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Travelogue of Michael Hansen's Trip on the Amtrak Ann Rutledge

Its about 6:15 AM, on Wednesday, December 22, 2004, and I, along with my father, have just arrived at the Geneva train station to catch Metra train number 22, the 6:37 AM Departure to Chicago, where we will be connecting with Amtrak train number 303, for a 1-way trip to Springfield, IL to pick up my 87-year-old Grandfather and to take him to our house in Saint Charles, IL for Christmas.  We left our house shortly after 6:00 AM - and made great time to Geneva.  Upon our arrival, my father informed me that the train was coming, so I set up my recording equipment just in time before the gates went down.  A friendly wave to UP engineer Scott Windish got me a horn show on our engine, METX151.  Interestingly enough, when 151 was rebuilt it came with a third generation P5, which I think sounds great when clean.  (UP engineers run Metra trains on the UP West, Northwest and North lines).

(Ed: Some of the sound links on this page are not currently working. We are investigating the problem. Please do not report the broken links to us.) Click to Listen to the recording of METX151 ariving at Geneva

After the first few cars pulled in, I stopped the recorder and headed up the platform to board the cab car (The car that leeds when the train is heading to Chicago).

Todays train number 22 is led by cab car number 8407 (A car I have been wanting to ride for quite some time), and includes 7 other cars (Not counting 8407) and is pushed by newly-rebuilt F40PH-2 number 151.  We boarded, got great seats, and overall enjoyed the 58-minute semi-express train to Chicago.  I enjoyed the ride to Chicago, and got a great recording of the bell from the front of 8407 as we arrived into Chicago's Ogilvie Transportation Center. Click to listen to the recording of 8407 as we arive in Chicago

When we arrived, we headed over to Union Station to obtain our tickets, for train 303 to Springfield.  Unfortinatly, we weren't able to get business class seats; I was not happy about it, but as it turns out I was able to get the recording I wanted of the horn, anyway.

At 8:00 AM, we headed out track 22 to preboard our train; and were dirrected to the last car.  When we boarded, however, the car was fairly empty, so we were able to get good seats.  Around 8:15 AM, I heard someone directing train 41's engineer in the back-up move into the station.  As it turned out, train 41 had single unit AMTK162; but it appeared to be quite a long train.

Today's Ann Rutledge is pulled by Genesis engine number 31 (One of the 3 still remaining in faze 3 paint) and includes Business Class/cafe car 20162, coaches 54000, 54528, and our car, 54584.  The engine was switched from HEP Standby to HEP at 8:19 AM; and we departed on-time at 8:25 AM; we paused briefly at 8:40 AM, and arrived 1 minute late at Summit at 8:50 AM.  As usual, the stop at Summit wasn't long, and we got rite out of there within 10 or so seconds of stopping.  At 8:58 AM, we moved up to the cafe car, where I set up my recording equipment on the first table on the rite side of the car.  We went screaming through Lockport at around 9:10 AM, and I got the recording of the horn non-stop for over a minute.  As I later found out, the recording didn't really come out like I had wanted, but I got plenty of horn later on in the trip.

We arrived at Joliet at 9:16 AM, and departed at 9:19 AM.  At this point, I transfored the recordings from this morning to my computer, and my father and I headed back to our seets; and I began writing this travelogue.

An announcement was made at 9:48 AM about our arrival at Dwite, and we did just that 3 minutes later at 9:51 AM; with AMTK31's horn announcing our departure at 9:52 AM.  I next began to edit the recordings from this morning with my audio editing program, Sony Sound Forge 7.0, and also made a slight adjustment to my digital recorder.

We arrived at Pontiac at 10:08 AM; and departed also at 10:08 AM.  I took a rest as we came up on Bloomington; but we departed at 10:41 AM, after ariving conciterably early.  At this point, I just relaxed, enjoyed the ride and updated this travelogue.

Our arrival in Lincoln came at 11:12 AM, but I did not catch our departure time.  After we reached Track speed out of Lincoln, I put my computer on standby - and I gathered my stuff together, in preparation for our arrival in Springfield, IL.  At 11:38 AM, we came to a stop.  The reason givven was that UP track workers were ahead and we had to wate for them to clear the tracks.  12 minutes later at 11:50 AM, we began moving - and my father got my bag down from the overhead luggage rack, and I put it on my back.  We were ready to go at 11:52 AM, and we arrived at Springfield at 11:54 AM.  We got off our car, and headed strate for the front of our train.  I set up my recording equipment, and was able to get a great recording as well as a great horn concert from Amtrak engineer Bill Hartmann, when the train departed about 2 minutes after we got to the front. Click to listen to the recording of our train departing Springfield, IL

Overall, the trip was enjoyable, dispite our coach accomodations.  While I would've liked to be in business class, it ended up not really mattering that much.  My father and I have plans to take a trip from Chicago to Kansas City on 303, Kansas City to Saint Louis on 301, and Saint Louis to Chicago on that next days 304, 3 days, 3 trains!

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