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Adirondack trip:

Adirondack Trip 2007:

 

Prologue:

 

††††††††††† At the end of October, Amtrak began running its last dome car between Montreal and Albany on the Adirondack. The car is an ex Great Northern superdome and quite different than the Skyline and Park cars operated by VIA Rail. However, this was to only happen for four weeks. The dome car operated to Montreal on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Mondays. It returned to Albany on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. It didnít run on Wednesdays.

 

††††††††††† I decided to go for a ride from November 5-7. However, when I saw my work schedule for that week, I was scheduled to work on the 7th. Fortunately, I was able to swap shifts with my supervisorís approval. My plan was to ride to Montreal on November 5th and spend the night there. The next day, I would ride the Adirondack to Schenectady. The following day, I would ride the Maple Leaf home.

 

November 5, 2007:

 

††††††††††† I got up shortly after 7:00 am and had breakfast. I had to be at Union station by 9:00 am as I was riding VIA train 56 to Montreal and the train was scheduled to leave at 9:30. After breakfast, I walked over to pick up the VIVA bus to Finch. As I got there, I photographed one of York Region Transitís brand new D40LFs heading northbound on route 99. Unlike my Montreal trip last year, this wasnít a civic holiday, so I was able to get a VIVA bus to Finch subway in about five minutes.

 

††††††††††† Shortly after I got to Finch, I saw a kid I know at the Toronto Transportation Society whom I once had a ďfuriousĒ argument back in September about a subway accident that happened in 2004 which he claimed didnít happen, but Iíve seen pictures that it did. I wasnít in the mood to say hi to him, so I didnít. He didnít see me either and I got on the subway and rode to Union though I had to stand for a lot of the way. I did get to Union in plenty of time.

 

††††††††††† After awhile, boarding commenced. I was seated in LRC coach #3320; the last car on 56. I noticed that train 56 was running as a J-train with train 42 for Ottawa with the locomotive of 42 coupled onto the rear of 56.

 

††††††††††† The train left on time. As the train departed, I filmed the consist of train 85 that would leave for Sarnia about 40 minutes later. That train had VIAís Telus F40, a Hep1 coach, and a Hep2 coach. As the train passed the Greenwood subway yard, I filmed the yard as we raced past.

 

††††††††††† The train made its usual stops in Guildwood and Oshawa. After we left Oshawa, I went to the rear of the coach and took a photo of the nose of the locomotive on 42.

 

 

††††††††††† I went back to my seat. Trains 41 and 53 passed by, but I was unable to film them. The train stopped in Cobourg and Belleville. As we left Belleville, I filmed the locomotives on a CN freight as well as another CN SD70M-2 being used as a mid-train unit. A little while later, I tried to film VIA train 43, but I only got a blur of the last coach.

 

††††††††††† The train stopped in Kingston. After we left, I bought lunch. Train 57 passed, but I was unable to film it. West of Brockville, the train stopped so 42 could be separated from 56. I filmed the uncoupling move and took another picture of the front of train 42ís locomotive.

 

 

††††††††††† Soon, 56 headed out to the station. I filmed 42 getting further and further. We made a quick stop at Brockville before we headed off. At some point later, VIA train 61 passed us. The train stopped in Cornwall.

 

††††††††††† A little while later, we passed a CN local with a caboose on the end. This was the first time since my Sudbury trip I had seen a train with a caboose. However, this train had a SBU on the caboose. Unfortunately, I was unable to film the train.

 

††††††††††† The train stopped in Dorval.Soon, we were approaching Montreal. In the distance, I could see a VIA train with LRC coaches departing VIAís Montreal Maintenance Centre. I filmed an AMT commuter train with that consisted of an ex Amtrak F40PH and ex GO Transit single level cars before we arrived into Central station 14 minutes late. Once I got off, I took some photos.

 

 

 

††††††††††† I then headed upstairs. A little while later, I ran into one of my sisterís friends who asked how long I was here. I told her just for the night. I then headed to the subway. I rode to Vendome station on the orange line. I realized I had copied directions to my hotel incorrectly.

 

††††††††††† At Vendome, I saw an AMT commuter train on the red line heading westbound. I noticed it had one of the two F40s AMT was leasing from VIA pushing. The two units AMT is currently leasing from VIA are 6401 and 6408, which are both in the Spiderman 2 advertising livery. As the commuter train departed, I filmed it. I took a taxi to my motel. Along the way, we passed a STM Classic numbered in the 60-000 series.

 

††††††††††† I soon arrived at the motel and checked in. I noticed the motel was near a railway line. When I checked in, besides my room key, the receptionist also gave me a TV remote. They keep the remote controls for the TVs in the vacant rooms up at the desk because apparently, some other guests messed around with them and somehow screwed up the signal!

 

††††††††††† After I dropped my stuff off, I headed out and caught a bus back to the Metro. The first thing I wanted to do was to ride the Orange line because since my trip to Montreal last year, the orange line had been extended by three stops from Henri-Bourassa. I rode to Snowdon station before I switched to the Blue line. When I rode the blue line, I noticed they were running six car trains on it now. I donít know if the reason for this is because it was rush hour or the line is now busier. Either way, I got off at Jean-Talon station and waited for a northbound Orange line train. A train soon arrived, and I got on.

 

††††††††††† Soon, I heard an announcement that the train was going to be going out of service at Henri-Bourassa. I got off as Sauve, the stop before, and waited for the next train. The next train came and I boarded. At Henri-Bourassa, I noticed that a new platform had been build for the northbound trains. However, they still kept the original platforms. A few minutes later, the subway arrived at Montmorency. I took a picture of the subway train at Montmorency.

 

 

††††††††††† I looked around the area and took some photos of buses at the station.

 

 

 

 

††††††††††† After, I decided to ride one stop on the subway to the De La Concorde stop because it was near an AMT commuter train station. When I got to the platform, I saw a train pull up which didnít look like the typical orange line stock. At first, I thought it was a brand new series of subway, but soon, I determined that it was the older equipment that almost always runs on the green line! I filmed the train pulling in. I also filmed it pulling out when I got off at De La Concorde.

 

††††††††††† I exited the metro and found my way to the AMT station and checked the schedule. I saw that there wasnít going to be another commuter train for a little while. Instead of waiting there, I got back on the subway and rode to Bonadventure station and went back into Central station. I decided I was going to try to see the Ocean depart for Halifax.

 

††††††††††† I had about 15 minutes to find a vantage point. I found one a few blocks from the station. While I was waiting for the Ocean to leave, I photographed an AMT commuter train that consisted of two ex Amtrak F40s and 11 ex GO Transit single level coaches. AMT is apparently looking into buying bi-level cars that can board at high-level platforms. I should say they need them.

 

 

 

††††††††††† The next train I saw was a train consisting of VIA P42 and 6 LRC coaches. The P42 was #918, the unit that hauled 42 to Ottawa earlier in the day. It appeared that the train became train 36 later that day.As I saw it, the train was backing out of the station heading for VIAís Montreal Maintenance Centre.

 

††††††††††† The Ocean departed on time at 6:30 pm. I saw the train had two F40s including a Spiderman unit leading. The train had 12 Renaissance cars. The summer travel season for the Ocean had ended about a month earlier so there was no Park car on the Ocean. I took some photos of the Ocean.

 

 

 

††††††††††† After the Ocean had left, I wanted back to Central station and had dinner at the McDonaldís in the station. After, I decided to ride the Metro and go for a ďtraditionalĒ ride on the green line. Before I left, I picked up a form for the U.S. customs for my ride on the Adirondack the following morning.

 

††††††††††† I rode the orange line to Lionel-Groulx station and transferred to an Angrignon bound train. I got off at Verdun station. I filmed my train leaving and photographed a train arriving into the station going the opposite way.

 

 

††††††††††† I then caught a train back to the Lionel-Groulx station. I filmed my train departing. Both rides on the green line had older equipment.

 

††††††††††† I then rode the orange line to the Vendome station. I then caught STM bus route 90 back to my hotel. When I boarded the bus, I phoned home.

 

††††††††††† After I arrived back at my hotel, I watched a bit of TV. I filled out the card, though the only pen I could find was dying. I eventually finished it, though I had to use a pen in the lobby to sign it. I eventually called it a night. However, it was hard to get to sleep.

 

November 6, 2007:

 

††††††††††† I got a text message from my dad before 7:00 am. The message was unimportant to me. I decided to get up and get dressed. After my wake-up call came at 7:00 am, I finished packing and had breakfast in the lobby of my hotel. After, I checked out and walked over to catch a bus. I just missed a route 90, but the next bus came about 10 minutes later. I rode to Vendome station. At Vendome, I boarded a train for Bonadventure.

 

††††††††††† Upon arriving at Bonadventure, I filmed my train pulling out of the station and photographed a train going in the opposite direction.

 

 

††††††††††† I got to Central station around 8:45 am. While I was waiting, I went into a Staples Business Depot and bought some new pens. I then lined up for the Adirondack.

 

††††††††††† Boarding began shortly after 9:10 am. When I got to the platform, I saw the great dome. I was seated in Amfleet 1 Capstone refurbish coach #82515. Next to us was VIA train 21 from Quebec City. The train left on time.I filmed VIAís Montreal Maintenance Centre from the train and saw the Renaissance equipped Ocean and the last car of the Chaleur.

 

††††††††††† Soon, we crossed over the St. Lawrence Seaway where I noticed a unique thing. The main lift bridge that trains use was raised so a ship could pass under and into a lock. However, CN has another bridge at the other end of the lock that was down, so we crossed on that bridge. Once across the river, the train rejoined the main line. I previously thought the second bridge was a line that branched off the main line. I thought this track arrangement was pretty clever and wished that CN could have done something similar with the Welland Canal as to reduce delays on the Maple Leaf and VIAís other Toronto-Niagara Falls trains.

 

††††††††††† The Adirondack made its only other Canadian stop at St. Lambert. After we left, the cafť car and the dome opened. I eagerly made my way to the dome car and took some interior shots of the car.

 

††††††††††† East of St. Lambert, the Adirondack diverged from the line taken by VIAís Ocean, Chaleur, and the Montreal-Quebec City trains. The route the Adirondack takes makes several curves before heading south. At one point, I took a picture of the coaches behind the dome car.

 

 

Click here to see pictures of the interior of the Great Dome: Great dome interior.htm

 

††††††††††† The dome car was behind the locomotive which was P42 #103, the same unit that led the Maple Leaf from Toronto to Albany when I rode it down to New York to ride the Three Rivers back in 2005. The view from the front was partially obstructed by the locomotive.

 

††††††††††† After awhile, I went back to my seat. The cafť car and the dome car closed for the customs inspection. The train soon arrived at Rouses Point where U.S. customs agents did their inspection. The inspection was quick and painless and I found the agents to be nowhere near as anal as the one woman who interviewed me about 13 months earlier on the Maple Leaf. The agents moved to the cars further back. While waiting, I helped one woman find her pen that had fallen in between the seat cushions. I also took a photo of the rear of the train from the window.

 

 

††††††††††† The inspection was soon finished. We were allowed outside for 10 minutes. I went outside and took some photos.

 

 

 

 

Once I was done, I got back on the train. The Adirondack was able to leave Rouses Point on time.Shortly after, the cafť car and the dome car reopened. We passed a Norfolk Southern freight, and then we saw no other trains for a while.

 

††††††††††† The train stopped at Plattsburgh. As we departed, we were running alongside a lake. The Adirondack route is one of the most scenic routes in the Northeast which is one reason why the Great Dome was operating.

 

††††††††††† The train stopped at Port Henry and Ticonderoga. South of Ticonderoga, we passed a CP work train. I filmed the engines. This train also had a caboose on the end. However, like the CN local I saw the day before, there was an SBU mounted on the caboose. I also filmed the trainís caboose. We also took the siding for the Northbound Adirondack. To my surprise, I saw that there were two Amfleet 2 coaches on the train. I filmed the train as it passed and took a picture of the rear of the northbound train.

 

 

We were soon underway again. We soon stopped at Whitehall where I saw someone photographing the train. The stop was quick and we were soon underway.

 

††††††††††† Soon, we passed another railroad yard where I saw a CP GP38 running long hood forward with a train. This train also had a caboose on the end. This time, there was no SBU on the end, so it appeared the caboose was manned. I took a shot of the train from the dome.

 

The caboose can be seen in the middle of the photo.

 

††††††††††† Sometime later, I heard Dan Chazin from Trails and Rails making a presentation. He was talking about the train and that back in the days when the Adirondack was run by the Delaware and Hudson, it had a dome car. I told him that the D&H had leased two Skyline cars from Canadian Pacific and the cars were later returned to CP. I also told him the cars are still in service with VIA Rail today and are presently numbered 8500 and 8507. Dan was also the guy I saw at Whitehall.

 

††††††††††† The two of us talked about trains and I mentioned some of trips Iíve taken. I mentioned the 12 hour late Sunset Limited on my Arizona trip and the anal customs agent from my ďArizona Make-up tripĒ. One other passenger gave a possible explanation for the custom agent asking for the phone number for the Wal-Mart I work at after asking me if Wal-Mart said I could go to the U.S. This other passenger said the agent may have been looking to see if I was genuine by being able to produce a phone number right away which I did. Further evidence to this is that none of the managers at Wal-Mart ever said anything to me about a customs agent phoning them and the few I mentioned it said that the agent didnít call them. However, I still view that agent as anal because I donít understand why itís important for her to know where I work and if they said I could go abroad! I also learned that two other passengers were going to be on VIAís Canadian the following Saturday.

 

††††††††††† At one point, we stopped at a signal and waited and waited. We were waiting for a northbound freight. Danís scanner had the train with 304 axles. When the train did come, I saw it had two AC4400s for power. Once I saw the power, I did the math in my head and was able to determine the train was hauling 73 freight cars. We ended up waiting for about 30 minutes.

 

††††††††††† The train stopped at Fort Edward-Glen Falls as well as the new station at Saratoga Springs. I stayed in the dome car until the conductor announced we were 10 minutes from Schenectady. I said goodbye to Dan and packed my things in preparation to get off.

 

††††††††††† The train crew announced the cafť car and the dome car were closed in order to remove the dome car at Albany. After several minutes, we finally arrived into Schenectady 34 minutes late. Once I got off, I took some photos of the train.

 

 

 

††††††††††† As the train departed, I filmed it pulling out. I then went downstairs to catch a bus to my hotel. As I waited at the bus stop, I caught a glimpse of a westbound Amtrak train. My bus came moments later.

 

††††††††††† I got off my bus which was an Orion 6 across the street from my hotel which was an Econo-Lodge. This is the first time since my Washington/Cleveland trip that I stayed at an Econo-Lodge. I no longer had my cousinís discount though. I checked in and dropped my stuff off. I phoned home and left a message on the answering machine.

 

††††††††††† Later, I went out to dinner. I started walking and while I was walking, I saw a museum with an Alco RS3 painted in Great Northern colours. Schenectady was where Alco built many of their locomotives which is the most likely reason the Alco was parked out front. I took some photos of the unit.

 

 

††††††††††† After, I had dinner at a Friendlyís Restaurant. One thing I noticed in Schenectady was that at every traffic light, no matter how minor the cross street, pedestrians had to push a button to get a walk signal if they wanted to cross the street.

 

††††††††††† After dinner, I stopped at a convenience store before I walked back to my hotel. I asked for a wake up call the following morning at 8:00 am. After I watched some TV, I eventually called it a night.

 

November 7, 2007:

 

††††††††††† I got up and got dressed. After I finished packing, I walked over to the hotel lobby to see the continental breakfast, but found it less than good. I decided to check out and walk back to Friendlyís for breakfast. After I checked out, I stopped at the GN Alco and took some more photos of it.

 

 

††††††††††† I had breakfast and once I finished and paid for my meal, I walked back to State Street. On the way back, I took one last photo of the GN Alco.

 

 

††††††††††† Once I got back to State Street, I walked in the direction of the Amtrak station looking for the bus stop. When I found it, I could see the railway tracks, and decided to walk the rest of the way since there was plenty of time.

 

††††††††††† I decided to take the elevator up to track level, but found it was as slow as molasses and it didnít seem to be moving for the longest time, but I got to track level. I talked to a woman who was traveling to New York on Amtrak train 280 which was due in at 9:20 am. The train didnít show up until 9:45. As it arrived, I filmed it pulling in before I took some photos. I also noticed the cafť car was on the rear of the train instead of the front.

 

 

 

††††††††††† As train 280 departed, I filmed it pulling away. I went downstairs and called Julie to find out the status of train 63 and found it was running on time.

 

††††††††††† After awhile, I heard an announcement that train 63 was due shortly. I took the incredibly slow elevator back up. I also heard that train 292 from Rutland was also due at the same time. I readied my camera, not sure what train would arrive first. However, train 63 showed up first, arriving two minutes late. As the train arrived, I filmed it.

 

 

I boarded Amfleet 2 coach #25010, a refurbished coach with a blue and white interior, digital display boards, and AC outlets by each seat. For some reason, the car seemed familiar. I took a window seat and looked for train 292 which still hadnít arrived yet. Train 63 soon departed before train 292 could show up. I then phoned home to let my dad know I was on the train.

 

The train stopped in Amsterdam. It was then I remembered why the coach was familiar; it was the coach Mark, Jason, and I rode to Niagara Falls last year on out Niagara Falls trip. Interestingly enough, right behind my coach was Amfleet 2 coach #25000, the coach I rode to New York on the Maple Leaf in February of 2005 and from Utica to Chicago on the Lake Shore on my Arizona trip.

 

As we approached Utica, I filmed various pieces of equipment from the Adirondack Scenic Railway. After we left Utica, Amtrak train 286 passed us. We stopped in Rome a few minutes late. At one point, I was given a form to fill out for Canada Customs. I filled it out as we rolled along.

 

Between Rome and Syracuse, the train slowed down. To the left, I filmed 25 derailed freight cars. Many of them were tank cars. The cars were punctured, burnt, or severely damaged. This reminded me of how I had seen some derailed boxcars on my 2005 trip to Timmins, some derailed hopper cars on my Arizona trip and the derailed freight cars on my western Canada trip back in January. A little while later, I went to the cafť car for lunch.

 

The train stopped in Syracuse where U.S. boarder patrol agents boarded and checked the passengers. Iím not sure why they did, but I donít think they found anything serious. We soon departed.

 

West of the station, I filmed an ex Penn Central boxcar in a scrap yard and train 48 passing. We soon stopped in Rochester. West of Rochester, Amtrak train 64 passed, but I was unable to film it.

 

A little while later, I noticed snow on the ground. It was no more than an inch deep at places and wasnít continuous; nowhere near as bad as the freak snowstorm I was caught in at Depew on the end of my Arizona make-up trip last year.

 

Soon, we were approaching Buffalo Depew. Prior to getting to the station, we passed a scrap yard with some Orion 5s in it. We soon stopped at Buffalo Depew station. The stop was quick and we soon left and a few minutes later, we stopped at Buffalo Exchange Street station.

 

After we departed, the cafť car closed. We soon stopped in Niagara Falls New York. I was allowed outside for a few minutes and I took some photos.

 

 

 

I got back on the car. At this point, I was the only person sitting in my coach! There were about 18-19 people in the car behind me and more in the coach in front. The train departed and a few minutes later, we stopped at Niagara Falls, Ontario.

 

It took several minutes for the Canadian customs agents to come on board. They first checked the coach behind my car. When they came to me, the customs agent only asked me where I was coming from. I answered his question and he then left me. I donít know what to think about that!

 

The inspection was finally finished and passengers at Niagara Falls Ontario were allowed to board. About five people boarded my coach. The train now known as VIA train #98 departed 30 minutes late. I phoned home to let my dad know I was back in Canada.

 

By now, it was dark. I went to the cafť car for dinner. The train stopped at St. Catherines and Grimsby. At some point, VIA train 95 passed us. The train stopped in Aldershot and Oakville. Soon we were approaching Toronto. We passed by VIAís Toronto Maintenance Centre and GO Transitís Willowbrook yard. I was rapidly scanning both yards instead of the VIA yard for the first time in 15 years. In the VIA yard, I saw ex BC Rail lounge car Glenfraser and some Hep1 sleeping cars. In the GO Transit yard, I saw one of GO Transitís new MPI MP40PH-3c locomotives.

 

Soon, the train arrived into Union station. Once again, due to schedule padding, the train had made up time. We actually arrived into Union right on time. Once I got off the train, I took some photos of the locomotive.

 

 

I then went downstairs and phoned my dad. I then took the subway to Finch were my dad was waiting for me. I then headed home.

 

Conclusions:

 

Each segment of this trip was excellent with no serious problems. Riding in Amtrakís full length dome car was definitely a new experience for me. The ride on VIA train 56 was good and once again, I had a fun time in Montreal. The Maple Leaf once again provided me with a comfortable ride home. Whether the Maple Leaf will survive or not is still unknown, but it is looking like the Maple Leaf will be around for awhile. Until next timeÖ

 

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