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Travelogue of Michael Hansen's Trips
on the Amtrak Texas Eagle and Chicago Metra

[Please bear with the format of this travelogue, as its author is blind and does not have the sense of sight to aid in his writing. -Ed.]

Travelers log dated 2-28-03

We left our Saint Charles house around 1:20 to go to the Chicago Union Station. We weren't expecting an arivle to the station until around 2:30 or maybe 2:40. Well maybe luck was with us because we made spectaculear time, with a pull up infront of the station around 2:20. We got out of the car between Jackson and Ademms street, and carying our bags we walked inside. Chicago Union Station is a bizzy place with people anouncing stuff on the loud speeker.

We purchised our tickets and headed to the Cofee exchange for a cup of hot choculate. My Mother was with me, because i'm a blind person. We also made a quick stop at McDonalds. We headed down to the waiting area, ware we sat for a few minutes. Then when we heard the announcement, we started walking twards the gate. Upon walking into the garage, I first noticed that for some strange reason with 2 trains in the garage, the Southwest Chief on my write, and the Texas Eagle on my left, the engine noise was very quiet.

We boarded the Texas Eagle, and found seets in the Springfield car. The conductor made the usual welcome announcement, and with that, the Texas Eagle departed Chicago Union station.

I figured that this was the perfect opperteaunity to practice my cane travle. Mom and I took a walk through the train. The caffay car was divided into two parts by a rail. There was one part for the coming in line, and the other part for the leeving line. After getting me a hot choculate, we headed back to our seets. We made our first stop at Joliet 9 minutes early. We sat at the station until 4:15 PM, then departed. The stopps at Pontiac, and Bloomington/normal were pretty uneventful. We had to pull over and wait for Amtrak Train number 304, the Ann Rutlege to pass. We finally made it to Lincon around 9 minutes late. Then it was on to Springfield. At Springfield, the train came to a rougher stop than normal. We got off the train at Springfield.

Travelers Log Dated 3-2-03

We packed up our bags, and headed to the Springfield station. The Texas Eagle was supposed to arive at Springfield at 12:00 PM, but it was actually said to be 13 minutes late. We asked the atendent at the station, and he said that the Texas Eagle had been radioing him and that was going to be even later. We asked again, it was aroound 12:40, and he said that the Texas Eagle radioed in and said it was a cupple of minutes away.

The Texas Eagle could be herd at a distance at 12:43, and finally the Texas Eagle came to a stop at 12:45. My Mom told me that the first engine was number 84, all though we didn't ketch the other number. The atendent was seeted across from us, so we asked her a lot of "Train" questions. I found out that this physical train was going to run the City of New Orleans rout later tonight. The cafay car was different, they were playing music, and this train had a lounge car. The train stopped and then started moving slowly outside of Joliet. Then after Joliet started the home stretch to Chicago.

We pulled in beside two trains, one on our rite and one on our left. Our car was very close to the other trains engine. We got off, and walked passed the Texas Eagles engine on our way inside the Union Station. We arived at the station at 4:20 PM, and the skegualed arivle time was 3:50.

and hear's the second one!

Its around 7:50 AM, and I'm standing in the Jenevia train statioon, ware Me, along with my Mom will be boarding the 8:05 AM train to Chicago, on the way to UIC, for my eye serjrey. My Mom had to go to the car to get something, and she arived back at around 7:53. We proceeded outside, to board our train. Todays train is pulled by one engine, as is any metro train. We boarded at the door closest to the station door, and walked through the train, to the enterence closest to the parking lot, to meet my Dad, who is bringing my Mom something. After meeting him, at which point my Mom left me in an almost empty car, in which we could talk to eachother, wile she waited for Dad. From reading Dan Chazin's travelogues, I noted some tips about train travel. At this point, I felt around, taking the oppertunity to sit on the seets, which I found were different from what I had ridden before. Mom then got the thing from Dad, and she walked back to me. The train started moving, and we walked tward the back of the train. We walked for about 6 minutes, me in the leed with Mom behind me. I also took the oppertunity to practice my cane skills, which the walk through the train helped. We finally reached a door opening, ware when I opened the door, I found a bar, therefor, I new that was as close as we'd get. Mom and I took seets, and about 2 minuetes later, the computerised voice, which I think sounds like Kasy Kasem, announced the next stop would be West Chicago. Then about 2 minutes later, the voice announced that we were aproaching West Chicago.

We departed West Chicago, and moved on to Winfield, Weaton, Coledge Avenu, Burkley, Lombard, Villa Park, which is the town my school is in, Elmhurst, and a cupple of others, not in order included Maywood, Oak Park, then the last stop before Chicago was kedsey. We didn't stop for any unknown reasons, which really surprised me. We arived into Chicago, and detrained. The engine was to my rite, and the station enterence was to my left. I remember that OggleV station has garages ware the train detraining and boarding goes on. My Mom showed me a set of steps, ware you can go and catch a cab, but we wanted to take the long, adventurous way, through the station. From there we walked around, and Mom read me the list of track numbers, and ware each train was departing and ariving from. We arived on track 2, and walked all the way to track 16 before turning around, and walking back to track 2. Mom and I went outside, and stood in the garage of track 2, and then went into the station, then we went to the upper level, and went outside to catch a cab. We got to the hospital way early, and had to wait for a wile.

The nurse,, Barbara, who had been my nurse last surjrey I had, gave Mom my gound to put on. In the dressing room, I took my shoes off, socks off, and took my talking watch off. This I handed to her, she would cary it with her, rather then leeving it in the locker. Then, Mom Left the dressing room, stood outside wile I put on my gound. After that, Mom came back in, and gave me the pair of footies to put on. After that was done, we went and found Barbara, and went into the serjrey center. I was given a bed on the oppasit side of the room. After that, the nurse checked my temperature, which was 99.5, which she said was normal. She said the doctors only worried if temperatures were in the 100s. After that, Doctor Rose and Doctor Fine came over to my bed. Another doctor came to talk to Mom, wile Doctor Rose and Doctor fine talked to me. Unfortinately, my tape recorder picked up more of Moms conversation then mine. Last serjrey, Doctor rose wasn't avalible. After that, Doctor Rose took me to the opperating room, number 19. They brought my bed in, and I layed down on it. Doctor rose handed me the mask to put over my face, I did, and went to sleep about 5 minutes later. They didn't at first have the sleeping stuff on, they first had the laugh on.

The serjrey was over, I woke up in the same spot I had started, that is the same hospital room like place, seperated by certains. My eye was pain free, and we left around 12:00 PM. We caught a cab back to the OggleVe station, and went shopping for a little wile, had a hot chocolate, and went in to the garage in time to catch the arival of our train on tape. Then, we boarded, and walked until we found a bar at the doorway, and took the seet rite before the doorway. That was a nice seet. The PA system on the train was broke, so the conductor had to announce stops manually. When we departed West Chicago, at 3:36 P.M, the car was totally empty, and I took a walk upstairs on the train, which can only hold one person in the isle. My Mom and I talked, she was at the stairs bellow me. I returned downstairs, and the conductor Rojer came into our car. Rojer and I talked, and when we arived at the Jeneva station at 3:546 P.M, rojer remained with us until we got off.

This trip was a good one, I was able to do some exploring, and the serjrey went well. Now my Mom just told me we could go to the Gild For The Blind downtown Chicago, the second Saturday in May, on a metro train, and I'm looking forward to that next adventure, which I hope to return using a new, light wait cane!

Michael Hansen

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