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Chicago, Dallas, Oklahoma City & St Louis Part 1 September 2017

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#1 doodaa


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Posted 06 October 2017 - 05:34 PM

Outward Journey

Alarm was set of 04.30, ready for a called to work to arrange my lift to the airport. A work college arrived at 05.15 and we were at Cardiff Wales Airport 10 mins. later. Checked in and dropped the luggage of quickly with no queuing, getting through Security was just as quick. I had just over an hour to wait before I boarded my flight Flybe BE 4521 to Dublin 07.00 CWL – DUB 08.00. I had a good seat on this leg, row 19 window seat and the seat next to me was empty, which was an emergency exit row, so plenty of room. After an early departure by a few mins., we also arrived early although this was cancelled out by having to wait for a vacant stand.


At Dublin there was a bit of a logistic to sort out, first I had to collect my bags, which took about 30 mins to appear, Then I had to walk to Terminal 2 and recheck my bags and check in for the next flight, Security to a little longer this time, then I made my way to US Customs Pre Clearance, where they did another security check the same as the last one and Passport and Immigration Checks. Once through I made my way to the gate to wait for the flight having a coffee and a cheese & ham toastie on the way for breakfast. The flight AerLingus flight EI 123 11.30 DUB – ORD 13.55. Again had a good seat a double seat to myself, on the very last row by the window


Again arriving early we had to wait for a vacant stand, but this time we were off the plane by out booked arrival time, having Pre Cleared Customs it was straight to the baggage claim to collect the bags, these began to appear very quickly. After getting the shuttle bus to the Avis Car Hire to pick up my compact car I came away with a 7 seater VOLO



After booking to the hotel The Wyndham Garden in Elk Grove a short drive away. I to a bit of time to settle in before talking a drive to Des Plaines to check it out ready for the morning, while there I had a late lunch at The Choo Choo Diner, where your food is delivered by model train


After this it was back to the hotel for a nap to catch up on some sleep and get over a bit of Jet Lag, later in the evening I had Ruben’s Sandwich in the hotel bar


Metra Day 1 Finishing Some Unfinished Business Friday 1st September

Taking advantage of the Jet Lag, I made an early start and drove to Des Plaines Station where I caught Metra Train 603 UP-NW to McHenry, This early start is the only way to travel the McHenry Branch unless you start out from there in the morning and return in the evening. The Branch is access via Crystal Lake Junction who’s points are hand worked. This Completed the UP-NW Services which also go to Harvard


Merta UP-NW Train 603

06.30 Des Plaines – McHenry 07.30


This becomes


Metra UP-NW Train 632

07.39 McHenry – OTC 08.52


Formation 171 Norwood Park (F40PH-2), 7228, 8247, 7222, 6083, 6158, 6079, 8407


After arriving back a OTC it was a walk over to LaSalle Station for the next train Metra RI Train 509 I take this train to Blue Island, this service goes via the ‘Main Line’ as opposed to the branch which had previously been covered. This completed Metra RI District, I also Returned to LaSalle via the same route, highlight was catching 2 of Metra’s Switchers on ????? Depot

Metra RI Train 509

10.30 LaSalle – Blue Island Vermont St. 10.50


Formation 408 (MP36PH-S3), 7344, 7474, 7346, 7271, 7364, 8561, 8224, 8566


And Return


Metra RI Train 510

11.03 Blue Island Vermont St. – La Salle 11.33


Formation 422 (MP36PH-S3), 7477, 7475, 7483, 7490, 7366, 8557, 8550


Having returned shortly before lunch it was time to make my first Route 66 Stop at Lou Mitchells for lunch of Corn beef, Hash & Eggs


The next line to finish was the NCS services up to Antioch having previously only gone as far as O’Hare Transfer. This trip had a couple of highlight, first as I boarded an Amtrak Hiawatha Service came in with one of their new Charger Locomotives on. On the outward run we passed a full Western Avenue Depot, Seeing another 2 Switchers, along with F40C 611 & 614 and Caboose METX2002. On the Return the depot had mostly emptied ready for the evening rush offering better views. While at Antioch our train went to the coach yard to allow a CN Container train to pass

Metra NCS Train 105

13.00 Union Station – Antioch 14.35




Metra NCS Train 116

15.00 Antioch – Union Station 16.35


Formation 102 Village of Mokena (F40PH-3), 8206, 8464, 8535


Having Returned to Union Station, it was a short walk back to OTC for my return UP-NW service to Des Plaines


Metra UP-NW Train 637

17.06 OTC – Des Plaines 17.35


Formation 157 Village of Palatine (F40PH-2), 7239, 6131, 7212, 6021, 6055, 6183, 8463


The final piece of unfinished business was to finish a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza at Gordinio’s, A 6inch, BBQ Chicken and Bacon Deep Dish Pizza


Happy to say all outstanding business was taken care of


IRM Labour Day Gala 2nd & 3rd September

This is my 4th Visit here and it still impresses with over 400 items of rolling stock, Ive still not seen it all. They have a 5 mile interurban mainline a 1 mile street car loop, a trolley bus loop and also they were running a shuttle service for their preserved CTA 50th Street Station. They were running Steam, Diesel and Over head electric Services, as well as Electric Trolley Busses. With the variety on offer over the 2 day and the display barns, it was 2 very full days. Over the 2 day most of the on view equipment was seen, most of which is undercover in 7 display barns (they also had a similar number not open for viewing) 12 Train rides were taken on 11 different sets of equipment

 Interurban Cars

4412       Chicago Transit Authority

4290       Chicago Transit Authority


309         Chicago, Aurora & Elgin

308         Chicago, Aurora & Elgin


22           Chicago Transit Authority

41           Chicago Transit Authority


714         Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee

719         Chicago North Shore & Milwaukee


36           Chicago, Aurora & Elgin

319         Chicago, Aurora & Elgin



19           Compania de Luz Fuerzay Traction de Veracruz


3142       Chicago Surface Lines


4391       Chicago Transit Authority


Steam & Coaches

1630       Frisco 2-10-0

1021       General American Pfaudler Corp. (GPEX) Steel Milk Car

2544       AT&SF Combine

556         Lackawanna Steel Coach

2612       Rock Island? Steel Coach

2555       Rock Island Steel Coach

2571       Rock Island Steel Coach


Diesel & Coaches

BN3                         Burlington Northern E-9AM

Nebraska Zephyr  Chicago Burlington & Quincy

960 Venus             Power Car/Coach

4626 Vesta            Coach

4627 Minerva       Coach

150 Ceres              Diner

225 Juno                Parlor Observation Car



411         Chicago & North Western Railway F7A

6              Chicago & North Western Railway Gallery Coach

1              Chicago & North Western Railway Gallery Coach

151         Chicago & North Western Railway Gallery Cab Car

Trolley Bus

4123       Seattle King County Metro Trolley Bus


Breakfast both days was at the Marengo Café, always good food and friendly service, and on the way how I called in at Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque in Elk Grove and the Second night it was The Cheesecake Factory


Labor Day Monday 4th September Fox River Trolley Museum

Decided on a easy day to day, so breakfast was at IHOP, followed by a trip out to the Fox River Trolley Museum, something I’ve been meaning to do for a few years but never managed to get the timing right.


They were running to Car’s today CTA Car 45 & North Shore Car 715 so a trip on both cars was taken over the full length of the line


Very friendly Railway, when they heard my accent the arranged a tour of the workshops, with the head of engineering, lots going on, and lots of plans for the future. I spend an hour or so having lunch in the car at the crossings at West Chicago, still busy even though it was a public holiday, before calling in at LongHorn Steakhouse for dinner


Tuesday 5th September Metra Day2

Decided on an early start today, to cover another 2 Metra Lines the MD-N to Fox Lake and SWS line to Manhatten. First up was a drive to Cumberland Station as it was nearer the hotel than Des Plaines and added a couple of more miles, Catching UP-NW Train 620 in to OTC this is a big 11 set so as a bonus was double headed with 178 in a new(ish) paint scheme of the MP36’s


Metra UP-NW Train 620

07.31 Cumberland – OTC 08.01



178 Village of Prospect Heights (F40PH-3), 151 Leo J. Cusick (F40PH-2), 7288, 8527, 6161, 7810, 6145, 6103, 6040, 8417, 6060, 6047, 8526


On arrival it was a quick trot over to Union Station, luckily, the next train departed from the North side so I had a few moments to get some breakfast en-route. The train was MD-N service to Fox Lake Train 2109, which returned as Train 2132


10.45 Fox Lake – Chicago Union Station 12.32


Just before departure we dropped of the last 2 or 3 cars, Before Western Ave, Yard we saw the several trains of empty stock waiting a road into the yard for the day. This line was a bit more unfinished business, as I had travelled a portion of it a few years back on Amtrak’s Empire Builder.


Metra MD-N Train 2109

08.35 Chicago Union Station – Fox Lake 10.12


Which forms

Metra MD-N Train 2132

10.45 Fox Lake – Chicago Union Station 12.32



413 (MP36PH-3S), 7300, 6117, 7467, 8546


On return to Union Station it was a trip over to the South platforms for a SWS service to Manhattan, again part of this route having previously been covered on Amtrak’s Cardinal


Metra Train 815

12.35 Chicago Union Station – Manhattan 13.57


Which then forms on Return


Metra Train 830

14.25 Manhattan – Chicago Union Station 15.48



117 Village of Palos Park (F40PH-3) 807, 7446, 7296, 814, 7444, 6185, 8599, 818, 8579


After View Amtrak’s Depot on the way in and out on this service, It was back to OTC for my UP-NW Train 629 back to Cumberland


Metra Train 629

16.39 OTC – Cumberland 17.12



132 City of Harvard (F40PH-3) 7219, 6049, 6015, 8749, 7221, 6063, 7496, 6027, 8433


On the way back to the hotel, I called in to Giordano’s for more Pizza. This just leaves me the UP-N line left to do on my next trip


Wednesday 6th September The Texas Eagle

The Day Started with a bit of logistics, in returning the hire car to O’Hara Airport and then transferring over The airport to catch CTA’s Blue Line into town


CTA Blue Line

08.06 O’Hare – Clinton 08.53


Formation 2933 + 2934, 3095 + 3096, 3043 + 3046, 2651 + 2652


After lugging the cases up the last flight of stairs at Clinton, and a 2 block walk I checked my bags with Amtrak at Union Station, and Checked in to the 1st Class lounge. Having a few hours to kill I took a walk back to Lou Mitchells for breakfast


In due course we were called for our train and made our way to my coach and rom Train 21  Texas Eagle Car 2120 Room 005


Amtrak Train 21 Texas Eagle

13.45 Chicago Union Station (6/10) – Dallas Union Station 11.30 (7/10)



45           Locomotive P42

39045    Superliner II Trans. Dorm/Sleeper

32064    Superliner I Sleeper (Hell’s Canyon)

37016    Superliner I Diner Lounge

33006    Superliner I Lounge

31035    Superliner I Coach/Baggage

34000    Superliner I Coach

34057    Superliner I Coach


It was a good on time trip dinner was taken at 17.30 Having Amtraks Surf and Turf.


Part 2 to follow


#2 MikefromCrete



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Posted 06 October 2017 - 07:08 PM

Great report, you are really thorough. The Rock Island District car/locomotive maintenance site (or depot in U.K.) is 47th Street, also known as the Rocket House. 

#3 Bob Dylan

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Posted 06 October 2017 - 10:29 PM

Wow,we rode lots of rail routes in Chicago during the Gathering in 2013, but you win the prize for covering so much of the Greater Chicago area!😎

Look forward to future episodes of your trip!😉

Edited by Bob Dylan, 06 October 2017 - 10:29 PM.

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