. A mistake I wonít repeat this time. With
coffee in hand I head for a good photo spot, and set up in just enough
time to catch Wisconsin Central GP units pulling a good size freight
My all too brief sojourn in Antioch ends with the approach of METRA
train #112 that will whisk me back to the windy city. A METRA police
officer is riding back with us. From the bits and pieces of the
conversation he had with the conductor, I got the impression that the
METRA police department is, like most transit police departments:
understaffed. Police services arenít always the highest item in the
budget, but are very necessary for the protection of life and property.
I would love to see more summonses handed out for things like jumping
in front of trains. (Like the genius in Elgin did earlier today.)
On this trip we encounter a 20-minute delay, following a fright train
almost all the way back to Chicago. This helps me to decide on saving
the trip to Geneva until tomorrow.
Arriving in Union station at 5:15 PM, I walk to the ĎLí and catch the
next Brown line train to Diversey. One thing is for sure. The ĎLí is a
mob scene at rush hour! Iím packed in like a sardine for the short
ride. Iím thankful I donít have to do this every day! Between the ĎLí
stop and my hotel is a Subway, so I pick up dinner: A cup of hot
roasted chicken soup and a hot meatball sub garnished with Jalepeno
peppers. As chilly as it is out tonight, I need something to warm me
up, both physically and chemically!
Tuesday, February 12, 2002 (Lincolnís birthday)
I decide to sleep in this morning, having no valid reason to get up
early. I hove only two more rail lines to ride, and I can do that with
no problem even if I leave as late as 10:00 AM. I visit the breakfast
bar in the hotel, and enjoy Danish and a cup of coffee. I bring another
cup of coffee to my room with me and type a bit before heading out
before 10. I decide to skip a ride on the line to Orland Park.
Although I havenít ridden it yet, it doesnít generate a lot of
excitement. It sits roughly between the Rock Island and METRA heritage
lines that run to Joliet -- Iíve ridden both of those last year, and I
consider the trip to Harvard a much better use of my Zone ĎKí ticket.
I may do a trip to Orland Park tomorrow, but I wonít be crushed
if I donít get to go there. So, I head for Ogilvie transportation
center to catch the 11:30 to Harvard.
METRA trains #615 & 646 Chicago (OTC) to Harvard, Ill & return
Although I went here last year, and already went as far as Cary
yesterday this beautiful piece of Illinois countryside keeps calling me
back. Its charming lakes and rural towns provide a magnetic attraction.
I love the country. Those of you reading this who live in Mc Henry
County: How grateful you should be to live in such unspoiled
beauty. You are fortunate enough to live in a place most people can
only dream about!
By Cary, we have discharged most of our passengers. Here we pass a
beautiful cluster of frozen lakes. Iím sure that this piece of country
is pretty all year around, but winterís frozen splendor holds a special
Charm, at least as far as I am concerned.
These trains are so relaxing to ride; the bilevel becomes a time
machine that juxtaposes both past and present. It is a restful place
for body and soul, this ride to Mc Henry. A release so to speak from
the trials and tribulations of life. Here on the bilevel, racing through
the Illinois countryside at 70 MPH, the world is at peace.
On the return trip, we encounter snow flurries at Crystal Lake, and
they pop up intermittently all the way back to Chicago. We pick up a
few folks at the stops; this is a local and our running times reflect
After returning to Chicago, I make my way over to Union Station, and
entering through the north, Iím greeted by a METRA Ďscream festí 4 SDP-40F
Units fully wound up and screaming for all theyíre worth. All committed
to the task of hauling tired commuters back to the Chicago Suburbs.