Chi-STl RT 301-306: will we really travel 90 mph?

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Steve4031

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This is a quick trip for the end of Summer. I booked it on Wednesday. Surprisingly BC was available for both trains even at this late of booking.

Arrived at Union station and proceeded to gate area. A short wait and then we boarded at 6:45. BC was at head end. The conductor scanned tickets before departure and we were on the move at 7 am.
 

Steve4031

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Caught these sitting in the yard. There were at least 2 more sitting on the tracks closer to the river.
 

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Steve4031

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Departed Bloomington 14 minutes late. Averaged 71 mph with a top speed of 90 for some stretches. We stopped a few times for meets.
 

Steve4031

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Departed Alton 11 minutes late. We met 22 north of Springfield. So far nothing terribly impressive about performance of the train. Should be on time or early into STL.
 

Steve4031

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Now stopped at a red signal near the junction for the Merchant Bridge route. Not sure which way we will go. Imho UP and Amtrak are not ready for prime time.
 

Steve4031

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We were held for Freight traffic. Then ran slowly the rest of the way to the bridge over the Mississippi. Average speed between alto and Stl was 35 mph. We were stopped 17 minutes waiting for the freight. There are hirail trucks on the EB track on the bridge. Must be an inspection.
 

Steve4031

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Purchased a day pass for 7.50 and rode the light rail 2 stops to eat lunch at Hooters. Thankfully it’s well air conditioned. After lunch I’ll ride out to Shiloh Scott and back. If there’s time I’ll continue to ride west if the Amtrak station.
 

Steve4031

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Got excellent service and food at Hooters. The AC was comfortable so I didn’t rush and the server didn’t rush because she was a bit overwhelmed. It was a pleasant, relaxed meal.

By the time I finished it I realized a ride out to the end of the metro line was a bit tight schedule wise. So I went back to the station. The agent gave me the code and I had the little lounge to myself. Napped a bit, with alarm set so I wouldn’t miss 306, and read a book.

306 boarded at 5:10 and we departed on time.
 

Steve4031

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A better run to Alton this time. 4 minutes early. Average speed was 38 mph. Top speed 79. No stops for freights. First 10 miles with bridge was slowest running. 8 miles of that is not part of the bridge so maybe they will upgrade that part someday.

Please note that I’m using a smartphone speedometer app to gather this information. It is not exact and any information I post should never be used to evaluate the skills of the engineers and whether or not they are following rules.
 

Steve4031

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Didn’t hit start before leaving Alton because I was buying m&ms and getting my free coke. Once I started tracking we were up to speed. I observed longer periods of 85 mph running. The stop in carlinville was quick.
 

Steve4031

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We are having a much better run back to Chicago. Sat for 10 minutes in Springfield. Now in Lincoln. Early or on time for sure. The LSAs on both trips have done a good job. Not spectacular but proficient. Which is good under current conditions.
 

Steve4031

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we have come to a stop. The conductor announced that there was a train in the siding ahead of us. We are waiting for 307 to pass and then we will pack out of the siding a proceed on to Chicago.
 

Steve4031

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Pulling into union station at 11:10. Faster running and padding contributed to on time arrival. Thankfully CN did not delinquent in the home stretch.
 

Michigan Mom

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Thanks for posting your report! Brought back memory of taking that same RT years ago... the 6 hours in coach was pleasant and the scenery interesting. We took the light rail around downtown STL and stayed at a hotel right by the rail station, in the historic train depot (it was so long ago... I can't remember the name of the hotel) Gosh how much fun that was to walk around exploring the place. Next morning back to CHI. Some day I'll take that trip again.
 
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