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Chicago Parking


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#1 jb72

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 06:46 AM

My wife and I are planning our first LD train trip. We will be traveling on the Empire Builder from Chicago to Portland. We plan on spending a week in Portland then returning to Chicago. We are driving to Chicago from Ohio... therefore we need some long term parking near the Union Station in Chicago. Is there some long term parking nearby. Is there enough or do we need to reserve a spot (if this is even possible). Are these sites secured, or will my car be stripped when I return?

Another question ...about the sleeping cars ...
I use a CPAP machine to help me sleep ... this requires power. About how far is the power outlet to the bed ... i.e. how long of an extension cord will I need? And ... does the power stay on the whole night, or will there be times when the power is shut off?

Thanks for all information

jb

#2 AlanB

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 07:17 AM

Another question ...about the sleeping cars ...
I use a CPAP machine to help me sleep ... this requires power. About how far is the power outlet to the bed ... i.e. how long of an extension cord will I need? And ... does the power stay on the whole night, or will there be times when the power is shut off?


The first night out, the power should remain on all night, baring any problems. As a typical rule, Amtrak doesn't just turn off the power without reason, but that's not to say that it can't go out even momentarily.

Now that said, and you may have noticed that I said "the first night", on your second night of travel there will be a planned power outage. Assuming that the train is running on time, when the train reaches Spokane Washington at 1:40 AM, the power will go out for about an hour while crews work to spilt the train in half. The front half of the train goes to Seattle Washington, while the rear half goes to Portland. For safety reasons and logistical reasons, while the work to split the train is ongoing, they must turn off the power.

And of course the reverse is true coming home, when the train reaches Spokane around 12:30 AM, the power will once again go out once the Seattle section arrives so that they can combine the two trains into one.

As for the power outlet, if you are sleeping in the lower bed, then you shouldn't need an extension cord at all. If you are going to sleep in the upper bunk, then you might want one. The outlet is above the lower bunk. Now even though you might not want/need an extension cord, I would consider bringing a surge protector to plug your CPAP machine into. Train power can fluctuate, far more than your home power can, so I would recommend a surge protector to protect that important equipment.

Sorry, I can't really help with your parking question, other than to say it's going to be expensive. :o
Alan,

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#3 frj1983

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 07:33 AM

There is long term parking in the lot on the corner of Canal and Jackson(South of Union Station), there is also a connecting tunnel that leads you into Union Station, so you don't even have to go outside. I'm not sure of the prices, but will see if I can find a phone number for you.

#4 Jim in Michigan

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 12:40 PM

If you are coming from Ohio, you might want to consider going to the Toledo station and catching the Lake Shore Limited or Capital Limited there to Chicago. The parking at the station there is free and well lit. I have left my car there many times without any problems as I believe there is a police station nearby. The only potential problem is that the run between Toledo and Chicago is experiencing frequent and long delays so you could possibly miss the EB connection. If you are flexible on arrival out West, that isn't a terrible issue as Amtrak puts you in a decent motel right on the miracle mile and pays all your expenses (meals, taxis, and room) and sends you out on the EB the next day. If you were to do this then you would have to rebook the entire trip round trip from Toledo so that Amtrak guarantees your connection in Chicago.

Edited by Jim in Michigan, 31 May 2007 - 01:42 PM.


#5 sechs

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Posted 31 May 2007 - 10:35 PM

If you're concerned about the power going out, you may want to invest in the small and (relatively) portable UPSes that are available. I know that Belkin has a number of models which shouldn't be too bulky to travel.

In addition to the Lake Shore or Capitol Limited, you may wish to consider trying for some of the more reliable Michigan services, or, even getting close enough to catch a Metra train. I can't speak to the parking situations in any of these places, but if the idea sparks you, I'm sure somebody here can help.

#6 Guest_CLEARFORK_*

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Posted 01 June 2007 - 06:32 AM

If you are coming from Ohio, you might want to consider going to the Toledo station and catching the Lake Shore Limited or Capital Limited there to Chicago. The parking at the station there is free and well lit. I have left my car there many times without any problems as I believe there is a police station nearby. The only potential problem is that the run between Toledo and Chicago is experiencing frequent and long delays so you could possibly miss the EB connection.



I concur with the Toledo station thought. And, I've been monitoring the LSL lateness from TOL to CHI for the last month. It has not yet missed the EB connection. In fact, it has often been pretty close to on-time into Chicago.

#7 Guest_angie cox_*

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 02:49 PM

So parking in Chicago for the Amtrak is free?
Thank you in advance!


If you are coming from Ohio, you might want to consider going to the Toledo station and catching the Lake Shore Limited or Capital Limited there to Chicago. The parking at the station there is free and well lit. I have left my car there many times without any problems as I believe there is a police station nearby. The only potential problem is that the run between Toledo and Chicago is experiencing frequent and long delays so you could possibly miss the EB connection.



I concur with the Toledo station thought. And, I've been monitoring the LSL lateness from TOL to CHI for the last month. It has not yet missed the EB connection. In fact, it has often been pretty close to on-time into Chicago.



#8 AlanB

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 03:55 PM

So parking in Chicago for the Amtrak is free?
Thank you in advance!


No, he said that parking in Toledo was free. But then you have to take a train from Toledo to Chicago, which ups the costs of things.


If you are coming from Ohio, you might want to consider going to the Toledo station and catching the Lake Shore Limited or Capital Limited there to Chicago. The parking at the station there is free and well lit. I have left my car there many times without any problems as I believe there is a police station nearby. The only potential problem is that the run between Toledo and Chicago is experiencing frequent and long delays so you could possibly miss the EB connection.



I concur with the Toledo station thought. And, I've been monitoring the LSL lateness from TOL to CHI for the last month. It has not yet missed the EB connection. In fact, it has often been pretty close to on-time into Chicago.


Alan,

Take care and take trains!

#9 MrFSS

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Posted 06 June 2007 - 03:57 PM


So parking in Chicago for the Amtrak is free?
Thank you in advance!


No, he said that parking in Toledo was free. But then you have to take a train from Toledo to Chicago, which ups the costs of things.


If you are coming from Ohio, you might want to consider going to the Toledo station and catching the Lake Shore Limited or Capital Limited there to Chicago. The parking at the station there is free and well lit. I have left my car there many times without any problems as I believe there is a police station nearby. The only potential problem is that the run between Toledo and Chicago is experiencing frequent and long delays so you could possibly miss the EB connection.



I concur with the Toledo station thought. And, I've been monitoring the LSL lateness from TOL to CHI for the last month. It has not yet missed the EB connection. In fact, it has often been pretty close to on-time into Chicago.

In Chicago, nothing is free. The last time I parked downtown Chicago (5 years ago) it was about $40 a day. There may be some less than that, but never free.

#10 Jim in Michigan

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Posted 07 June 2007 - 10:47 AM

I definitely did not state that parking in Chicago was free as others have clarified but my thinking in parking in Toledo for free and taking the train to Chicago made financial sense to me. When I went to Chicago on two different occasions in March the cost for a coach ticket was $66 round trip which was less than it would cost me in gas to drive over there and back. And I didn't have to worry about parking (or paying for it) and I absolutely abhor driving in downtown Chicago. It was a win-win scenario for me (assuming a late train wouldn't screw everything up).

Edited by Jim in Michigan, 07 June 2007 - 11:55 AM.




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