Sunday, July 27, 2014

Going to Chicago on the Wolverine

When I took my brief trip to Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend, I decided that I would want to go back there when I could spend more time.  So I ended up getting train tickets for yesterday.  I was a little hesitant because Chicago in the summer can be brutal but fortunately the weather held out for me.
 Probably one of my favorite signs, the one that says "To Trains".  If you didn't figure it out, I love trains and I love riding on them.  It is a very pleasant way to travel because the seats are fairly comfortable, you aren't packed like a sardine and time seems to slow down while you are riding in the train.
 They've been adjusting the Wolverine schedules lately.  This one normally leaves at 7:30 but it left at 6:40 yesterday which is just fine because that gives a little more time to spend in Chicago.
 A map of the Amtrak rail system.  You get just about everywhere and I think they cover 46 of the 48 contiguous states.  The exceptions being Wyoming and South Dakota.  If you're aren't in a particular rush, I highly recommend taking the train.
 The sunrise looked pretty impressive yesterday.
 Although I hate the waiting part but that is unavoidable.
 I decided to wander a little over to the Gandy Dancer to get a picture of the old train station.  I really wish this were the Amtrak station.
 Just in case you forgot where we were.
 One more shot of the empty tracks.  Actually, I kind of got a little treat as the Ann Arbor Railroad was using the set of tracks on the other side of the Huron River.
 And on of my favorite sounds, the horn of the approaching train.
 And as the train gets closer to the station, it turns its bell on.
 Next I would get to hear my other favorite phrase...."All Aboard".  It's funny, for being such an outdated technology, they can get people on and off fairly quickly compared to other modes of travel.
 Passing the Chelsea train station.
 And the Jiffy Mix plant.
 A shot of a pair of buildings in Jackson.
 And then a shot of downtown Jackson.
 As we were leaving Jackson.
 I think this is a grain elevator for the Kellogg Plant but I'm not sure because it could also be one for Post Cereal.
 One thing nice about this particular trip is that we pass through some of the busiest railroad real estate in the country.  It seems like there were trains everywhere.
 I'm not sure what railroad these belong to.
 I think this was a park in Kalamazoo.
 Passing a street as we were leaving Kalamazoo.
 There is also a bunch of farm country.
 I think this might be the St. Joseph River but I wasn't paying close attention to a GPS this time.
 The best way to enjoy a cup of coffee in my opinion.  One other thing about train travel is that the people on the train are so much friendlier.  The Amtrak staff is mostly friendly and so are the other passengers.
 Going past the Three Oaks train station.  Tjree Oaks is the movie that was used to film the movie Prancer.
 Passing a Norfolk-Southern engine.
 Passing a pair of CSX engines.  Apparently the reason why they are typically coupled this was is so that they don't have to mess with turning one of the engines around if they need to hook up to go the other way.
 This is Norfolk-Southern Country.  If there is one drawback to riding the train, it's the fact that Amtrak has to lease many of its lines.  Because of that, they take secondary priority to the freight trains.  They do own some of the Wolverine lines though and I think they are planning to buy more of them.  But until then, they have to follow the freight companies.
 I managed to pass both the Roger Blough and the Lee A. Tregurtha.  I couldn't react in enough time to catch the Blough but I sort of managed to get the Tregurtha.
 And yet another NS engine.
 Chicago is a convergence point for all of the major railroads.  If you are looking for a particular company, it is a good place to go but you have to find the yards for each of the companies.  I think the Union Pacific yard is to the west of the city.
I was trying to get a picture of my engine in the station but it's a little too dark and I was having issues with my flash (that was later fixed).  If you look closely at the bottom right, you will notice a bird that got smacked.  I got to believe that many animals have met the same fate when meeting a train.

1 comment:

cmadler said...

I think from Ann Arbor/Ypsi to Chicago, the train is usually as fast or faster than driving, plus you don't have to pay to park your car at your Chicago hotel.