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Trip Report

OTOL Montreal RailFest 2006

July 18-23, 2006
Section 3 of 3


Photos by Piotr Dzwonek and Jishnu Mukerji

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Chapter 7: Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday was our final full day in Montreal, and in Canada. We were scheduled to complete the Metro system, and those trips were sandwiched in between two commuter rail trips out to the suburbs.

Michael and I had to change hotels today, for several reasons. The Sandman did not have any discounted rates for Saturday night, and they lacked washing machines. So I had booked our final night in the Holiday Inn-Midtown, which had that sorely needed amenity, and had a decent rate. I got permission from the Holiday Inn to bring our luggage over on Saturday morning, so that we would not have to carry it around all day, or return to Longueuil again had we left it at the Sandman. As it turned out, when we arrived at the Holiday Inn at about 7:30 AM, we were able to do a very early checkin for the following night. After we completed our business there, we walked through the underground passageways to Union Station, to meet the group.

Once again most of us opted for a McDonald's breakfast, although it was wearing thin after so many days. Once nourished, we headed for our first train trip of the day, a commuter rail run.

Chapter 7.1: AMT Deux Montagnes Line, Train #971, Central Station to Deux Montagnes

The six of us boarded our train to Deux Montagnes at about 8:50, ten minutes before departure. Train 971 left right on time at 9:00.

This is AMT's only electric line, necessary because of a poorly ventilated 3.2-mile tunnel underneath Mount Royal. Our equipment was EMU's, powered by catenary wires above the tracks. The route was at one time supposed to have been converted to a Metro route when the latter system was built, but with Expo '67 coming the line to Longueuil had funding priority, so the line remained EMU. With many stations very close together, the line could have supported rail rapid transit.

As seen from "Railfan Window" Deux Montagnes line goes down to 1 track Our single level consist during layover at Deux Montagnes Interior of our train to Deux Montagnes Group pose in Deux Montagnes by CN engine 6710 Group pose in Deux Montagnes by CN engine 6710

Highlight of this trip is, of course that tunnel under Mont Royal, namesake for the city. Once out into daylight, we paused at eleven intermediate stops before coming into Deux Montagnes, one minute early.

We had 18 minutes layover before our return trip, so we walked around and explored the station area.

Chapter 7.2: AMT Deux Montagnes Line, Train #974, Deux Montagnes to Central Station

The same equipment was now AMT 974, returning southward to Montreal. We retraced our previous trip, and came to a stop at Gare Centrale two minutes early. Suffice to say there is a bit of padding in the timetable that was not needed on this fine Saturday morning.

Once off the train we headed for the Metro, where we would complete everything we had not ridden the day before. After some potty breaks at the station, it was down, way down, into the Bonaventure station for the Orange Line.

Chapter 7.3: STM Metro Orange Line, Bonaventure to Jean-Talon

Due to our unscripted break, we started out on the Metro slightly behind our itinerary. We departed from Bonaventure at 10:56 AM, behind by nine minutes. We were headed in the direction of Henri-Bourassa, over trackage we had already ridden. We were headed for Jean-Talon, where we would switch to the Blue Line. I had allowed 20 minutes for this trip, but it only took 12. Therefore, we had already made up much of our time. We alighted at 11:08 AM and made our transfer.

Chapter 7.4: STM Metro Blue Line, Jean-Talon to St. Michel

Four minutes later we were headed east, towards the St. Michel terminus of the Blue Line. This trip only took about five minutes. When we got off at the end, we were now nine minutes ahead of our itinerary. The six-minute scheduled layover gave us time to go upstairs and return to the other side to board a train bound for Snowdon.

Chapter 7.5: STM Metro Blue Line, St. Michel to Snowdon

Now we would be taking yet another end-to-end trip. This one would last just 15 minutes, and it would traverse trackage we had mostly already ridden. We had just seen the portion from St. Michel to Jean-Talon, and the portion from Parc to Snowdon we had done on Friday. Therefore, the only thing "new" to us was from Jean-Talon to Parc.

We arrived at Snowdon at 11:38 AM (vs. scheduled 12:01 PM) so we still had time on our side. This was important for Jishnu, as he had a VIA Rail train to Quebec City to catch that afternoon.

The transfer to the Orange Line there was just three minutes, so we gained even more time since I had allowed ten. Jishnu therefore stayed with the group until we got back to Gare Centrale. Had we been running late he could have bailed here and gone in the opposite direction.

Chapter 7.6: STM Metro Orange Line, Snowdon to Cote-Vertu

Now we were on the final segment of Metro that our group had not yet ridden: the portion between Snowdon and Cote-Vertu. We left Snowdon at 11:41 AM and arrived at the Cote-Vertu terminus at 11:50. Here we had seven minutes layover time.

Chapter 7.7: STM Metro Orange Line, Cote-Vertu to Bonaventure

Here was the final official Metro segment of our fest, a trip from Cote-Vertu back to Bonaventure. This simply retraced trackage we had either just ridden or had done so on Friday. We arrived at Bonaventure at 12:17 PM, which was 33 minutes ahead of the plan.

We went up into the rail station, and then decided, for Jishnu's sake, to eat lunch at the food court within the station.

Chapter 7.8: Lunch at Halles de Gare (Gare Centrale)

We had discovered Halles de Gare after walking through it countless times on our way to Place Ville Marie or when having breakfast at the station's McDonald's (which technically is part of Halles de Gare). Unfortunately, most of the establishments were closed at dinnertime when we had wanted them previously, but now it was lunchtime and everything was available. It is a rather large food court with several dining areas, nestled along one side of the station.

We said goodbye to Jishnu, who would not be joining us on the next commuter rail round trip, as he had a VIA Rail Canada train to catch.

Chapter 7.9: Down time in Montreal

The rest of us had some time to kill. Because we had finished the Metro early, and we were not scheduled to leave on our next train until 2:30 PM, that gave us some time to kill. Piotr went back to his hostel and relaxed for a while. Steve did the same at his hotel room. Mike, Michael, and I walked around the city, exploring the underground passageways between the various shopping malls, eventually coming out along the Green Line. We then took that to Lionel-Groulx, where we switched to the Orange Line, and we went to Lucien-L'Allier. We just had to see the multiple sets of escalators that Piotr had warned us about.

He was not kidding. Lucien-L'Allier's Metro station is even deeper underground than Bonavanture, and it took us countless banks escalators to bring us up to the street level.

We finally got there, still well ahead of schedule, and then explored not only the Lucien-L'Allier rail station but also Gare Windsor just to the east.

Chapter 7.10: AMT Dorion-Rigaud Line, Train #53, Lucien-L'Allier to Vaudreuil

Steve and Piotr arrived at Lucien-L'Allier at around 2:15 PM, and together the five of us boarded our train.

Now I have to admit that this trip threw a surprise my way. This was one of those things that had changed since I had initially planned the trip, but I had neglected to re-check the timetable. Originally, the base service on this line went to Dorion. Only one rush hour trip in each direction went beyond there, to Rigaud. Well at some point AMT decided to extend base service one stop to Vaudreuil, a station located near the junction of some major freeways. This of course was a plus to us, as we got a little more trackage under our belts. However my itinerary said we were going to Dorion, so we all got a pleasant surprise together. Technically, Vaudreuil and Dorion were amalgamated in 1994, so they are really one municipality known as Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Two engines at the bumping post at Montreal"s Gare Lucien-L"Allier Narrow platforms between trains at Gare Lucien-L"Allier Anyhow, Train 53 departed from Lucien-L'Allier promptly at 2:30 PM. We ran west out of Montreal along Canadian Pacific trackage, and soon found ourselves running parallel to the VIA Rail Canada line (on Canadian National tracks) that we had ridden to Toronto and from Ottawa. The AMT station at Dorval is close to VIA's station of the same name. They are not parallel, but rather they are offset from one another.

This time we were lucky enough to have bilevel equipment. We were in "push" mode for our outbound trip. This gave some of us a chance to watch our progress from the "railfan" window at the front of the train.

We also got to chat with the engineer. Somehow our topic inevitably became food, and since we were in the mood for Italian food tonight, we asked for his recommendation.

If I have taken away anything positive from watching Rachael Ray, it is that you can always get good tips on where to eat from the locals. Our engineer's suggestion was Guido Angelina, a popular Italian restaurant in the Westmount section of the city.

Our outbound trip continued as we still ran parallel to the CN/VIA route to our left. The gravel lot at Vaudreueil on a weekend is almost empty When we got to Dorion, our train entered a siding and then went onto a branch line for the final mile or so to Vaudreuil. We alighted here at 3:30, exactly one hour after our Montreal departure. The crew remained on board and took the train to a yard just around a bend and out of sight from the station.

Unfortunately, it was raining when we got to Vaudreuil, so we really could not go too far in exploring the area. Another shot of Vaudreueil and its lot It seemed, however, that there was not anything one could walk to and get back in time for the return trip. Most of our fellow passengers either walked to cars parked in the adjacent gravel parking lot, or were picked up by someone. At the same time, people were being dropped off for the same inbound trip we would be riding very soon. It was a tight squeeze under the small canopy that protects the ticket machines, since many people were also using it as their only protection from the weather.

Chapter 7.11: AMT Dorion-Rigaud Line, Train #54, Vaudreuil to Vendome

The train that came out of the yard to pick us up was a different set of equipment than the one representing Train 53. The crew had changed too. On Train 54, we would be returning to Montreal with the engine pulling the train. We left Vaudreuil at 3:50 PM.

Now armed after several days with a good knowledge of Montreal's transportation infrastructure, we decided it would be best to get off at Vendome, rather than going all the way into Lucien-L'Allier. This would accomplish a few things for us:

  • We would see a different station and transfer point.
  • We would avoid the deep station at Lucien-L'Allier.
  • We would not have to walk outside in the rain between the rail station and Metro entrance at Lucien-L'Allier.
  • The obvious alliteration of Vaudreuil and Vendome.

After retracing our way along the CP, we came to Vendome and alighted there. We went down into a tunnel, which led directly to the Vendome Metro station. This was a very nice Intermodal station, not unlike those in the Washington, DC area at Rockville or New Carrollton (only in Washington the Metro at those points is outdoors, whereas in Montreal it is always underground).

Chapter 7.12: STM Metro Orange Line, Vendome to Lionel-Groulx

Five minutes after getting off the commuter train, we were rolling on the Metro in the direction of Henri-Bourassa. We left Vendome at 4:47 PM, and arrived at Lionel-Groulx at 4:53. By now knowing how easy the transfer is, and that the two H's are on the same level (Henri-Bourassa and Honore-Beaugrand), we walked across the platform and caught a Green Line train four minutes later.

Chapter 7.13: STM Metro Green Line, Lionel-Groulx to Atwater

Two minutes and one stop later, we had arrived at the Atwater station. At street level, we quickly found the restaurant.

Chapter 7.14: Dinner at Guido Angelina

We had a very good meal at Guido Angelina, and our group of five hungry railfans was handled well. The place was quite crowded and noisy, given the large room and high ceilings.

The restaurant is part of a complex called Pepsi Forum. The building itself was the old Montreal Forum, once the city's premier indoor sports and entertainment arena. With Centre Molson (now Centre Bell) taking that distinction in 1996, the property was redeveloped into retail, restaurants, and a movie theater.

Chapter 7.15: Jishnu's trip to Quebec City

While we were taking our Vaudreuil round trip and dining on Italian food, Jishnu was riding the rails in a different direction. VIA-1 car on VIA Train 27 between Quebec City & Montreal He went east to Quebec City in regular coach class, the same as we had experienced on three other trains together on Wednesday and Thursday. However his return was in a VIA-1 car (First Class), so he did get a decent meal while traveling back to Montreal.

Chapter 7.16: End of Saturday activities

After dinner, we again went our separate ways. Steve elected to see a movie in the adjoining theater before returning to his hotel. Mike walked the short distance in the light rain from the restaurant to his hotel. Piotr, Michael, and I went back into the Atwater Metro station. Piotr went in the Angrignon direction to Lionel-Groulx to transfer to the Orange Line, while Michael and I took a train towards Honore-Beaugrand several stops to McGill. From there, we walked to our Holiday Inn.

My night was far from over, as I had an ordeal doing the laundry. The hotel's guidebook said that change for the machines and detergent for the washer were supposed to be near the machines, but they weren't. By the time I had rounded up the proper change, and purchased detergent (which necessitated leaving the laundry and going outside the hotel to find a convenience store), the whole process took two hours.

Saturday was over, and now we had our return trips fresh ahead of us on Sunday.

Chapter 8: Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday was our Getaway Day, consisting primarily of our southbound trip on the ADIRONDACK and our return to the United States.

Chapter 8.1: Amtrak Train #68, ADIRONDACK, Montreal, QC to New York, NY

Leaving Montreal and all the way down to Albany-Rensselaer, NY, our train looked exactly like the one we had arrived on last Tuesday. Even the cafe attendant was the same one we had on the way up!

68 P42 locomotive MTR-ALB <- *** 82082 Amfleet I Regional CoachClass 82618 Amfleet I Regional CoachClass <- * 43376 Amfleet I full dinette 82622 Amfleet I Regional CoachClass <- ** 82596 Amfleet I Regional CoachClass
* (Mike, Steve MTR-SDY)
** (Jishnu, Piotr, Kevin, Michael MTR-NYP)
*** P42 locomotive 68 was removed at ALB, and replaced with P32 AC-DM locomotive 715 for ALB-NYP trip. No coaches were added or removed at Albany.

Our train was posted to depart on time at 9:50 AM from Track 17. The signboard in Gare Centrale showing stops made by the Adirondack Jishnu, Piotr, Michael, and I got on line early to get first crack at seats. Mike and Steve went to an area reserved for pre-boards, with Mike using his white stick and Steve accompanying him.

Passenger began boarding at around 9:35. The four of us on the regular line were sent down a stairway and guided to what was the "New York" car, those people going beginning to end. Mike and Steve, who used the escalator, were put in another coach on the other side of the cafe car since they would be going only as far as Schenectady.

By most of our various timekeeping devices, we left at 9:49 AM, one minute early. Wow, things were looking up so far, for an on-time run!

Four miles out of the city, we made our suburban stop at St. Lambert. Unlike our previous trip, there was substantial business here. We left there at 10:04, still a minute hot by our calculations.

We were headed eastbound on the same mainline that VIA Rail uses to get to its eastern destinations. Jishnu rode on this line on his side trip to and from Quebec City. We soon came to a junction called CN Southwark, and Train 68 hung a right off the mainline and across a busy highway to go south towards the border. We were still in Montreal's suburbs when we slowed down and crept for about five minutes.

Meanwhile, our cafe attendant announced that he would be open for limited service for a short while, as he would have to close before we got to the border. I wasn't sure whether we should wait until after the long customs process to get lunch, however I was glad I decided to go up there. By the time I walked up one car, I found that a line had already formed. The attendant got a little nasty stating that I was late, and he had already closed the line. He had not made it clear that he would only serve those who could get on line within two minutes of his call. Steve, who was already in the car, had some words with him on my behalf, which are better detailed in his report. Needless to say, although he had said he preferred US currency for payment, I found a good way to get rid of my remaining Canadian coins when it came time to give him a gratuity.

We passed Cantic, where Canada Customs does their inspections on the Montreal-bound ADIRONDACK, at 11:25 AM. We actually crossed the border at 11:32. We rolled slowly to a stop still shy of the Rouses Point station at 11:40, and the US Customs agents boarded the train to begin their process.

As we had expected, things took longer at the border than the timetable called for. One of agents came through the car with a radiation detector. The detector was activated as they passed an elderly man seated behind us. It seems that he'd had a medical procedure done recently, and he still had a radioactive isotope in his body. The agents had to send one person to the road checkpoint to bring back additional detectors. The man was taken off the train to be retested.

We finally pulled away from the border patrol stop at 12:54 PM, and then we made our regular station stop at Rouses Point, NY. We were on our way south at 12:58, now 48 minutes down. Plattsburgh came next, and after a three-minute stop there, we departed 1:31 PM, 51 minutes off. Our timekeeping was starting to unravel, and it would only get worse. All six of us had connections to make in either Schenectady or New York City, so we watched our progress with much interest. We were most concerned about Steve and Mike, who had to make the LAKE SHORE LIMITED in Schenectady to get back to their homes in the Midwest.

Port Kent came next, which we departed at 1:50 PM. Then at 2:32 we pulled briefly into a siding as the northbound ADIRONDACK, Train 71, passed us with P42 101 on the point. Had we not been late, we probably would have met 71 south of Westport, where the two trains passed on our northbound trip five days earlier.

During the trip we walked around the train, and of course spent some time up in the coach where Steve and Mike were sitting. They, too, were keeping tabs on our progress.

A three-minute stop in Westport was next. The 2:46 PM departure put us one hour eight minutes in the hole. Our stops at Port Henry, Ticonderoga, and Whitehall each took one minute or less, so we were doing better time on this stretch. However, we met with a further delay at Fort Edward, as we had to wait for a hand switch to be thrown to enter the station. That stop itself took four additional minutes. By the time we were on our way southbound once more out of Fort Edward, it was 4:51 PM and we were now an hour 36 minutes off the advertised. Around this time we grabbed our dinner in the cafe car and took it back to our seats.

Saratoga was next. Upon our departure at 5:19 PM, our deficit had increased to one hour 41 minutes. We then went up to say goodbye to Steve and Mike, who would be getting off at the next stop, Schenectady. Despite how late we were, it appeared they would still have about an hour before their next train. Their decision to make the switch at Schenectady rather than Albany turned out to be a really good one.

We lost one third of our group at the Schenectady stop at 5:47. We were happy for them that they would not have to go through any hassles related to missing their next train. Meanwhile, now down to four people we pushed onward to New York City. We had now left CP and were on CSX trackage.

When we left Schenectady at 5:49 I looked at my timetable and saw that another Amtrak train was scheduled to be headed towards us. Knowing that there is substantial single track territory between here and Albany, I knew we were in for a further delay. Sure enough, at 6:00 PM we stopped just before the beginning of the single track segment, and waited for eight minutes until Train 291, Sunday's ETHAN ALLEN EXPRESS, passed us by. Then we were able to proceed eastward towards Albany, were we finally arrived at 6:26 PM. We were one hour 26 minutes late upon arrival, so despite our unfortunate series of delays the magic of padding had made up 15 minutes since Saratoga.

We all detrained to stretch our legs. I ran up into the station and used a rest room that didn't smell quite as bad as the ones on the train and wasn't moving. Engine 68 comes off Train 68 at Albany station It was a risk, but I knew the engine change there is a process that takes a lot longer than it has to. We spent a total of 22 minutes in Albany while the engine was changed (15 minutes is allotted in the schedule), so we lost about half of what the padding had made up for us. The 6:58 PM departure meant we were now one hour 43 minutes down.

We got a fresh crew in Albany (thankfully, since the old one was probably within a few hours of outlawing). 68 proceeded down the Hudson River valley, and it did not appear we were losing any more time. We departed Hudson at 7:24, Rhinecliff at 7:47, and Poughkeepsie at 8:01. Now at the mercy of Metro North, we were an hour 45 minutes late.

We spoke with the conductor about our connections. Piotr, Michael, and I were supposed to have been departing from New York City on Amtrak Reginal 167, the designated southbound connection from this train. We obviously would not be making it. They simply told us that we should head for Customer Service, since in their experience the connection is not normally held for 68 when it arrives late into New York.

We left Croton-Harmon at 8:39 PM. Then, unlike its northbound counterpart, the southbound ADIRONDACK makes the Yonkers stop. This came at 8:59 PM. Now one hour 47 minutes down, we continued through the darkness towards the city. A check with Amtrak's Julie confirmed that our connection, 167, had arrived into New York from Boston on time and it would be departing at 9:05 as scheduled. With Jishnu, Piotr, and I all regulars on the OTOL Sunday Chat, we also knew it was highly unlikely that any of us would be home (or in my case to our hotel with a computer) in time to make any of the session.

We finally came to a stop at New York City's Penn Station, Track 6, at 9:21 PM. The ordeal was over, almost twelve hours after we had boarded this train in Montreal. We had missed our planned connection by just 16 minutes.

After we detrained, we all went over to the Customer Service office to explain our plight. Since Piotr, Michael, and I had indeed missed Train 167, they had to find other ways get us to our destinations. Jishnu was going to catch an NJ TRANSIT train anyhow, so he was not Amtrak's responsibility. However he did stick with us to find out how our situations would be handled.

Chapter 8.2: Amtrak Train #49, LAKE SHORE LIMITED, Schenectady, NY to Chicago, IL

To follow Mike and Steve as they returned to their respective homes in Cleveland and Chicago via the LAKE SHORE LIMITED, please see Steve's report here.

Chapter 8.3: The rail caravan out of New York City

Amtrak handled its misconnects rather well. They arranged with NJ TRANSIT to transport Michael and me to the Newark Airport station since none of their own trains would be stopping there anymore that night. Piotr was accommodated on another Amtrak train to Newark, and then he caught his NJ TRANSIT train home from there.

The result was a caravan of three different trains all carrying fest participants out of New York's Penn Station and through the tunnel under the Hudson River. Michael and I were first, followed by Piotr, and then Jishnu.

Chapter 8.3.1: Kevin & Michael make their way to their hotel

I had wisely chosen to stay in a hotel near Newark Liberty International Airport, and then we would complete our travels to Cherry Hill and eventually home to Howell the next day. Even if we had arrived in New York on time from Montreal, we still would have had a lot of travel ahead of us late at night.

Chapter NJ TRANSIT Northeast Corridor Line, Train #7879, New York, NY to Newark Airport, NJ

An Amtrak person from Customer Service walked us down to the platform from where the next southbound NJ TRANSIT Northeast Corridor Line train would be departing. While he was speaking with the NJT train's conductor, we were told to board the train. The conductor came over and put two seat checks in front of us, indicating we should not be asked for tickets by whomever came through that car to collect them.

Our train was quite crowded considering it was after 10 PM. We departed promptly at 10:03 AM. The trip was uneventful. It did not stop in Secaucus, and after dropping us at the airport our train would express to Metropark. While we were at Newark Penn Station, we saw Piotr's Amtrak train arrive on the same platform across from our train. Then I got a text message from Jishnu stating that he was now in New Jersey as well and was near Secaucus.

We got off our train at the Newark Airport station at 10:30 PM, and made our way upstairs. We showed our Amtrak tickets for Train 167 to the employee at the faregates. Usually Amtrak passengers arrive with just ticket stubs, so when we got a double take at the full tickets I explained that we had missed our connection to that train but were accommodated on NJ TRANSIT. He then let us through. We went down the escalator to the monorail platform.

Chapter AirTrain Newark, Newark Airport RailLink Station to P4 Station

Even at that late hour we did not have long to wait for a monorail train to arrive. Our trip was only about five minutes to the very next stop, P4. During our monorail trip I got a phone call from Piotr that he had boarded his NJT train in Newark to South Amboy.

At the P4 station, we went down to the loading area where the various hotel shuttles pickup and discharge their passengers. We had about a 15-minute wait for our shuttle to arrive, despite my calling the hotel from the NJT train to let them know we were on the way. We later found out that due to the layout of U.S. 1 & 9 and its limited access and local/express lanes setup, the shuttle has to take a very long trip considering the hotel's short distance from the airport entrance.

Our van soon arrived and we were transported to the Doubletree Hotel. It was around 11 PM when we finally got there.

After we checked in, I found a computer in the hotel's Business Center and joined our OTOL Sunday Chat. By that time, most had left so it was just Alan in the room. We chatted briefly about the long day our group had, and then it was back to my hotel room and some very badly needed sleep.

Chapter 8.3.2: Piotr's trip home

Piotr meanwhile was ticketed for the next Amtrak train to Newark, Amtrak 637, a Keystone Service train that runs only from New York to Philadelphia. Sure, he could have waited a few more minutes and boarded his NJT train for South Amboy from New York for a one-seat ride, but he held Amtrak to its obligation to get him as far as Newark as he had originally been ticketed. Instead, he would then switch to his NJT train in Newark for the rest of his ride home.

Chapter Amtrak Train #637, KEYSTONE, New York, NY to Newark, NJ

Train 637 left New York on time at 10:05 PM, just two minutes behind the NJT train carrying Michael and me. It caught up with us at Newark Penn Station, stopping on Track 3 just across the platform. Piotr got off that train at 10:22, and had only a few minutes to wait for his next train.

Chapter NJ TRANSIT North Jersey Coast Line, Train #7281, Newark, NJ to South Amboy, NJ

Piotr's final journey was on NJT 7281 from Newark to South Amboy. The rest of his trip was uneventful, and he got off at his destination right around 11:00 PM.

Chapter 8.3.3: Jishnu's trip home: NJ TRANSIT Morris & Essex Lines, Train #6943, New York, NY to Short Hills, NJ

Jishnu brought up the rear of our three train caravan, headed for home on a NJ TRANSIT Morris & Essex Lines (Midtown Direct) train. Being so late Jishnu did not get to count how many cars were in its consist, but he could tell that it was being pushed by an ALP-44 locomotive. While he awaited on board his train for its 10:11 PM departure, he saw first NJT 7879 and then Piotr's Amtrak 637 depart on other tracks.

When Jishnu's train was around Secaucus Junction, he text messaged me. At that time, my train was just leaving Newark Penn Station and we were three minutes from our stop at the airport, so we could not chat much. His train reached his destination of Short Hills at 11:00 PM, five minutes late.

Chapter 9: Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday was the day that any participants who had not yet gotten home would do so. Steve was completing his trip on the LAKE SHORE LIMITED, and Michael and I had to get from the vicinity of Newark Airport to Cherry Hill (by way of Philadelphia), and then drive home.

Chapter 9.1: AirTrain Newark, Newark Airport P4 Station to RailLink Station

Our van ride from the Doubletree to the airport was even longer than our trip the previous night. In order to get basically across the street, the van had to go south into Elizabeth where there are cross streets, and go around a city block, in order to make a U-Turn to head north to the airport entrance. We were then dropped off at the P4 Station.

A train came quickly and got us back to the train station in a few minutes. We showed our Amtrak tickets for access through the faregates, and went down to the southbound platform to await Train 141.

Chapter 9.2: Amtrak Train #141, REGIONAL, Newark Airport, NJ to Philadelphia, PA

It was a very routine Monday morning, and not a heavy travel day. Still, from experience we have found that the easiest place to find two seats together on a Regional train is in the Quiet Car. Not expecting any more phone calls or text messages, we shut our phones down and boarded at the rear of the train. That allowed me to record this consist before boarding:

939 AEM-7 locomotive NHV-WAS 44704 Amfleet I Metroliner coach as BusinessClass 43377 Amfleet I full dinette 82601 Amfleet I Regional CoachClass 21002 Amfleet I Coach 21281 Amfleet I Coach 82010 Amfleet I Regional CoachClass 82077 Amfleet I Regional CoachClass 82079 Amfleet I Regional CoachClass <- *

* Quiet Car / We were here

So with our few fellow passengers in this coach sleeping or reading, I decided to also catch some extra z's since I had some driving still ahead of me.

Our trip was very uneventful and perfectly on time. We got to Philadelphia at 10:57 AM, and waited around the station for our 11:48 departure for Cherry Hill.

Chapter 9.3: NJ TRANSIT Atlantic City Line, Train #4613, Philadelphia, PA to Cherry Hill, NJ

For Michael and me, this was our eighth consecutive day of travel. This was the final rail conveyance of our trip, another typical three-car consist pushed by a GP-40 engine from Philadelphia's 30th Street Station towards Atlantic City, with its first stop at Cherry Hill, NJ.

Our final trip was uneventful, both departing and arriving at our destination on time.

Back at my car, which had sat there for a week, we headed home (making a quick stop for lunch), getting there around 2 PM.

Chapter 10: Conclusion

Someday we'll get to Montreal again, perhaps to ride that new section of the Metro to Laval, or to re-create Jishnu's round trip on VIA Rail Canada to Quebec City. There are so many other cities in Canada with transit: Edmonton has light rail and a heritage streetcar line. Calgary has light rail. Vancouver has SkyTrain, a cross between light and heavy rail, and the only commuter rail agency in Canada that we have not yet explored.

Back here in the United States, we followed our Montreal RailFest 2006 five weeks later with the OTOL Mid Atlantic RailFest 2006, during which we spent two days in the Baltimore area and one in Philadelphia. Already in planning for 2007 is our next Big Apple RailFest 2007 in New York City, which will feature subway rides all over the city, as well as a Metro North excursion up to Wassaic.

There's more excitement in store for 2007, which we will surely discuss in person when we meet in New York!

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