Monday, January 18, 2016

Next Vacation

Even as I was returning home from my last, I was thinking about my next. there are many places that would be nice to visit. Some would be cleanup from previous trips. Atlanta is one. Years ago, rumor was that Southern RR was discontinuing their Crescent Ltd, from Washington to New Orleans. For the fun of it I went to Washington and took the Crescent to Atlanta and return the next night. Idid not do much on that trip other than that. Now, there is more to be done and easier transit around the city. The last time in Atlanta, a couple of years ago, I wanted to see the new Streetcars, but the streetcars had not begun operations. My first trip was before the internet, so I did not do a lot of good research as to what to see. Return today would mean streetcars, third rail, other RR, and Underground Atlanta.

I have outlined another Boston day trip. It includes other stops for watching, same stuff, different location. Florida is another option. I laid out three versions. The first is a north Florida excursion, taking two overnight trains, include a stop in Orlando to see Commuter Rail and Jacksonville to see their Monorail. The second version is to Miami. In a very unrailfan move, I think that flying would be good. This would include a trip out to see the Miami Art Deco along the beach. The third version would combined both north and south into one Florida trip. The interesting thing is two trips work out to be four days while combining these two would be 6 days. The big differences is the two overnight on trains.

Chicago is an interesting place for train watchers and others. There are 5 good transfer points, to make you way the Chicago. Coming from Richmond, VA, just transfer in Washington for New Orleans and than to Chicago. This has the drawback of the layover being over night. It does have the advantage of allowing for me to watch the streetcar action in New Orleans. Just as far is to go via Boston and take the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago. New York is a good alternative, to get the Lake Shore Limited. A good alternative is to transfer for the Pennsylvanian in Philadelphia and for the Capitol Limited in Pittsburgh. This takes your route though Horseshoe Curve in Pennsylvania.

Coming from Virginia, the best transfer is Washington, DC. Even here there are two alternatives. One is the Capitol Limited, overnight, to Chicago. The Cardinal takes your trip through West Virginia. As I continue to look at overnight to Chicago, I think back to a previous vacation where I considered a trip to Memphis, TN. My first thoughts were a car trip as I went to Chattanooga. I could continue past Nashville, where there is now commuter rail. Looking at the rail journey, the trip would go via Chicago. That would mean an overnight to Chicago, spend the day in Chicago, overnight to Memphis, spending a day in Memphis, overnight back to Chicago, spend the day in Chicago and finally overnight back to Washington. That would give me two days in Chicago. In addition to Metra and EL and South Shore, and the air train at O Hare, I would have time for more conventional touring, such as going to two sky decks, taking in Navy Pier, and an additional train station. In Memphis, I would see one of the only hanging monorails and streetcars. In addition I would see Mudd Island and its attractions. Taking what started as a three day, two night trip into a five day, four night trip. In addition, all overnights would be on train so no hotel bills.

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