Fest uodate, as of 7/11/03:
It's time for an update on the Windy City RailFest. This was e-mailed already to Fest participants and those who asked to remain on the e-mail list even though they dropped out, but I am posting an edited version here for everyone's benefit.
The Pre-Fest Dilemma
Assuming that everything works as planned, and we get to Chicago on or near the LAKE SHORE LIMITED's scheduled 9:10 AM arrival next Thursday, plans call for us to quickly check our bags at Union Station, take a ride on the Douglas/Cermak branch of the Blue Line
, have lunch, and then go to Randolph Street Station to begin our afternoon round-trip on the South Shore Line to South Bend and back. It was pointed out to me that I did not allow for us to return to Union Station to retrieve the luggage we had checked there that morning. So a small trip on the Loop was added on the Purple Line
to take us from the Randolph Street Station vicinity back to Union Station.
It was pointed out to me today by David Korkhouse (of South Bend) that the LAKE SHORE LIMITED and the CAPITOL LIMITED have been having timekeeping problems through there in recent weeks, running between 1-1/2 and 3 hours behind schedule. Obviously, with such tight plans for Thursday morning in Chicago, this could potentially throw out the entire itinerary for that day, including missing the South Shore round trip.
Introducing Plan B
... If we are under 2 hours late, we can continue on the LAKE SHORE LIMITED into Chicago. We could always cut out the Blue Line
trip and do that another time, like after they've rebuilt it. :-) If we are two hours late or more, we will do Plan B. Plan B will involve getting off the LAKE SHORE LIMITED in South Bend, Indiana, and making our way over to the airport to catch the South Shore Line. This would necessitate the following:
* Those on the westbound LAKE SHORE LIMITED would be forfeiting the difference in fare between South Bend and Chicago. Today I have either called or e-mailed everyone I expected this would involve, and all are OK with it. Partial payback for this is taking the South Shore Line in one direction instead of round trip, a savings of over $10.
* Transfer between AMTRAK's South Bend station and the Michiana Regional Transportation Center (the Airport!). David Korkhouse has offered to drive us in his van between those points.
* We would be taking South Shore Line Train #18 inbound instead of Train #20 as originally planned. Train #18 departs from South Bend at 12:17 PM (EST, no daylight time there), and gets to Chicago at 2:37 PM CDT. With the rest of the afternoon then available in Chicago, we could do the Blue Line
as originally planned, only later in the day. There might also be time for one more turn an a line not originally planned to be part of our Fest (most likely the Orange Line
* In order for the Chicago-area people to be able to join us in at least one direction on the South Shore Line, they will need to take Train #7, which departs from Randolph Street Station at 8:45 AM. This train gets into South Bend at 11:05 AM, where it turns as the above Train #18 at 12:17, leaving over an hour for lunch at the airport.
Once again, Plan B will only be invoked if we are running two hours late or more. Unfortunately, this decision has to be made while the LAKE SHORE LIMITED is between Toledo (5:40 AM EDT) and South Bend (7:01 AM EST) if the train is on time. So if we see we will be arriving in South Bend anytime after 9 AM (EST), we will go to Plan B and get off there. Since this is 15 minutes after the Chicago-area people should have boarded their outbound South Shore train, I will have to inform them much sooner than that, like after we have passed Toledo.
The Route Guides...
....have been printed and will be distributed to each participating member of our Fest. Consider it your keepsake of a fun and educational event!!
Besides route guides, the packet you will receive also includes the itinerary, the guest list, lists of all of the CTA, METRA, and South Shore Line routes, and system maps for all three carriers as well. There will also be a short quiz to test your knowledge of local and intercity transportation in the Chicago area.
Please keep in mind that some documents will not be included in your packet. If you wish to have a listing of restaurants or my compilation of scanner frequencies, you will need to go to my homepage at http://pages.prodigy.net/kevinkorell/chica...gofest/home.htm
, click on the appropriate link, and print it from there.
Accidents happen -- people get delayed, Fests hit snags. Anything is possible, as we have found out on previous outings. For this reason I want to create a personal list of cell phone numbers, in order to be able to contact you of any last-minute changes. By the same token (even though tokens have been eliminated in favor of fare cards :-D ) I want you to be able to let me know if you are running late, or if you have to cancel at the last minute. While we need to adhere to the itinerary in order not to miss trains, we can try to work something out where you can join us on the next phase of our Fest, or else "short-turn" out to meet us midway along a line.
So if you have not yet sent me your cell phone number, or are not sure if you did, please send it to me and I will include it on my list. My cell phone number and text e-mail address were sent this weekend to those involved via e-mail. Please do not post any personal information online!
Any further updates will follow, until the morning of Wednesday 7/16, when we will begin to make our way to Chicago. If anyone in the Chicago area sees anything of significance regarding the South Shore Line, METRA, or the CTA, please let me know by e-mail before that time. Once I am on travel, please call me at the above cell phone number if you hear of any planned service disruptions, bridge fires, or anything else that could impact our itinerary.
See you next week!