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Amtrak Trip Pittsburgh to Chicago on the Capitol Limited

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dlagrua

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Nov 24, 2009
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Hillsborough, NJ
We just returned from our first trip on the Capitol which took us from Pittsburg to Chicago and back. We chose the CL over the LSL due to cost and our preference for the Superliners and the larger availability of bedrooms.

Pittsburg Station is a full service station but a bit hard to find. Its actually located in the rear basement of the original Union Station which is now an apartment building. Amtrak still owns all of the station platforms and has a medium size waiting room but its a bit hard to find. Surpisingly it is a well used station and manned 24/7 although only four trains per day pass through it; two for the Pennsylvanian and two for the CL.

The Chicago bound train #29 leaves daily around midnight. The return trip arrives back at 5:05 AM. The train stops for 20 minutes for loading/unloading.

The CL had three sleeper cars on it. The sleeper capacity was about 80% full. Coach was crowded. We were in the 2900 car going and the 3000 car coming back. We had bedroom E which is right in the middle of the car both ways. Everything was working although some signs of 30 yr wear are starting to show.

The CCC car is still being used as the diner. The food selection was good . Breakfast going was your typical bacon, hash browns and eggs selection but it was served ice cold. On the return trip the dinner selections were salad and rolls, Shrimp Scampe, Chicago steak, Roast Chicken, Leg of lamb, Vegetarian Pasta etc. and a variety of tasty deserts. The dinner food was served hot and well prepared. The shrimp scampe was very good but it tasted more like shrimp creole w a spicy tomato sauce.

The CL does in fact still have an observation car on it which is very nice to ride in when the scenery. Since it is a Superliner its not a dome but with all the windows affords the traveler a very pleasant view.

Chicago Union station is still comparable to NYP station; very crowded but the Metro Lounge is comfortable, The wifi was not operational at all so we read and helped ourselves to soft drinks. While we were waiting for our train we walked over one black to the Willis Tower (former Sears tower) and rode up to the Sky Deck. There are many places to eat around the station but we ate lunch at Greektown which is about a 15 minute walk to the West. The Greek Island restaurant is our favorite and serves gourmet quality food at reasonable prices.

Both trains departed and arrrived right on time. Coming into Pittsburg at 5:05 AM, a friend told us to eat breakfast in the strip district. Delucas opens at 5 AM and serves a terrific breakfast at a bargain price. The strip distict is where you have most of the wholesale food warehouses in Pittsburgh and the trade tends to start early. We also ate in the strip district the evening before we departed as there are some retaurants there that cater to the nightime crowd. The strip district is only about a half mile from Union Station. There is now a large parking garage across the street from Union Station. It has 24 hour security ( 2 people) and after leaving our car there for 5 days, upon return, it was as we left it.

We have a few pictures to share and we will try to get these up on the forum later this week. All and all it was another pleasant train trip. The trackage condition to Chicago is decent but its still hard to manage more than a few hours of sleep. The 30 minute cigarette stop and the stop time at Cleveland will help to get you to sleep. If anyone has any questions on the PGH-CHI trip please feel free to ask.
 
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the_traveler

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Nov 14, 2007
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Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
FYI - The CL (or ANY other Amtrak train) DOES NOT have an observation car. It has a Sightseer Lounge Car! :rolleyes: And the router at the CHI Metropolitan Lounge sometimes has to be reset. If so, ask at the desk! (I have, and they reset it! :) And the wifi works great!)
 

PaulM

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Jun 27, 2008
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Location
Quincy, IL
The shrimp scampe was very good but it tasted more like shrimp creole w a spicy tomato sauce.
I though sure it was shrimp creole too. I diluted it with something from my wife's milder dish, I forget what it was, and it tasted great.

Coming into Pittsburgh at 5:05 AM, a friend told us to eat breakfast in the strip district. Delucas opens at 5 AM and serves a terrific breakfast at a bargain price.
Can you tell me exactly where the strip district is? I'll becoming in on #30 at 5:05AM (one of those times I hope it's late) to start a bike trip to Cumberland, MD. I'll be looking to take on some "fuel" before heading out on the Southside Trail.

The 30 minute cigarette stop and the stop time at Cleveland will help to get you to sleep. If anyone has any questions on the PGH-CHI trip please feel free to ask.
Personally, I find it harder to sleep while the train is stopped. Noises such as people talking as they get on or off doesn't seem to be masked by the white-noise like sounds you get when the train is running.
 

MrFSS

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Mar 13, 2004
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Central Kentucky
We just returned from our first trip on the Capitol which took us from Pittsburg to Chicago and back. We chose the CL over the LSL due to cost and our preference for the Superliners and the larger availability of bedrooms.
I'm confused (nothing new) - but the LSL doesn't go to Pittsburgh (note correct spelling). How could it have been a choice??
 

dlagrua

Conductor
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
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Location
Hillsborough, NJ
Can you tell me exactly where the strip district is? I'll becoming in on #30 at 5:05AM (one of those times I hope it's late) to start a bike trip to Cumberland, MD. I'll be looking to take on some "fuel" before heading out on the Southside Trail.
If you are at the Pittsburgh Amtrak station go outside and turn right on Liberty Avenue. Go down about 1/2 mile and make a left on 17th street. The next block is Penn Avenue. That takes you right into the Strip district. The address for Delucas is

2015 Penn Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4417

(412) 566-2195

They have been rated as the "Best Breakfast in Pittsburgh" by Pittsburgh magazine. The place looks like a luncheonette out of the 1950's but the food is good and they open much earlier than any of the downtown joints. We walked in at 5:15 AM and were served. The place actually got busy with truck drivers and wholesale food workers that work the warehouses in the strip area.

I'm confused (nothing new) - but the LSL doesn't go to Pittsburgh (note correct spelling). How could it have been a choice??
We live in central NJ so we could have gone to NYP to ride the LSL but it would have been a hassle and the price was exhorbitant. . We could have also taken the Pennsylvanian from Philadelphia but the 4 hour layover in Pittsburgh to catch the CL was not appealing. We decided to drive the 6 hours to Pittsburgh, visit Fallingwater (Frank Lloyd Wright home) my wifes uncle and then pick up the CL at that point.

FYI - The CL (or ANY other Amtrak train) DOES NOT have an observation car. It has a Sightseer Lounge Car!
We can get stuck on nomenclature but that car looked very similar to the observation cars of yesteryear- large windows, overhead curved windows, but it has seats facing outward. Its a great car to observe the scenery but if its called a Sightseer lounge car then who cares. Its like comparing a Porter to an SCA. They both do the same job but todays title is just different.
 
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PaulM

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Jun 27, 2008
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Location
Quincy, IL
If you are at the Pittsburgh Amtrak station go outside and turn right on Liberty Avenue. Go down about 1/2 mile and make a left on 17th street. The next block is Penn Avenue. That takes you right into the Strip district. The address for Delucas is 2015 Penn Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4417

(412) 566-2195

They have been rated as the "Best Breakfast in Pittsburgh" by Pittsburgh magazine. The place looks like a luncheonette out of the 1950's but the food is good and they open much earlier than any of the downtown joints. We walked in at 5:15 AM and were served. The place actually got busy with truck drivers and wholesale food workers that work the warehouses in the strip area.
Thanks, I'll add this to my cue sheets. Sounds like my kind of place.
 

dlagrua

Conductor
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,139
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
If you are at the Pittsburgh Amtrak station go outside and turn right on Liberty Avenue. Go down about 1/2 mile and make a left on 17th street. The next block is Penn Avenue. That takes you right into the Strip district. The address for Delucas is 2015 Penn Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15222-4417

(412) 566-2195

They have been rated as the "Best Breakfast in Pittsburgh" by Pittsburgh magazine. The place looks like a luncheonette out of the 1950's but the food is good and they open much earlier than any of the downtown joints. We walked in at 5:15 AM and were served. The place actually got busy with truck drivers and wholesale food workers that work the warehouses in the strip area.
Thanks, I'll add this to my cue sheets. Sounds like my kind of place.
Deluca's serves a great breakfast and you'll also like the prices.
 
A

Amy

Guest
*** NOTE that the previous posts in this thread were posted in 2010 ***

So, it is now 2014. Online I see that Deluca's opens at 6:30am.

Coming in from Chicago on the Capitol Limited at 5 am. Since the Pennsylvanian leaves at 7, that's not doable.

Anyone have other suggestions?
 
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Bob Dylan

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Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,266
Location
Austin Texas
The Cap has been running Late into Pittsburgh lately so you may be able to eat Breakfast on the Train if you're like 2 Hours late! ( Breakfast usually starts @ 6-630AM depending on the route!)

If you miss your Connection,if you have a Guaranteed Connection, you may have to stay on until WAS or they may hold #42 if you're not too late, or even run a bustitution!!!!

Not much around the Amtrak Station which is a pit, except a fancy Hotel close by that I can't remember the name of?

What is your final destination??
 
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OlympianHiawatha

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Feb 7, 2008
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4,286
Location
Norman, OK
We can get stuck on nomenclature but that car looked very similar to the observation cars of yesteryear- large windows, overhead curved windows, but it has seats facing outward. Its a great car to observe the scenery but if its called a Sightseer lounge car then who cares. Its like comparing a Porter to an SCA. They both do the same job but todays title is just different.
While it is technically known as a Sightseer Lounge, many Crew members do indeed refer to it as an Observation Car or simply the "car with the big windows." Of course, its design was inspired by the Santa Fe Hi-Level Lounge, 5 of which now serve as the Pacific Parlour Cars on the Coast Starlight.
 
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