Adventurers in the Appalachia
My First trip on the Southwest Chief going to
the 2018 NRHS Convention in Cumberland, Maryland
Acela Train to Washington, DC
Tour of Washington National Mall
Capitol Limited to Cumberland
August 6, 2018
Text and Photos by Author
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We checked out of the Rodeway
Inn and stopped at McDonald's for breakfast. As it was Monday
morning, we stayed off Interstate 95 and took surface streets
straight into Wilmington. We pulled up in front of the Amtrak
station, took our luggage out of the car and while Bob,
Elizabeth and I waited, Chris went into Enterprise and gave them
back the car keys. They emailed him the receipt and rental car
No. 2 was done. We went into the station and found four seats
together and waited for our Acela Express Train 2107. Elizabeth
went and picked up her and Bob's Acela tickets while Chris and I
sat waiting. That is when I noticed that the stem on my watch
was missing and it was just purchased a month before the start
of this trip. Good thing I bought a replacement warranty. About
8:10 AM, we decided to walk up onto the platform and take some
train action pictures.
The platforms at the Wilmington are on the second floor of the
station, bisecting the building. See my story of Thursday 8/2/2018
for more information and pictures. This is the view looking east.
SEPTA Train 2617.
SEPTA Train 2610.
Amtrak Regional Train 172.
Amtrak Regional 172 sat in Wilmington for about twelve minutes
until it's scheduled departure time of 8:45 AM.
Acela Express 2107 arrives at
Wilmington twenty-three minutes late. We boarded the train and
walked through two cars until we found a table which was empty
and we took it. We sat down and decided to take pictures of each
other on the Acela Express.
The interior of our Acela
Express car. The ride on the Acela Express is superior to the
Amfleet cars. The overhead bins allowed us to fit our luggage
in, the seats were very comfortable and the windows were
extremely clean, but I really like the automatic door opening
between cars. Something they should put on all Amtrak cars.
A trio of happy Acela train riders with Elizabeth behind the
I have lost count of how many times I've been through or near this
We passed the BMI station
from where I boarded my first Acela train for a ride to DC. The
ticket agent told me that there was a earlier train to
Washington and cheaper than the ticket I wanted to buy. Yes, you
are correct but I wanted to ride Acela even for this short
distance. So today's ride was somewhat longer than that first
one. On that trip I was returning home from Annapolis with my
first cross country train trip by taking the Acela to DC and
then the Capitol Limited to Chicago and then boarded the
California Zephyr including a great trip through the Rockies. We
arrived seventeen minutes late but we did not mind because it
had been a very good Acela Express trip.
Food Court in Union Station.
While Chris wanted to spend
his layover time in the Club Acela, Bob, Elizabeth and myself
wanted to see the town. As this was the first time visit for Bob
and Elizabeth and I had a grand total of half dozen visits I was
the de facto tour guide and the first item on their list was to
ride DC Streetcar. First job was to check our luggage and
luckily there was a baggage check at the station for a small
fee. Although we had an Acela ticket it was not valid at the
Acela lounge for checking our bags.
DC Streetcar began operation on the H/Benning Line some 144 years
after the streetcar first came to H Street operating with a
horse-drawn car in 1872.
DC Streetcar is currently free to ride from Union Station to
End of line at Oklahoma Ave/Benning Rd. with car turn around.
We re-boarded at the end of the line and rode back to Union
Station where we explored and looked around this grand building.
The Great Hall.
Elizabeth happy to be in the Nation's Capital.
Colonnades in front of station building.
View from Union Station.
Wanting to utilize our
limited time on this visit to the best, I suggested we take the
DC Circulator National Mall Service. The bus route circulates
the mall with stops at Memorials and Museums. The Mall is a big
place with a mile between the Capital and Washington Monument so
a lot of walking between Memorials and Museums which are not
close by each other.
We boarded the bus across the street from Columbus Circle to take
a tour. Then it was decided as it was time to stop for lunch and I
suggested going to the food court at my favorite museum on the
Mall, National Museum of American History (America's Attic).
At stop # four, we left the
bus and entered museum through the Madison Drive doors. On the
other side of the building is the Constitution entrance which I
usually have entered before.
Upon entering you are greeted by a big banner. I have seen several
different big flags displayed here.
On display in center
courtyard, from there we went to the cafeteria for lunch. We
each picked our selection at the different cuisine stops then
after paying we found an empty table. This is a large room with
lots of seating as it is popular with the school groups on
tours. Bob, Elizabeth and I were very happy with our selections
as there many temping selections. My selection was the Navajo
Taco Chili and a chocolate milk then topped off with a chocolate
dipped strawberry for a little evil. Always had a good meal here
and two other good places to visit are the lunch room in the
basement of the Supreme Court building and the top floor of the
Library of Congress James Madison building. Dine with a view of
the Potomac River and the Navy Yard.
After our lunch break we decided to tour a wing in this museum.
With a common interest in trains it was off to the see
Southern Railroad 1401.
A reminder of our late train rider friend, Ken Ruben.
Chris and I were here last Monday 7/30.
Gotta love their displays here.
A real Julia Child kitchen.
We now agreed to continue our bus tour and left the museum.
Outside the museum at the bus stop.
We boarded the next bus and headed towards the Washington Monument
then south on 15th Street to the Tidal Basin with a quick look at
the Jefferson Memorial and then by the Korean War Veterans
Memorial which is a must-see a night with its eerie cold lighting
Statues at the end of
Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River leading to Arlington
Cemetery. It reminds me of some bridges in Europe with their
gold statues. After passing here we went around the back of the
Lincoln Memorial, past the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and then
onto Constitution Avenue and into notorious DC rush hour
traffic. It was stop and go as we crawled to The Ellipse and
caught a glimpse of the White House. The traffic was so speedy
that I was beginning to worry about getting back to Union
Station on time. At 15th Street we turned south going pass the
Washington Monument, turning east on Jefferson Drive where the
traffic thinned and it looked like we would be on time at Union
Station. At the U.S.Capital, we turned north and then northeast
to the Union Station.
West side of Capital where the Presidential Inaugural is held.
When we arrived back at
Columbus Circle, the dark clouds opened up and dropped their
heavenly waters. We had a good old cats and dogs down pour. We
hesitated to leave the bus, but then it was a mad dash to the
terminal. A little wet for sure but no major problems but the
old guys needed a stop to catch a breath after that mad dash. By
the time we reached the baggage check, all was dry then we
waited for the arrival of Capitol Limited, our ride to
Cumberland, MD and the National Railway Historic Society (NRHS)
We had reserved seats on the lower level on
this Superliner but that wasn't such a good choice for this
trip. Several of our adult seatmates had diapers that were way
past a change and several more had had last took a bath at the
beginning of the year. I asked the conductor if he could burn
some incense and he agreed there was a scent about so he said to
go upstairs and find a seat. I walked upstairs and then to the
lounge car to have a seat looking out the panoramic windows
watching the passing scenery. From the worst seat to the best
seat. Looking out the window is the best part of a train ride.
Shortly Bob joined me and we spent the rest of the trip here in
MP 16, our first stop at 4:52pm.
MP 74 at 6:20pm
At Cumberland we arrived a
hour and eight minutes late. We walked off the train, very glad
to finally be here and then ran into John Goodman, Dan Meyer and
Dawn Holmberg, all of the NRHS, who kindly took our luggage to
the convention hotel in their car while we walked over which was
just across the tracks. There was a nasty, dirty dark underpass
to use but most of us just waited for the train to leave the
station. Our room was track side on the second floor so we would
be able to see plenty of CSX action in Cumberland, while the
Alkire's room was on the street side of the hotel. We then
called it a fairly early night since we had a big day tomorrow.
Text and Photos by Author
author retains all rights. No reproductions are
allowed without the author's consent.