Showing posts from September, 2011

Lake Shore Limited

The Lake Shore Limited is an Amtrak passenger train that traverses what is dubbed America’s third coastline. From Chicago to Albany-Rensselaer through Elkhart, Toledo, Cleveland, and Buffalo, the train travels along the south shore of Lake Michigan, the Mohawk River, Lake Erie, and the Erie Canal. The two halves of the train then part ways, with one heading to Boston, Massachusetts and the other to Capital of the World, New York City.

Unfortunately the Lake Shore Limited travels at night in most of Indiana and Ohio (it is still nice relaxing train trip though). The entire journey takes 19 hours from Chicago to New York and 15 hours to Boston. Onboard amenities include café and dining cars. Due to the height restrictions on the Northeast Corridor, the Lake Shore Limited uses entirely single level passenger cars with Amfleet II and/or Horizon coaches and Viewliner sleeping cars.

California Zephyr

The California Zephyr, the only surviving Zephyr, no longer operated by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, and Western Pacific Railroad, nor does it take its original route, is the most scenic train ride on Amtrak. Operating along a hybrid of the routes of original California Zephyr and City of San Francisco co-hosted by the Union Pacific Railroad and the BNSF Railway this train carries hundreds of awing passengers through the Rockies, Colorado River Valley, and the Sierra Nevada between Chicago, Illinois and Emeryville, California every day. Although no longer served by the Zephyrettes, the California Zephyr is still one of the most enjoyable train rides I have been on.

Hope you like the pictures posted of this magnificent train trip and many thanks to fellow Zephyr passenger, the lovely Susi, for taking most of these pictures (I decided to do the selfish thing and talked to people in the lounge car and stared outside the window). Thi…


In 1863, a railroad named San Francisco and San Jose Railroad, the first railroad in California was built on the Peninsula. It later became part of the Southern Pacific Railroad. Not many trains run on this line today but it still carries thousands of commuters up and down the Bay Area. These trains are known as the Caltrain, governed by the Joint Powers Board and currently operated by Amtrak.

The Caltrain started operations by its current name in 1987, 10 years after the beginning of Caltrans subsidised commuter train service provided by the Southern Pacific Railroad. The Caltrain runs all-day service 7 days a week with reduced frequency on weekends. With a top speed of 79 mph, the Caltrain takes an hour and half to run from end to end (up to 32 stops) where as the limited stop trains dubbed the Baby Bullet takes just under an hour (4 or 5 stops).

Equipment used on the Caltrain include several variants of rebuilt EMD F40PH-2 locomotives, MPI MP36PH-3C locomotives, gallery type bi-le…

Amtrak California Capitol Corridor

The Capitol Corridor is one of the busiest intercity trains operating today in America. It connects California’s current capitol, Sacramento (and as far east as Auburn on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada) and intermediate cities and counties with its predecessor, San Jose.

Under Amtrak California, the Capitol Corridor is entirely funded by the California Department of Transportation. As riders may notice, the numbers on motive power and rolling stock used on the Capitol Corridor have the prefix CDTX, indicating that they are indeed owned by CDOT. The equipment mostly consist of EMD F59PHI diesel-electric locomotives built in London, Ontario and stainless bi-level coaches slightly different from the Superliners dubbed as California Cars.

Enjoy the pictures I've taken during my trip of the Amtrak California and find out more about the Capitol Corridor here.

Bay Area Rapid Transit

The Bay Area Rapid Transit, BART, is a heavy-rail rapid transit system that connects San Francisco with cities and their suburbs east of the San Francisco Bay (via the Transbay Tube). The system is first opened in 1974 and currently covers 104 revenue miles of tracks. Unlike most rail systems in North America, the BART uses the Indian gauge of 5 ft 6 in.

Contactless smart cards used for electronic fare payment called Clipper are accepted on BART together with 6 other transit agencies in the Bay Area. In 2004, BART became the first subway in the United States to enable cellular service from all major carriers across the system. Today, BART also provides Wi-Fi internet access in downtown stations in San Francisco and the Transbay Tube.

Trains used in the BART system are electric multiple units 4 to 10 cars in length. They draw electricity from an electrified third rail and reach a top speed of 80 mph in service. BART operates 5 lines with timed transfer points between lines. It is curr…