Ann Arbor to Chicago - October 2023

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Jan 14, 2023
Columbus, OH
This past weekend, I was meeting up with a friend in Chicago to do some railfanning and when I was planning the trip, the times from the Toledo, OH station near me didn't mesh well with our schedules. The Cardinal frequency south of me (Cincinnati) did not mesh well with our schedules either, so both he and I agreed upon leaving from Ann Arbor, MI (which is about 3 hours from me in Columbus, OH). It was my first time being to the Ann Arbor station (and just Michigan in general), so I stayed overnight at a hotel so that I could catch the first Chicago-bound train from ARB (Wolverine #351).

A surprise to me, I didn't know that it had venture cars. I was excited to board as I had never taken an Amtrak on a venture car before. There was a business class venture car acting as a coach car and I was lucky enough to snag a seat on it. A majority of the trainset were venture cars, one horizon car, an an amfleet dining car. The train was almost to capacity and the majority of the passengers got off in Chicago and not that many at the points in between.

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I know that there are many different opinions out there about venture cars, but I loved them! The Wolverine that I took arrived into Chicago approximately a half an hour earlier than expected, and I believe it to, because during various parts of the route, we were cruising pretty fast. The plan that my friend and I had was once we got to Chicago, we were going to head down to Homewood, IL to do some railfanning down there for a while. With us getting into CUS earlier than expected, he brought up the idea to take the Saluki down there as it would be an instant connection. We then booked the Saluki, and I was excited for this trip as well, as it has been quite a while since I've been on a superliner (I was on the CZ as a really young kid, so I really don't remember it). We took the Saluki from Chicago to Homewood on the Illinois Central line and loved it (even though it was a fairly short trip). After doing some railfanning in Homewood, we took the Metra Electric line back to Chicago.


While in Chicago, we did some railfanning at Roosevelt Rd and I was excited to see that my favorite charger 301 (Day 1 livery) was in the Amtrak shop ready to go out on #59 (which I had learned later). This makes my second time seeing #301 (my first time was back in September 2023 in Pittsburgh, PA). There's always interesting power and cars that appear in the Amtrak shops in Chicago, so it was just a treat seeing it there.


After spending a few days in Chicago, it was time to head back on Monday on Wolvering #352. This time, the trainset only had one venture car, and I was able to snag it (the rest were horizons and an amfleet cafe car of course). It was still a pleasant trip back to Ann Arbor with no complaints from me. All in all, a successful and enjoyable trip.



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