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

Its about 12:00 PM, on Friday, June sixth, 2003, and I've just arived at the Big Timber station, ware I will be boarding the 12:22 PM Metra train, number 2236 to Chicago, after which I will be connecting with a train to San Antonio. We were picked up by a friend of my Dads at our house at 11:30, and arived hear at 11:59 AM. We then got out of the car, and went over to the train. I inquired about the locomotive number, and found out that todays train is pushed by F40C engine number 611.

The voice announced our departure at 12:21, and at 12:22, the train pulled out. Interestingly, the conductor also made a welcome announcement, which I have only seen done on Amtrak.

We arived at our next stop at Elgin, at 12:28, one minute late, an d arived at National Street at 12:31. The voice announced that the next stop was Bartlot, and we arived there at 12:41. We did not have a timetable for this train, so I was unable to find out what time we were supposed to arive at the different stops. The voice announced that the next stop would be at Hanover Park, ware we arived at 12:44.

My trip on Metra went very well, and I am very much looking forward to my trip on the sleeper on Amtrak!

Its 2:40 PM, on Friday, June sixth, 2003, and I've just arived at the boarding area of Union station in Chicago, ware we will be boarding Amtrak train number 21, the Texas Eagle to San Antonio. We got hear aboard Metra, train number 2236, and arived in Chicago at 1:42 PM. After we got into the station, we went to change our tickets, and headed over to be checked in. The person gave us a Metropolitan lounge pass, except ware we waited for the train was even worse then the standard lounge. We waited in the check in area, ware there were no chairs, therefor we had to stand. The people standing behind us were going to Emeryville aboard the California Zephyr, which was delayed due to servicing of equipment. About 2:45 PM, a boarding announcement was made for the Texas Eagle. We walked onto the platform, ware we were to board our train, on track 22. We boarded, and went upstairs to our room E. Betty, our atendant interduced herself to all the sleeping car passengers. She asked us ware we were going, and I told her that I was a railfan, taking the train mainly for the enjoyment of the train. We were also going to do some sightseeing in Texas.

I found out todays Texas Eagle is pulled by 2 Genesis engines, number 182 and 184. The train departed 9 minutes late at 3:29 PM, and we made our next stop at Joliet at 4:15, exactly ontime. Then it was on to Pontiac, Bloomington, Lincon, Springfield, and our first service stop Saint Louis. Hear we arived early, dispite the fact that we had lost time.

We detrained at Saint Louis, and tried to walk up to the engines, but were stopped at the Bagage car. As I had found out earlier from the conductor, todays Texas Eagle is pulled by Genesis engines number 178 and 177.

We left Saint Louis at 9:23 PM, only 23 minutes late. We headed down to the lounge car for the second time on this trip to get a hot chocolate, and we returned to our room. Betty had pulled down the beds, and after drinking my hot chocolate, I got in. I had the lower bed, and this allowed me to get my schedule if I were to wake up, (I did wake up, but the schedule wasn't needed, as you will find out) I got to sleep around 10:45 PM, and slept through our stops at Poppler Bluff and Walnut Ridge. I woke up at 3:55 AM, when we came to a stop. (As it turned out, we didn't move until I woke up again at 6:15 AM) We had stopped because a frate train had a broken breakline.

We proceeded very slowly, and not until 8:58 AM did we arive in Little Rock. We again detrained hear, and got back on with in 5 minutes. We continued through Arkansas, and things were non eventful until we got to Longview. Hear, we detrained, and stood around for a wile, before we reboarded. A member of the All_Aboard mailing list had told me that the stop lasted for about 15 minutes, and he was apsolutely correct. We lost more time aproaching Dalas, by this time a cupple of hours later, and again I detrained hear. We reboarded, and not until Fort Worth did we detrain again. By this time, we had made my fifth trip to the lounge car, ware on my fifth trip we sat in the lounge car. One thing noteworthy is that the lounge car seemed to not rock as much, but the ride wasn't as good.

At 10:20 PM, we ended a half hour wait for a fratetrain. By this time, we were at least 3 hours late. We arived at Austin at 11:38 PM, 3 hours and 18 minutes late, and left 6 minutes later, at 11:44 PM, 3 hours and 24 minutes late. We arived at San Marcos at 12:27 AM, and left a minute later.

One would think that it wouldn't take over an hour to get through San Antonio, but it did. We came to a stop at 1:50 AM, and didn't move until 2:20 AM. We came to a stop at 2:49 AM, and didn't move until after 3:00 AM. We arived at San Antonio around 10 after 3, only about 3 hours late!

My trip on Amtrak worked out quite well, I got plenty of sleep, and we were only delayed 3 hours or so. I'm looking forward to my return trip on Amtrak tomorrow!

Its about 7:10 AM, on Monday, June ninth, 2003, and I've just arived at the San Antonio station, ware I will be boarding Amtrak train number 22, the northbound Texas Eagle to Chicago. We came to San Antonio aboard the southbound Texas Eagle, which arived hear yesterday morning about 3 hours late. We stayed at the Saint Anthiny hotel, and spent an enjoyable day in San Antonio.

We left our hotel about 6:55 AM, and took a cab to the station. We checked in, and the man at the desk said theat a lady named Joy wanted to thank me for my support of Amtrak and my website. They wanted my shirt size, we gave it to them, and went outside. We walked back inside, and at 7:40 AM, we went outside to board. We boarded sleepercar number 32027, and went upstairs to room 2, a standard room.

We arived at San Marcos at 9:30 AM, 2 minutes early, and left at 9:31 AM, 1 minute early. We came to a stop again still at 9:31 AM, and left at 9:32 AM, now on time. We walked to the lounge car, which was very cold, and got a hot chocolate. Garry asked us if we were in the sleepers. We replied yes, and he said that he wouldn't charge us then. He explained that most stuff in the lounge car is free for sleeping car passengers, but if we didn't let the lounge car atendant know that we were in a sleeper that they would charge us, but it was very nice of him to ask!

We made our next stop at Austin, at 10:14 AM, 16 minutes early, and left at 10:33, now 2 minutes late, but 2 minutes isn't anything, and I have a feeling that this trip will for the most part be delay free! We made our next stop at Taylor at 11:10 AM, 12 minutes early, and left at 11:22 AM, on time. Durring our stop at Taylor, we walked to the lounge car, passing through the dining car, ware I inquired about the engine numbers, and found out not only the engine numbers, but the whole consist of the train, except for the car numbers! Todays Texas Eagle is pulled by 2 Genesis engines, number 166 and number 122, (the horn in opperation needs some work) and includes a baggage car, a crue dorm car, a sleeper, a dining car, a lounge car, a smoker coach, and 2 coaches with handycapped seeting on the lower level. We continued on to the lounge car, and noticed for the first time that on the doors seperating cars that there is a rail for a person to hold on to. We returned for my computer, and came back to the lounge car. We went to the lower level of the lounge car to get a hot chocolate, and returned to our room.

We made our next stop at Temple, ware we arived at 12:15 PM, 10 minutes early, and left 10 minutes later, at 12:25 PM, rite on time. We arived at McGreggor at 1:55 PM, 5 minutes late, and left a minute later, at 1:56 PM, now 6 minutes late. The next stop was Cleburn, ware we arived at 2:11 PM, 11 minutes late, and left at 2:12 PM, now 12 minutes late, so far so good! Interestingly, Amtrak allows 6 hours to go northbound to Cleburn from San Antonio, and they allow 7 hours to go south from Cleburn to San Antonio.

We arived at Fort Worth at 3:05 PM, 7 minutes late. Hear, we stepped off the train, and were delited to see a Genesis engine pulling the Hartland Flier to Oklahoma City. We got back on the train so Dad could get his camera to take a picture of the engine. He took a picture of the engine, then he took a picture of me standing by the engine, and walked up to the engine, and got back on to the train.

We left Fort Worth at 3:19 PM, 1 minute early, only to stop at 3:20 PM. We didn't start moving again until 3:38 PM, now 18 minutes late. We made our next stop at Dallas, at 4:42 PM, and left 9 minutes later at 4:51 PM, now 21 minutes late. We came to a stop at 5:14 PM, and started moving at 5:21 PM.

We stopped at Miniola at 6:28 PM, 23 minutes late, and pulled forward a short distance, and stopped again at 6:29 PM, and left at 6:31 PM. Durring our stop, the conductor made an announcement that this was Miniola. We were now 26 minutes late. Our next stop was Longview, ware we arived at 7:20 PM, 15 minutes late. Hear we only stayed for 4 minutes, departing at 7:24 PM, now only 4 minutes late. A person from the All_aboard list said that the train normally makes a stop for about 15 minutes, but not tonight! We arived at Marcial at 7:57 PM, 4 minutes early, and left at 8:01 PM, on time.

At 9:12 PM, on our way to the lounge car, we made a full emergency stop. We continued in to the lounge car, and hep was taken off at 9:16 PM, and wasn't restored until 9:27 PM, when we were back in our sleeper. There was no announcement as to why we made this stop, but I hope to find out from our atendant what happened. As it turned out, an air hose between the engines came off, and they had to reconnect it.

I got into the lower bed, wile dad took the top bed, and I fell asleep around 10:30 PM. I slept through our stops at Arkadelphia, Mulvurn, Walnut Ridge, and Poppler Bluff. I woke up at 4:49 AM, and baised on my weather radio, I was hearing the Poppler Bluff station, which ment we had just passed through Poppler Bluff. Interestingly, I could hear the station clearly for a wile, which made me think that we were still getting there, but I couldn't hear the station after 20 or so minutes. That's interesting, as a transmitter is normally in the town ware the first condition report is taken. We arived at Saint Louis at 10:02 AM, 1 hours and 53 minutes late, and left at 10:27 AM, now only 1 hour and 17 minutes late. We went to the lounge car, and sense they were out of hot chocolate, got applejuice.

We were downstairs by the door at our next stop at Alton. Just as the train started to move, a passenger on the platform said she had one more bag. They searched the luggage rack, wile someone else radioed the engineer to stop. After a search of the luggage did not reviel there bag, there room was searched. Nothing was found, and they thought there kids had the bag. The train left Alton 3 minutes later. Coincidencially we were downstairs for our stop at Springfield at 12:35 PM. A lady nockeed on the car door and asked us to get an atendant. We went back upstairs, and wile on the stairs the train started to move, am I glad it wasn't me out there!

We made our next stop at Lincon at 1:08 PM, and no sooner did we stop and we were movingagain. No announcement was made for pontiac, so I really had no idea of when we got there. Our next stop was Joliet, ware we arived at 3:27 PM, only 2 hours and 7 minutes late, and left at 3:30 PM, now 2 hours and 10 minutes late.

Izic, our sleeper atendant came to collect pillows, and we pulled rite in to Union station, ariving at 3:24 PM, 1 hour and 59 minutes late. We got off the train, and when we were were at the engine, Dad took a picture.

My trip on Amtrak was quite nice, I got about 6 hours of sleep, and we weren't to late! I'm looking forward to my next trip on Metra!

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