9-11-2001 Amtrak Trip

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MrFSS

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Yes - I was on an Amtrak Acela Train on 9/11/01, five years ago tomorrow. That day will be as several others in our history I will remember. I vaguely remember when WWII was over and everyone was dancing in the streets. I remember when JFK was shot and will always remember where I was when I first heard that news. And, I will always remember that I was on an Amtrak train the morning of 9/11.

My wife and I had flown to Providence, RI a few days before and would use that as a base of operations for daily side trips each day of our planned week long visit.

9/11 was to be our day to ride the Acela to Boston, spend the day, see the sights, have a nice seafood meal, and then ride back to Providence.

We arrived at the Providence station about 45 minutes early so I could take some pictures before our train arrived. I was able to catch a southbound almost as soon as we arrived at the station.



Our train came in right on time and I was able to snap it coming into the station.



There weren't many people on the train and I was able to walk around and up to the cafe car. The conductor was able to tell I was excited about the ride and he took me to his little office and took my picture with the speedometer showing 121 MPH in the background. As you can see, I was a happy camper.



When we arrived at Boston South Station, there was near panic. I never saw so many people running around. We finally were able to see a TV and saw and heard what had happened a short time before.

Needless to say, we weren't able to spend the day in Boston. I went to the Amtrak ticket window and learned that all Amtrak trains had been cancelled. They refunded our return tickets and sold us a commuter ticket back to Providence. The next train was almost ready to leave.

I had a few seconds to run out the front door and take a picture to prove I had been there.



We had an interesting ride back to Providence. There were so many people on the train we had to stand the entire way and we were so packed in we didn't even have to hold onto anything to keep from falling.

We survived the rest of our vacation and ended up driving home as no air service was available.

Do you remember where you were on 9/11?
 
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The Metropolitan

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Apr 13, 2006
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Baltimore, MD
I remember that day very well in Baltimore. At the time, I was a Bus Operator - that morning, I was working the #27 line. At the Heavy Rail Station I passed through, I picked up a really nice young lady who needed assistance finding her way to a job interview near 36th & Falls. For the rest of her ride, we chatted and flirted for nearly 30 minutes. I swung the corner at 36th & Falls to drop her off, and we both said we'd hope to see each other some time again. At that moment, on this beautiful day, all seemed right with the world.

Right where I dropped her off, I picked up one of my "irregular regulars," a recovering addict, who breaks my mini-euphoria with "Some guys just hijacked some jets and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York! It was just on the news as I was leaving out!" Unsure as to whether to believe this bizarre tale, I got confirmation just minutes later on arrival at 29th Street, when I heard others boarding and talking about it.

On that day, rush hour switched to mid-day as people wanted nothing more than to return home. As a result, on my second part beginning at 1:44pm, the Operator brought me the bus some 40 minutes late, but Downtown was so deserted that I somehow was right on time when I was supposed to finish at 4:29pm, without a cut.

Just a strange sad day.

And I never did see that young lady ever again! :angry:
 

RailFanLNK

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Mar 24, 2006
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I was standing on the docks of UPS where I'm employed in Lincoln NE. We "roll" at 8:30am CDT and I usually get to work about 7:40am to have the locker room to myself and to "quietly" start the day. If I remember correctly, about 7:50am some drivers started talking about a airliner hitting one of the Towers. I didn't think much of it relagating it to a "bad accident", other drivers started rolling in and saying that another one hit the Towers and that it was hijacked airliners. I remember thinking the song by REM "Its the end of the world as we know it". Since Lincoln is still "baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Chevrolet", most of our trucks here didn't have bulk head or overhead doors that lock. The only cars that had the locks were the downtown cars and the delivery cars in our higher crime neighborhoods. The very next day, WE all had locks and to this day, they do "security audits" on a very regular basis. Lastly, my dad's birthday is 9/11. Such a hard phone call to make that night to say, "Happy Birthday" :( . He passed away two years ago and on his headstone it says, Born: 9/11 Died: 12/25. My girlfriend said it was so "odd" to have two significant dates of life and death.
 

AlanB

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I had my hand on the door to leave and get into my car to drive to a client in Westchester county, when my wife stopped me to come look at the news on TV showing north tower that had just been hit. Needless to say that after the second plane hit, it was clear that I wouldn't be going to work that day.

Thankfully Lydia stopped me when she did, or I would have left home and not been able to get back home as they closed all the bridges leading into the New York City area, not just Manhattan. Had I reached Westchester, I would have needed to spend the night in a hotel or drive to PA and stay over with my mom.

The day after the disaster I took a quick ride on the #7 train and wrote the following report, which I posted on the old OTOL back when Prodigy ran it.

On Wednesday I took a ride on my local subway line the #7. The closest station to me is 69th street Queens. Normally due to the height of local buildings near the station, I can only see the Citicorp building, The Empire State building, and The Twin Towers. Standing there on the platform today, but for the plume of smoke, I could not tell where the southern end of Manhattan was.
While service levels appeared to be around normal levels for 3:00pm in the afternoon, the passenger levels were less than normal. There were however, still a fair amount of passengers riding the train inbound towards the city. It was good to see that a fair amount of people were going on with life, some were going to work, many appeared to be out shopping both for food and retail shopping.

Riding in the head car of the train, I was able to look out the front window, as the train traveled closer to the city. It was definitely a surreal experience to see the anchors of lower Manhattan missing. I’m old enough to remember when there were no twin towers. The change was almost as dramatic a change to the NYC skyline as an experience I had when I was a small child.

At that time we lived in New Jersey about 20 miles west of the city. I can remember walking up a big hill near our house during the massive power failure in NYC during the 60’s. Turning to look at Manhattan and finding nothing there, where usually I could always find Manhattan. Without power you could see almost nothing, it was like some one had stolen the city. The only clue it was still there was a slight reflection of the moon in a few windows here and there.

Approaching the Queens Plaza station, one travels over Amtrak’s Sunnyside yard. I could see a normal complement of Amtrak and NJT trains in the yard. Included in the yard was what I believe was the consist for the Lake Shore Limited, those Viewliner Sleepers are very distinctive.

Leaving the Queens Plaza stop one can see the 59th street Bridge. Then as the train goes around the final curve, before diving under ground, one can see the Long Island Expressway right before it enters the Midtown Tunnel. It was startling to see that both of these major links to Manhattan, while now open, were virtually devoid of cars and trucks. Normally at this hour of the afternoon both of these arteries would be packed with cars.

I departed the train at Hunters Point station to comply with the Mayor’s wishes that people only come into town if they absolutely needed to be there. I didn’t. I then rode an outbound train back to the 74th Street/Roosevelt Ave. station. Again this train was moderately full, but again not normal for the hour, especially since it was coming out of the city. There would normally be a heavier load in this direction.

As the train returned above ground, I was now in the last car, and again looking out the window. The first thing I saw was a NJT Midtown Direct train to Dover, heading into the tunnels bound for Penn to pick up it’s passengers. Next I noticed a large electronic billboard right by the midtown tunnel was no longer flashing its usual commercial ads. It instead had a message of sympathy for all those who lost loved ones, which was alternated with a number to call should you wish to donate blood.

I detrained at 74th street and went downstairs to the underground transfer to the E, F, G, & R trains. Service here seemed a little lighter than normal, perhaps in part the R train was not operating in Queens or Manhattan. After watching around 10 trains come through the station some inbound and some outbound, my conclusion was that once again passenger loads were less than normal. They were however higher than I had expected under the circumstances.

Police presence was only a little higher than is normal for the sections of subway that I covered. People in general seemed a little somber, but they were also getting on with life and the things that they needed to do.

New Yorker’s however are a very unique lot, despite our hard shell reputation. I have heard countless stories of the goodness of my fellow citizens. Restaurants and stores that are providing free food to the rescuers, a sporting goods store owner who was handing out free sneakers to all the women walking past his store wearing high heeled shoes, people lining the main approach streets to the WTC cheering and clapping every time rescue trucks drive by. Many of who were holding signs thanking them for their efforts.

I watched the events unfold on TV, from almost the very beginning since I tuned in at about 9:05 prior to the second plane hitting. However, I can tell you that it is even stranger actually going outside to really see it in real life. I would compare it to the difference of watching a fireworks display in person vs. on television. Somehow the fireworks never seem quite as spectacular on the TV as they do in real life. While spectacular is not the correct word for this tragedy, the comparison is similar. It somehow seems to hit home all that much harder when I look at it with my own eyes and not through the lens of a TV camera.
 
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XNWA

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Sep 1, 2006
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Atlanta
I was working from 6:30 am to 2:30 pm at ATL. At 9:00 am I went outside for a smoke break when someone said a plane had hit the twin towers. I was thinking it was probally a small plane accident. Back inside they said another plane had crashed into the other tower. We had a tv in the conference room where we all watched the first tower collapse. Then they said all aircraft we grounded, I went back outside to look at the runways where only an occasional aircraft was landing. That afternoon ATL was like a ghost city, the busiest airport in the world had no air traffice at all, it was erier quiet.
 
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MrFSS

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Interesting how many of us were involved with some form of transportation when all this happened.
 

RailFanLNK

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The real odd thing with being with UPS was not having ANY air freight to deliver for almost a week. Not one single "NDA" in the load other than Next Day's from surrounding towns such as Omaha, maybe as far as Kansas City that could be put on a truck for delivery. It was just so strange. Also, seeing the gamut of emotions from ALL the people an individual like me comes into contact in one day. The rich, the poor, the challenged, every race as well and feeling bad for the very good people inhabiting my city who may be "mistaken" as a "one of them". Knowing there was going to be backlash because of skin color or living habits or clothes that they wear.
 

benale

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Jul 11, 2006
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I was on a train on September 11,2001. We started from Fort Lauderdale the day before and people were talking about this plane that hit the World Trade Center as we passed through North Carolina. The train was headed for New York and we were stopped for three hours in Petersburg, Va as President Bush halted all commercial transportation in the country. We then were stopped in Richmond for another hour before we got the ok to proceed to Washington. At DC the train was given permission to proceed to New York. We arrived nine hours late. New York was a ghost town that night and you could see the smoke coming from Ground Zero. Very eerie and frightening.

If the train had been on time we would have gone past the Pentagon, which is not that far from the tracks at the exact moment one of the hijacked planes was crashed into it.
 

Sam Damon

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Jun 9, 2005
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As for me, I was scheduled off on 9/11. I had gotten the kids off to school, and was watching BBC America. At that time, they would rebroadcast BBC World News, which I watched to ensure I had a well-rounded news diet. They broke in with news of the first plane hitting the towers, and proceeded to process the news of what was happening much quicker than ABC, CBS, CNN, FNC, and NBC. In fact, the Beeb was turning around ABC's news video faster than ABC could. From a professional perspective, I remembered how that amazed me.

Of course, I called the desk. Of course, it was "all hands on deck." I think I was at work at 10:30 that morning. I ended up on a remote from one of the many blood donation centers that sprang up. But before I left at 12:30a, I made sure I dubbed over to a master tape every last bit of newsfeed video I could. That tape proved valuable over the next several years, until some dipstick erased it, saying, "But we have another tape..."

If you haven't guessed, I work with fools. The fools I work with bring to mind the Schiller quote: "Against stupidity the very gods/Themselves contend in vain." from The Maid of Orleans, Act III, sc. vi (as translated by Anna Swanwick) (1801)
 

had8ley

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Baton Rouge, Louisiana
My son and I were on #20 coming into Meridian, MS. We were greeted by a multitude of police, news crews and firemen. The first casualty that took place right after we stopped. One of the local yokels shoved a bomb sniffing dog into the brake rigging on the engine. As he tried to wiggle out he severely burned his nose on the brakes. We sat for about 2 hours before they decided to move on and terminate in Atlanta. It is my understanding that it was the only Amtrak LD train to terminate in New York on 9/12/01. Some one high up scratched the idea of terminating in Atlanta. The dog was taken away by para-medics.
 
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I was on train #P091-09/10 the SB "Silver Star." I had taken an extra trip and was supposed to detrain that morning at JAX. I was asked to pick up my new job award going into effect that morning, and since I was already on the train I agreed to remain onboard to start my new bulletined job. It was a day swing job from JAX-SBG and back to JAX after swinging to train #92. Anyway, back on the #91-09/11 some passengers in the #9110 car sleeper were watching events unfold on TV in their roomette, and they asked to us (the whole dining car crew) to please come to their car to be present for a few minutes. The train was located bewteen PAK and DLD at that time, and the decision was made to hold the train at ORL. At that point I just wanted to get home being I was in NYC the day before, and just one month prior (on Aug 11, 2001) a co-worker and I had lunch togther at the World Trade Center. My supervisor allowed me and the other coach attendant to bail off and take train #98 (which was supposed to terminate in JAX but later allowed to continue to NYP) after we found out #92 had been delayed in the station in MIA, and the possibilty of cancellation was very real. Train #92 was later permitted to operate, and it went to NYP, too. But enough was enough for me, I had to get off that train, and escape to my home! I deadheaded on #98 back to JAX to obtain my vehicle, and marked off the remaining day of my trip, and took my two days to regroup. I didn't have any NY trips for about another three months till when after the holidays I was bumped from the job, and went back to the extra board. That after the New Years trip into NYC was very hard to take once I saw the lower skyline, and it actually hit me that all that took place! There was a co-worker on the train with me that trip who lost a brother that day in one of the towers. I don't know how he did it (making that trip)!!! OBS...
 

MrFSS

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Anyone have some thoughts on where they were that day in 2001. Many have joined the forum since I posted this a while back.
 

the_traveler

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Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
I was at work in Providence on that morning, and listening to the radio at work. Being the radio, of course I could not see any pictures. At first, I was annoyed that they interrupted the music for "talk" for a long time. And without seeing any the pictures, I didn't think anything when they said "The tower is gone!" :eek:

Being that I worked at that time for the IRS - and in a Government building - during the late morning, they said all Government buildings would close at a certain time. Being that I took a (city) bus to work that day, I had to wait for the bus home.

One thing I remembered about the ride home is that the midday runs on my route stop by the airport. This was the day they grounded all flights where ever they were. Being we stopped at the airport, more people got on. Normally, they prohibit luggage on the bus. However, some got on with bags.

They made an exception that day - and nobody complained!
 

abqdave

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Mar 18, 2008
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Albuquerque, NM
I worked in a store at the time, and we were all busy getting ready to open then dealing with the usual rush of people coming in first thing, so I didn't know it had happened until a customer came in and asked if we had heard a plane had flown into one of the towers. Like XNWA, I thought he meant a small plane. We had a TV in the back room and someone turned it on, but I was still out front. Later a co-worked told me a second plane had flown into the second tower.

It took a few minutes to sink in. I initially thought 'How could 2 planes have the same accident in the same place at almost the same time'? Then from the TV I learned it was passenger jets, and it was not an accident. I could not believe it.

I don't know if I mentioned in prior posts that I am taking my second LD Amtrak trip to Washington, DC from Christmas to New Years. On one day SO and I will take either Acela or a regional train to NYC to see ground zero. I want to make sure I see it before something else is put up there.

I hope this isn't a stupid question, but I really don't know the answer to this. About the OP's memory of 9/11...why did Amtrak stop Acela from going back to New York? I know air traffic was stopped all over the country, but didn't know 9/11 impacted trains also.
 

Squeakz2001

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Enon, OH
I was in my college dorm room, just having moved in for my freshman year 10 days prior. I walked into the dorm lobby and saw a ton of people around the tv. It was horrible being so far away from home and have something like that happen. Fortunately, I ran and woke up my roomate (who was also my twin sister!), and we were able to provide each other strength.

As a side note, a person who had graduated a few years ahead of me died at the pentagon that day. Another graduate made it out alive and lived to tell the rest of the university her story.

It was a day I'll never forget. And I pray for the families of those who died that day.
 

MrFSS

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I hope this isn't a stupid question, but I really don't know the answer to this. About the OP's memory of 9/11...why did Amtrak stop Acela from going back to New York? I know air traffic was stopped all over the country, but didn't know 9/11 impacted trains also.
Don't know if all Amtrak was shut down, but the ones from Boston south were. We rode a commuter train back to Providence with standing room only.
 

AlanB

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I hope this isn't a stupid question, but I really don't know the answer to this. About the OP's memory of 9/11...why did Amtrak stop Acela from going back to New York? I know air traffic was stopped all over the country, but didn't know 9/11 impacted trains also.
Don't know if all Amtrak was shut down, but the ones from Boston south were. We rode a commuter train back to Providence with standing room only.
Since NY City was shut down, there were no trains, buses, or cars allowed to enter NYC for several hours. Then selected service was restarted various train lines and services that were still intact, in an effort to finish evacuating the city.
 

Steve4031

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Chicago
I had just pulled into the parking lot at school, and another teacher told me "they just bombed the world trade center". I thought the guy was joking. I assumed this was just another CPS rumor full of inaccuracy. As I entered the building, several more reliable sources confirmed the first report. I walked into a classroom to see the news, and saw one of the towers collapse, and a replay of the second plane hitting the tower. I thought about the Marriott hotel that was located in the WTC complex, and worried about the people who had made my stay there a memorable one. That day really messed with my mind. I had flashbacks from what I saw on TV.
 

gswager

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Aug 22, 2002
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Portales, NM
I remember that day clearly. Ironically, my brother from CA was with me and my family here in NM. He flew in few days before. We were planning to take a backpacking trip on that day. We discussed about it and decide to go for it. So we did for the next 3 nights in the mountains east of Santa Fe. It was so quiet, no planes overhead (don't know if there are planes usually in that airspace above us or not).

On the way home on the 3rd day after 9/11, I noticed a Greyhound bus on I-25 and it was packed, even a guy with business suit! It was so ironic about that guy and it made me realize that the airspace is still shut down.

My brother did made it home on the second or third day after the resuming of airplanes in the sky.
 

sky12065

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Jun 23, 2008
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The Villages FL - Formerly Waterford NY
I was home from work and having a new furnace/air conditioner installed. While the service man worked I was on my desktop computer doing some work and had a small window open that had a local tv station showing. When I heard the first tower got hit I went to the service tech and told him what happened. We both just pictured a small plane at that time. I returned and was watching live coverage with the towers showing in the background when suddenly and unbelivibly saw the second plane come into site and blast into the second tower. At that moment I learned that both planes were commercial aircraft. When I also learned that the Pentigon was also hit and about the incident in Pennsylvania, I was thinking that the whole country may be under attack. Today, I can definitely say that I'll never forget 9-11 or how old our furnace/AC is!
 
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fizzball

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Jul 29, 2008
Messages
77
I was in downtown Chicago for some career counseling after a recent layoff. We were still waiting for classmates to trickle in when the news hit. As we were blocks from the Sears Tower (and Union Station), the building closed quickly. I then took a very surreal El ride home in a packed car with everyone trying in vain to get a cell connection.
 

Jersey Jeff

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Jul 10, 2008
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Union Tower on the NEC
I was working for a Catholic HS on the Jersey City waterfront about 1 mile west of the WTC. My PATH train arrived at Grove St. at 8:10 am. I was typing an e-mail to an old college classmate in Chicago when a coworker told me that a plane struck the WTC.

I looked out my office window and the towers that were so familiar to me since childhood did not look the same. I walked to the waterfront with my camera to snap some photos, when the second jet screamed over my head and, in an instant, struck the south tower. About 20 people around me all said "holy s**t!" in unison.

I tried calling my wife on a landline phone and a cell phone, but I couldn't get any call to work.

I walked back to my office, stunned, and remained there until 4 p.m., when the last students were able to get home safely. Since PATH and NJ Transit trains were suspended that day, I got a ride home with a coworker and traveled down a near-empty NJ Turnpike.

My wife and I went over my parents' house and downed many, many glasses of wine.

It was a really, really crappy day, and I had to endure the smell of burning plastic for a few days and stare at the rubble pile smoldering at the end of my block for much longer than I ever wanted to.
 
G

Guest

Guest
we were to leave DC for Denver on 9/12 so I was busy packing, my daughter called and and asked if I had the TV on. "no, I'm packing" (she) Well turn it on. " I was stunned ! We live only a few miles from the Pentagon and who knew what would be next. We ALSO live a few short blocks from a huge hospital. The ambulances were tearing up and down the street sirens blaring. Then it dawned on me we were leaving the next day for Denver by train. That meant river crossings to Chicago, the Mississippi at Burlington and the Missouri. What a great spot for attacks. By the time we got toDenver I was a basket case ..heart sick for the people in NYC,Arlington and Pa. Plus the nervousness over our trip . To this day driving past the Pentagon and over bridges reminds me of that day.
 
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