Rare Chance to Get Amtrak No. 30 in Daylight

Running more than 7 hour late, Amtrak No. 30 is approaching Lake Rockwell Road near Brady Lake on Sunday morning.

Running more than 7 hour late, Amtrak No. 30 is approaching Lake Rockwell Road near Brady Lake on Sunday morning.

So I see fellow Akron Railroad Club member Roger Durfee at our Friday club meeting and ask him if he goes out to photograph in this kind of weather. I meant conditions in which the wind chill is predicted to dip below zero.

Silly question. Of course he does. Roger lives for winter weather on weekends.

So we talked about going out on Sunday morning. I’d call him about 7:30 and we’d make plans from there. There was a possibility that the Reading Lines heritage unit on Norfolk Southern would pass through Ohio in daylight so that might be the focal point of Sunday’s chasing.

I got up before dawn on Sunday and soon learned that Amtrak’s eastbound Capitol Limited was running more than six hours late. It was projected to arrive in Cleveland about 8:46 a.m. Opportunities to photograph in daylight No. 30, or for that matter its westbound counterpart No. 29, are not common.

No. 30 is scheduled to depart Cleveland at 1:54 a.m. whereas No. 29 is scheduled to arrive in Cleveland at 2:53 a.m. Even when they are late, Nos. 29 and 30 are passing through Northeast Ohio in the dead of night.

I called Roger and we met up with plenty of time to track down No. 30. We elected to photograph the train from the Lake Rockwell Road bridge near Brady Lake. It would be going full speed there and kicking up a lot of snow.

A call to Amtrak Julie revealed that No. 30 arrived in Cleveland at 9:30 a.m. and departed three minutes later.  Based on the track speeds for a passenger train over the 30 miles or so between our location and the Cleveland Amtrak station, Roger estimated we’d see No. 30 about 10:30 a.m.

It actually came through at 10:20 a.m., so Roger was nearly spot on.

Our plans for swirling snow images were foiled when No. 30 got an approach at milepost 91 on the NS Cleveland Line. The bridge is at about MP 89.

No. 30 was following an intermodal train that we had photographed a few minutes earlier and it was kicking up a lot of snow. But now Amtrak was starting to catch up to the stack train and had to move at restricted speed.

Fortunately for us, it was snowing somewhat heavily when Amtrak showed up. You can see the results here. This is what winter railroading is all about.

As for the Reading heritage unit, it was removed at Conway Yard near Pittsburgh.

Sunday also saw the eastbound Lake Shore Limited running about an hour behind No. 30 in northern Ohio. No. 48 arrived in Cleveland at 10:41 a.m. on Sunday morning and departed at 10:50, exactly 5 hours late. No. 48 finally got to New York at 12:10 a.m., which is 5 hours, 35 minutes late.

No. 30 rolled into Washington Union Station at 8:20 p.m. Sunday, making it 7 hours and 36 minutes late.

Amtrak returned to a sense of normalcy on Monday morning. No. 29 departed Cleveland 20 minutes late while No. 30 was a mere 26 minutes late. No. 48 left Cleveland on time, but No. 49 was running 4  hours late.

Article and Photographs by  Craig Sanders

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