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Chicago Trains, Night on Chief b

Adventurers in the Appalachia

My First trip on the Southwest Chief going to the 2018 NRHS Convention in Cumberland, Maryland

Chapter Twenty-four

Riding Chicago METRA to Elburn on Union Pacific West Line

 First night on the Southwest Chief returning home

 August 12, 2018



Robin Bowers

Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments are appreciated

    I awoke shortly after entering Indiana after having a good sleep while traveling through my buckeye state. After having breakfast I joined the others in the observation car as we rode through Indiana.


Amtrak's best asset - the Observation car, for a civilized way to travel.

Heavy industries along Lake Michigan.

We rode together all the way to Comiskey Park in Chicago where we returned to our room and packed it up. We all detrained and made our way to the Metropolitan Lounge in Chicago.

Under Union Station.

    After we checked our luggage in the Metropolitan Lounge, it was decided that we all wanted to go for a train ride during our layover here in Chicago. Chris and Elizabeth wanted to go to Aurora while Bob wanted to go to College Ave. to see some childhood friends. I decided to travel with Bob to College Ave. then continue on to the end of the line to Elburn, return on same train and pick up Bob in College Ave and return. Unfortunately Bob's and my train left from a different station: Ogilvie Transportation Center. So we walked over to there with Bob adroitly leading us through the maze of streets and buildings. It was a deja vu all over about being in Manhattan and going between Grand Central and Penn Station and getting lost and turned around, if I had been by myself.


Ogilvie Transportation Center.
    The Richard B. Ogilvie Transportation Center is a commuter rail terminal in downtown Chicago, Illinois. It is the terminus for the three commuter rail lines of Metra's Union Pacific District to Chicago's northern and western suburbs, which approach the terminal elevated above street level.

Inside the station.

Metra platforms.

Our train #503 on left waiting to depart at 10:40am.
    Having purchased our weekend pass we boarded the train. Bob asked where I wanted to sit. In an instant I replied, the Balcony. So Bob ushered me to my seat in the most different car I've ever been in. The floor in the center was missing.

You place your ticket in the clip rail that's just above the conductors head and he can check it without going upstairs.


Color tint courtesy of METRA.

Anywhere small town Main Street USA.

City of Bellwood.

After Glen Ellyn, the next stop was Bob's at College Ave. After he got off I continued on to the end of the line at Elburn.

Downstairs looking up.

Platform at Elburn looking west.

My train for my round trip: Chicago to Elburn.

A nice looking station at Elburn.

The conductor called all aboard and we left for the return trip to Chicago at 12:25pm.

    Near West Chicago there were fields filled new automobiles and parked on several sidings were many car carriers.

After Wheaton, where a big crowd boarded, our next stop was College Ave and Bob reboarded, among a big crowd and we continued on to Chicago with him giving a narration about the passing scenery. It's great to have a local tour guide.

Union Pacific AC4400CW 6290 in Southern Pacific paint.

The base of that tower is our target.

Pulling into Ogilvie Transportation Center. We will need to walk from here back to Union Station.

Inside the Ogilvie Transportation Center.

Construction work at Union Station.

After Bob and I returned to the Metopolitan Lounge and met up with Chris and Elizabeth, I decided to take a peek outside the station building and the streetcapes.

Pillars of a temple.

Chicago River. Green on St. Patrick's Day.

You Are Here.

In those glass cubes near the top, you can look down past your shoes for many, many stories.

The greenery gives a nice touch. Good work.

Back inside Union Station.

    Rejoining the group we all waited for them to call our last long distance train on this convention trip. At 2:25pm. they called train 3 and were told to go out to the train. We then said our goodbyes to Bob and Elizabeth as they were flying home to the Northwest this evening, I then walked out to the platform and boarded our sleeper Wisconsin, our home for two nights on the journey to home.

    We had Roomette 3 with Mike as our sleeping car attendant for this trip. The train had a consist of Engines P40s 2 and 165, baggage 61045, transition 39034, sleepers 32099 New Mexico and 32117 Wisconsin, diner 38030, lounge 32003, coaches 34037, 31011 and 34004 with the private car Baltimore and Ohio Moonlight Dome on the rear. We left Chicago on time and headed out down the triple speed raceway. We got a 6:15 PM dinner reservation and I was enjoying my new rail mileage to Galesburg that I did not get on the eastbound trip 19 days ago. We stopped in Naperville, Mendota and Princeton before we rolled down the final miles to Galesburg where my new rail mileage ended.

Naperville was our first stop.

Our next stop was  Mendota.


I think the natives have a big fixation with corn.

Princeton was our third stop at 4:35pm., a few minutes early

We arrived in Galesburg on time and ended my new mileage that I missed on the outbound trip due to a late train 4.

    At 6:15pm. we were called to the Dining Car and I had the Signature Steak and chocolate cake for dessert. As the the train rolled across northeast Missouri would this be my final trip aboard a through Southwest Chief. I hope Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson changes his mind about his busing passengers from Dodge City to Albuquerque. The train did a double stop at La Plata and about Carrolton, Chris made up the room and I stayed up to see Kansas City at night with a fresh air stop at 10:11pm. After the stop in Lawrence at 11:52pm. I called it for our next to last night of this unique trip.

Text and Photos by Author

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.

Comments appreciated at ....