Announcing: OTOL Chief RailFest 2012
July 17-23, 2012 ------- Albuquerque & Chicago
Our annual summer journey will be centered on Albuquerque and also some extra time in the Chicago area afterwards. The trip will feature riding RailRunner commuter rail in the Albuquerque area, plus a round trip on the Southwest Chief between Chicago and Albuquerque.
The reason for spending the day and a half in Chicago is to finally get to ride some CTA and Metra lines & segments not ridden before because our time has been limited by late arrivals and impending departures.
Those who live on the east coast will leave one day before that period of time and arrive home one day later, unless they choose to extend their own journeys. The eastern long distance trips are no longer included in our Fests since participants have different choices of trains between there and Chicago. There may however be smaller groups of our participants travelling together by coincidence.
The homepage for the Fest has been created and recently tailored to the chosen itinerary. The homepage has links to restaurants and hotels in both areas, lists of the various transit lines, links to other helpful links, and guides to scanner frequencies.
As part of our Chicago area activities, and our Metra round trip to Kenosha, it is intended that we will also ride the streetcar line in Kenosha, WI. This system runs on a loop on parallel one-way streets between the train station and the harbor by Lake Michigan. This is something I would like to do, and I'm sure the streetcar lovers of the group would as well; however I am working to ensure that it will be feasible. Metra's schedule does not have many Kenosha trips; most trips turn at Waukesha. Those that do go to Kenosha either turn right back or result in an extremely long layover. The only dwell that should allow enough time to both ride the streetcar and have a meal in town is on Sunday evening, hence this was purposely scheduled for this day and time. Arriving at 4:15 PM and leaving town at 6:48 PM gives us a little over 2-1/2 hours. The streetcars run as late as 5:30 PM, so we would have to do that first. Options for dinner, however, are sparse, so we want to be sure that we can find someplace to have dinner in the alotted amount of time. Should it be determined later on that we can't do the streetcars and eat dinner within that window, another activity for late Sunday will be substituted. Without either activity, 2-1/2 hours is a very long layover time.
As always the itinerary is "tentative" until we put our butts on the seats of the intended trains. As we all know things can and probably will change at the last minute. Advance plans could change too if any of the host rail carriers decides that the time of our visit is the best time for them to close a line to do maintenance.... AND announces their intentions.
The homepage describes the activities planned for each day. Your needs may vary if you plan to join us later or leave us earlier. Or you might do one city or the other. You might also choose to remain in Chicago and ride other lines. For those who would do the entire Fest wire to wire, or close to it, this is what you will need to reserve:
Train #3 Southwest Chief leaving CHI on Tuesday, July 17, and arriving ABQ Wednesday, July 18.
Train #4 Southwest Chief leaving ABQ on Friday, July 20, and arriving CHI Saturday, July 21.
If you are coming from points east or south of Chicago and would need to connect to #3, you would leave your destination on Tuesday 7/17 for a day trip, or Monday, 7/16 from east coast points. Travelers from the east coast have a choice between the Lake Shore Limited, Capitol Limited, or the Pennsylvanian (changing to Capitol Limited at PGH). The departure day is not one on which the Cardinal operates.
After the Fest ends on Monday, July 23 in Chicago, those headed south or east would leave that evening. This is also a non-Cardinal day, but again going to the east coast, one can ride the Lake Shore Limited, Capitol Limited, or change from the Capitol to the Pennsylvanian in PGH.
In Albuquerque, arriving Wednesday, July 18 and departing Friday, July 20 (2 nights)
In Chicago, arriving Saturday, July 21 and departing Monday, July 23 (2 nights)
As we go along, separate threads in this topic will be created to discuss things like fares, dinner plans, our long distance trips, etc.
Please begin to e-mail me and let me know whether you will attend this Fest, as well as which days you plan to participate.