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Steve's Winter 1998 Amtrak Travel
January 3 - 10, 1998

This is the travelogue of the segment of my Amtrak travel on the Amtrak Maple Leaf from Toronto to New York City.

Maple Leaf - VIA Train #97 - Amtrak Train #64

Wednesday, January 7, 1998, 10:05AM, Toronto, ON

Tuned into Channel 87 just in time to hear "97 ready to go!" I think I might have lucked out for AC for my computer. When I came onboard, I immediately looked for a seat on the left side of the train as close to the front as possible. After puting all my luggage above, I looked down and noticed an electical outlet on the wall next to the seat behind mine! I quickly moved my luggage to that seat. The view isn't very good from that seat as there is about a 12" wall between windows right next to the seat. I wandered down the aisle looking for a seat with both a good view and an AC outlet. I was only able to wander about half way down the Amfleet Car because the rest of it was already occupied, but I did not find one on either side for that far down.

I decided to settle into that one seat with the AC outlet, even with the restricted view. The windows throughout the car were quite filthy, or maybe stained and scratched from age, so there wasn't much hope of getting clear videos out the window anyway. I could see out both the window 90 degrees to the left of my head and the one forward of me at about 45 degrees, but there was about 12" missing out of my view because of the wall between those two windows. I assume this outlet is here probably for the cleaning people who need someone to plug in the vacuum cleaner. That is O.K. by me! It is working fine with my notebook computer! I assume that this outlet might exist on all Amfleet Cars, so you might want to check sests 23 and 24 if you need an AC outlet when you are in an Amfleet Car.

I desperately needed this power outlet. My train arrived into Toronto at almost 11 PM last night. I had completely used up all 3 of my batteries during the prior trip. Each battery lasts between 75 and 120 minutes. The moment I got into my room, I placed the batter into the charger, but the first one didn't finish charging until about 4 AM. The second one was still charging when I left the room at 8:45 AM and I never got a chance to even start charging the third battery! Thus, I started this trip with less than 4 hours of battery available for a 12 hour trip! With power on the train, I hope to finish charging the second battery and then charge the third battery. Then, continuing to use the AC on the train as my main source of power, I should have all 3 batteries ready for my journey tomorrow. That is important since I won't have time to charge all 3 batteries this eveing either.

Wednesday, January 7, 1998, 10:42AM, Aldershot, ON

I managed to videotape one green "GO" commuter train in the Oakville station. The video probably didn't come out too well as the camera kept trying to focus in on the dirt on the window. Also, it was a restricted view out the window between the seatback in front of me and the 12" wall between windows.

Wednesday, January 7, 1998, 11:35AM, St. Catherins, ON

Wednesday, January 7, 1998, 07:45PM, Albany-Renssellaer, NY

This whole trip had been right on time up until we were just outside of Albany. We had to wait for a northbound Amtrak train and lost about 30 minutes. This is a service stop where they change the locomotive. Passengers were allowed to get off the train and wander around the platform or the station. This stop is always about 20 minutes because of the maneuver to switch engines. While I was on the platform, another Amtrak train pulled in. It was the Turboliner! I thought they had retired them, but I wasn't sure. Obviously, they are still in service!

I had already put my video camera away since it was dark and I didn't expect to take any more video. As a matter of fact, I had left it in the "ON" position so the battery would drain completely and I could give it a full charge overnight. When I checked my backpack, there was still power in the camera, but it had run out of tape! Something must have accidentally hit the play switch when I put it in the backpack. I rewound the tape just a few seconds and took some video of the Turbo train right through the dirty windows in my car. I wasn't sure if I'd have time to leave the train again, and as it turned out, I didn't. I don't know if the video I took came out very well, but I'll post right here whatever I come up with.

Radio Frequencies:

These are only approximate, but close!

  • 87-161.415-Toronto,ON to Aldershot,ON (CN Ch 1)
  • 55-160.935-Aldershot,ON (CN Ch 3)
  • 87-161.415-Aldershot,ON to Border (CN Ch 1)
  • 46-160.800-Border to Albany-Renssellaer,NY
  • Not exactly sure where 87 changed to 46. Somewhere in the middle I stopped hearing anything and didn't pick up a hotbox until Buffalo.
  • 64-161.070-Albany-Renssellaer,NY to New York City, NY

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