AppleFest 2003: Other Stories
January 18-19, 2003
Other participants of AppleFest 2003 have their stories to tell. First, Ed Findlay of Lynn, MA tells us of his overnight Greyhound bus trip from Boston to New York, and the return on AMTRAK Train #194 from New York to Boston the next evening.
Ed Findlay's Report
Boston to New York on Greyhound
The bus ride down to New York was boring, and the only highlights were that I had a chance to catch a glimpse of the AMTRAK station in Hartford, the Metro North station in Waterbury and a CSX train at Beacon Park (I had passed by that facility hundreds of times and never saw one!). The bus was way too hot and much too crowded for an overnight express. The driver was more concerned with getting back on schedule rather than dealing with passengers.
New York to Boston on AMTRAK
After the AppleFest I figured I would use my ticket on Train #178. But thanks to the group I was able to catch #194 to Boston.
Compared to the Greyhound bus, the AMTRAK train on the other hand was perfect. The crew was concerned with the delays and tried to inform us about the problems even though they had not been told the reasons for the delay, which turned out to be major electrical problems with the engine (which had to be replaced at New Haven). We had no problems with Metro North traffic once we joined their line at New Rochelle, and passed a measly five commuter rail trains during the entire trip (all in Connecticut). The lights kept going out every half hour but that wasn't too much of a problem since I was occupied with catching some sleep (albeit a losing effort).
We made up a few minutes as only a dozen people got off between New Haven and Back Bay, and almost beat the incoming #140 (via the Inland Route), which was 30 minutes early. We arrived at about 10 PM, 50 minutes later than the train was supposed to arrive. That did not matter to me since it was such a good train ride.
Next, Cleveland's Mike Hammond provides us with a report on his rail trips to and from AppleFest, including an unforgettable stopover in the Albany area. He also tells of his After-Fest activities on both Saturday and Sunday.
Mike Hammond's Report
This trip has been in the planning stages since last Applefest. Because of the fact that I had surgery in December, I had some extra time off to recuperate. I decided to take the last week off before I had to go back to work and visit Mom for a couple of days before Applefest. I had also had several discussions with Alan Burden as to the planned activities for a pre-fest gathering.
Wednesday January 15, 2003: Cleveland to Albany/Rensselaer
I left home at 2:10 AM via Yellow Cab for the 20-minute ride to the AMTRAK station in downtown Cleveland. It was a snowy evening in Cleveland and the roads were covered and had not yet been plowed. The cab ride was uneventful, and I arrived at the station approximately one hour prior to scheduled departure of the eastbound LAKE SHORE LIMITED, Train #48/448. I then checked my larger bag to Albany/Rensselear.
I was also informed at this time the train was running approximately 35 minutes late--no big deal nor was it any new revelation as this train is typically late. I watched the eastbound CAPITOL LIMITED, Train #30, which was also about 20 minutes behind schedule. The westbound LAKE SHORE (#49/449) did not arrive in Cleveland until about 4 AM-more than three hours late. I had heard they got held up in Albany.
Finally at about 4:30 AM my train arrived, and I boarded. The car attendant kicked a patron out of the single handicapped seat so that I could utilize it. I explained to the car attendant that as long as there were other available seats it was not necessary to make someone else move. However he still made this other person move, and I took this seat. Since it was at the rear of the coach, I was getting a draft from between the cars as the doors were constantly opening and closing. I kept my coat on for most of the trip.
The trip was uneventful on the scanner, but we lost more time in Western New York due to heavy and blowing snow. The train did not reach Albany until approximately 1:45 PM.
After claiming my luggage, I went out to find the CDTA bus which would take me to Albany, the #14. CDTA now is requiring patrons to walk out to East Street and catch the bus there. Because of the extreme snow that had hit the region this winter, the snow was five feet high. I did not understand having to walk out to the street as CDTA owns the AMTRAK station. I caught the bus heading for downtown Albany.
When the bus stopped at Empire State Plaza, the driver indicated that from this point on he would have to charge another fare as this was the end of the line. I then got off and asked him if I could catch the #22 there-and there was one sitting there. I actually ran for it and he stopped and waited for me. It was then about a 1/2 hour ride to Troy on a very familiar line. I then transferred to the #80 in downtown Troy for the quick trip to North Troy.
The time at Mom's was just spent watching TV and taking it easy. We really didn't go anywhere except out for quick short dinners of which I didn't eat much. My tummy was also still swollen at that time from the surgery and a lot of what I was eating was not staying down yet.
Friday January 17, 2003: Back to Rensselaer
At 8 AM we left Mom's house in her car for the trip to the train station. She got twisted around and we ended up going the wrong direction. Fortunately, I knew where I was and we got back on the right track. We arrived at the AMTRAK station at approximately 8:30, and after hugs and goodbyes I went inside to head down toward the track. I stopped at an ATM and took some money for the weekend and by that time it was 8:45 AM--time to walk down to the track.
Albany/Rensselaer to New York City
I descended the escalator to platform level and the conductor pointed me toward general direction of where I was to go. I stepped into what I thought was the opening of the car and realized that I had stepped in the gap between the cars and found myself underneath the train and platform with my suitcase sticking up from underneath -- about a five-foot drop. The conductor and other personnel were on me in a nanosecond. The steps from the car were lowered for me to climb up into the car. I had a couple of scrapes and wrenched my shoulder but was still raring to go.
The conductor cautioned me to relax for a couple of minutes to make sure the adrenaline in my system had calmed down, because I may be hurt and not yet know it. It was nothing that a couple of band aids and some Tylenol wouldn't cure. I will definitely be more cautious in the future when boarding or alighting from a train.
We finally got underway and they checked on me every so often to make sure I was all right. My right shoulder was hurting quite a bit, but not enough to require any type of pain reliever. I had to be very cautious during the day as I could not do any great lifting.
Alan met me at the Solari board in Penn Station. I had exited from the opposite end of the platform and went a roundabout way to get upstairs.
Alan and I took a quick tour of the new NJ TRANSIT (NJT) concourse and ticketing area--very nice and spacious. Our first conveyance was to be the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) to Long Beach. Since I was able to quickly check my luggage with AMTRAK as an arriving passenger, we had time to catch the 11:43 AM LIRR departure. It was a nice ride out to Long Beach. We then caught the same train inbound to Jamaica, where we had a small wait for the train to Oyster Bay.
We took care of personal needs and the spent some time on the overhead walkway watching several trains coming from the east converging on the platform simultaneously. We then went downstairs and watched the action from the platform from which we were to depart. It was cold on the platform as New York was in the end of a cold snap where the temperatures were in the low teens.
Our ride to Oyster Bay was also uneventful. We had to change at Mineola on the way out, but we got to ride on one of the new bi-level trains, which was enjoyable. It was a cold wait at Oyster Bay. Coming back in from Oyster Bay we changed again at Mineola to a Patchogue train and got off at Babylon. By this time it was dark. Before we knew it we were on the final express run back into Penn Station.
Alan then assisted me to board an NJT train to Newark Liberty Airport, for which an inbound patron gave me a ticket she was not going to use. When I tried to use it at the Airport station, it would not go through the faregate, and I thought I was going to have to purchase a new ticket. They opened the gate and let me through without a problem.
I then caught the shuttle to my hotel and hit the pool and whirlpool. Did it feel good on my shoulder! It was sore. I went down to the little store and bought some Tylenol but because I could not swallow pills yet, I dissolved the pill in just enough water where the pill could melt. I then drank the water-yuck! It worked though.
My special thanks to Alan for planning such a good Pre-Fest on Friday. I wish that we could have afforded Acela, but maybe another trip.
Saturday January 18, 2003: After the Saturday AppleFest
After our Fest activities on Saturday I ventured to Nyack aboard Red and Tan Lines to meet one of my Chase colleagues and her husband for dinner. They met me and we had a wonderful time. I had part of a bowl of soup and was full. By the time I left Nyack and got back to my hotel it was 1 AM, and a short night of sleep awaited me.
Sunday January 19, 2003: The Sunday After-Fest
After our fest activities on Sunday I was treated by Kevin and Alan to an After-Fest, riding NJ TRANSIT's Hudson-Bergen Light Rail. We boarded at Hoboken and rode the entire line end to end, both branches. We then got off in front of the Doubletree hotel where Kevin's car was located. We then went to the Malibu Diner for a farewell dinner which we enjoyed. Afterwards, Kevin drove me directly to my hotel at the airport. I spent the rest of the evening relaxing and went to bed early, as the next day was going to be a very early day.
Monday January 20, 2003: Newark to Philadelphia
4:30 AM came very early and I arose, packed, and got ready to go. I checked out and caught the shuttle to AirTrain Newark, which I took to the RailLink station in time to catch the first NJT train to Newark Penn Station at 5:58 AM. After arriving at Newark Penn Station, I then determined that my AMTRAK train would be on Track 3. I went up to wait for the CAROLINIAN and found out that because I was in coach I had to walk to the far end of the platform.
#79 arrived in Newark on time, and I enjoyed a fast ride down the Northeast Corridor to 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia to Cleveland
At 30th Street an AMTRAK representative was waiting on the platform to assist me to my next train, the PENNSYLVANIAN. I was personally escorted right to the Business Class section and was given a nice cold drink upon boarding. Business Class is definitely the way to go if you cannot get a sleeper. Seating is very comfortable. Train #43 pulled out on schedule and the entire trip was uneventful until we got past Alliance, OH. A freight train had derailed there, and they were single-tracking around it. This delayed us about 25 minutes. I arrived in Cleveland at 8:11 PM, ending another successful time on the rails.
I want to thank Kevin and Alan for taking such good care of me and looking out for me during our travels. I am now foaming at the mouth for the Chicago fest, for which I have already started working overtime. Thanks for such a wonderful time on the rails!