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Amtraking from Albany to Norfolk via Newport News 6/29/2015

by Chris Guenzler

On my way home from the 2015 NRHS Convention Trip we would be heading south to Norfolk for two nights to ride the Tide Light Rail system there. We arose at 4:00 AM and the taxi was waiting. We had everything ready so Robin and I were taken by taxi to the Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station for our train at 5:55 AM. We would take Empire Service train 232 south to New York City then Northeast Regional train 95 south to Newport News, then the Thruway Bus across the bay to Norfolk. This would be Part 1 of my trip home. We were dropped off, had breakfast then I looked around the station.

The interior of the Albany-Rensselaer station built in 2002.

The station on this early Monday morning. I watched the luggage while Robin explored the station then about 5:30 AM we got in the line to board the train. Tickets were checked and we went down to the platform where I boarded and chose two seats, giving Robin the window seat for his new rail mileage of the day. I then went out to take a few pictures.

Empire Service train 232 for New York City.

The platform on a very beautiful early summer morning. Now sit back, relax and enjoy a trip along the Hudson River to New York City. Be on the look out for the unique Banneman Castle in the middle of the Hudson River.

The train had taken us to New York Penn Station. What a beautiful trip it had been on Amtrak Empire Service train 232 this morning. Due to construction we had to take the elevator up into Penn Station and we went to the Amtrak waiting area to wait for our next train. I turned Robin loose for an hour as he wanted to see more of New York City so I watched the luggage and wrote another story as I was so far behind in writing my stories at this point of the trip.

Robin returned and I went to Club Acela to check e-mail and other things and upon my return, chaos occurred. We went under the train board and I asked a Red Cap what track Train 95 would be on so we went there to board. They announced we should use the other escalator to get to the train but we were on the wrong side so tried to get to the right side to go down to the train. When we were almost there, they announced that people could use both escalators. We went back and I made it on the train but there was no sign of Robin. I put my stuff on two seats and walked the two cars back but still no Robin. I returned to my seat and spotted him coming toward me from the other way. We both sat down but the train did not move because there was blood on the floor of the next vestibule and it was a hazmat situation. The mess was cleaned up and train 95 left Penn Station 50 minutes late. Now sit back, relax and enjoy a trip to Newport News.

The train arrived in Washington, DC and I detrained for a pair of pictures.

The engine of our train, ACS-64 621, the brand new Amtrak electric engine that had pulled us south to here. After the engine change, we left DC only twenty minutes late and we were now bound for Richmond Main Street station.

From here I went to the lounge car and purchased dinner to go before relaxing to Newport News where we detrained for the Thruway Bus to Norfolk.

The train reversed before the bus left and we headed on the 40 minute bus ride to the Norfolk Amtrak station.

To views from that ride. We arrived at the station and walked over to the Tide Light Rail Harbor Park station where we waited for a train to come, bought our one-way fare and then I heard it before seeing it.

The view towards downtown Norfolk.

The train pulled into the Harbor Park station and we boarded for the two stop trip to MacArthur Square station. Here we detrained and walked the two blocks to the Tazewell Hotel where we checked in for our two-night stay. Now it was time for a good night's sleep.