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Trip Report

Chicago Round Trip

May 25-27, 2009


My wife and I left BWI (Baltimore-Washington-Thurgood Marshall International Airport Rail Station) Rail station Monday, May 25 on Acela Express 2252, with two first class seats. (I must add I am mobility limited, and had rented a wheel chair for the trip. Unfortunately, it was over-sized and led to some difficulties.) The station agent at BWI was very helpful and set a plate to cover the gap between platform and car. I had to get up from the chair as it would not pass easily through the doors into the car.

After getting seated, the attendant took our lunch orders, and left to prepare them. After bringing our drinks, he returned with hot towels to clean and refresh with. After leaving BAL, our meals were brought. We had both chosen seared turbot served in a tomato based sauce with potatoes and carrots. We both enjoyed the lunch and settled back to enjoy the ride. It was fun watching the cars on adjoining interstates fall rapidly behind as we sped on to NYP (New York-Penn Station). On arrival, a redcap took us to the Acela Lounge to pass the time till we were to leave on the Lake Shore Limited (49) enroute to CHI (Chicago).

Our accommodations were on Viewliner "Atlantic View" in BR H, the accessible BR, but again the chair was too wide and I had to walk in my self. We left OT traveling up the Hudson. A short delay was incurred at the Spuyten Duyvil Draw span as it had to wait for boat traffic before closing for rail use. Listening to the detector reports I heard speed reports of 95, 91, and 87 MPH. Upon arrival at ALB, additional cars were added (even though BOS passengers had been bused) and the P32 was removed and P42's were added. Num 140 was the lead unit as I heard on the scanner.

We arrived at CLE (Cleveland) about 25 min early and of course had to wait for time before leaving. Also, we were 21 min early into TOL (Toledo) and 18 min early into CHI. (As unbelievable as that sounds). There was a minor screw-up getting off the train as the door was opposite a column and the wheel chair lift wouldn't line up with the door, but I got finally got off by walking onto the lift platform and then sitting back down after my chair was placed on the lift. The Redcap took us to the metropolitan lounge where I waited while my wife did her part to improve the Chicago economy.

We left on train 50, the Cardinal, in Viewliner "Patriot View" again in BR H, on time and proceeded east. The only hitch occurred at CIN where we had to make a reverse move to change tracks as a freight had had some problems and was blocking track 2. We arrived CIN (Cincinnati) about 25 min late and never were able to make it up, but no more time was lost. Unfortunately, both of us had problems sleeping and sat up for the trip making us somewhat tired the next day.

We arrived WAS (Washington, DC) about 25 min down, where my wife went to the Acela lounge and we exchanged our tickets from the 2045 regional to the 1910 departure. The redcap didn't tell the train crew I was aboard so there was some confusion getting the gap plate in order to detrain. Again the BWI station agent went beyond the call of duty assisting us right to our car in the garage.

All in all, we had a very good time, but I was exhausted as I have been house bound for an extended period, and maybe bit off more than I could chew. All on board and station personnel were outstanding, and helped make our trip a success.

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