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Arriving at chicago- Back into station or pull in?

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DennisInGeorgia

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In the past my train has both pulled into Chicago and at other times it’s backed in. Is there a way to tell what my train will be directed to do, or is it at the dispatcher’s whim?
 

AmtrakBlue

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I have no idea, but my guess is that they might pull straight in if they're running significantly late or trying to make a connection (enough pax making that connection).
 

Railroad Bill

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Cap 29 and LSL 49, CZ 6 and SWC 4 have always come in head first in my 13 years of riding. Several times the CONO has backed into Chicago. Not sure if there is any given pattern.
 

Trogdor

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The City of New Orleans (and the corridor trains to/from Champaign & Carbondale) will always back in because there is no forward move connection to Union Station.

In the past a lot of trains would back in when they carried freight at the rear, for some operational reason that I never fully gathered. Also, when they did more through-running between east and west (such as Capitol Limited/Southwest Chief) they would back in. Otherwise, it's mostly straight in.

Beyond that, they will almost always pull straight in
 

Bob Dylan

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The City of New Orleans (and the corridor trains to/from Champaign & Carbondale) will always back in because there is no forward move connection to Union Station.

In the past a lot of trains would back in when they carried freight at the rear, for some operational reason that I never fully gathered. Also, when they did more through-running between east and west (such as Capitol Limited/Southwest Chief) they would back in. Otherwise, it's mostly straight in.

Beyond that, they will almost always pull straight in
The Texas Eagles used to back in most times. At one time they were trying to keep the Engines away from the Station for polution reasons, hence the backing into the Platform area.

Disclaimer: I haven't been there since July of 2019, so everything could be entirely different now???
 
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Lonestar648

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My experience has been heading in for most trains. Also, I check a number of recent videos posted which showed heading into the station. Years ago I remember The TE turning on the westbound track then back into the station. Today, I think for timing reasons, the trainsets are run through the Y when the go to the yard.
 

AmtrakBlue

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On 9/26/20, #6 backed in. I have a video of us crossing the river then backing up.
 

Seaboard92

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South Carolina
For the most part the Cardinal, Lakeshore Limited, and the Capitol Limited come front in. In all my years riding them as a passenger, and on PVs we've never ran the wye first. Usually we run the wye about an hour sometimes three hours after arrival.

The Southwest Chief generally comes front in.

I've seen the California Zephyr back in several times including in December 2020.

The Empire Builder always fronts in because it takes the thru track. It's track is the only really predictable one.

The City of New Orleans always backs in and out of Chicago because of how the track alignment is for the former Illinois Central

The Texas Eagle most of the time fronts in when I've seen it come in.
 

jiml

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It's been a mixed bag over the years. I'd wondered if that it might be something to do with timekeeping and turning the consist for its next use. A few times we've been really early and backed in. (As expected with Amtrak, count those on the fingers of one hand.;)) On-time or slightly late, straight on in. Really, really late (as in hours) we've backed in several times.
 

Acela150

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Here is my two cents on things.. It's the Yardmasters call. If the yardy wants the train shoved in, that's what happens. Their are plenty of reasons why they may want the train shoved in. Most are valid reasons.
 

Seaboard92

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Generally they like to yard the train pointing the direction it needs to depart from. That is one of several reasons I find it easy to identify the trains in the yard in Chicago. The City of New Orleans, and Empire Builder are always yarded power north, everything else is yarded power pointed south. Then it is a matter of counting cars to determine who is who.
 
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