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June 2018 Journeys: Back on the Rails

Exciting news

My family has exciting news; my sister is expecting her first baby. This news means that Abby will have a human sister! My mother cannot wait to take on her long-awaited title of grandma.

My mother spends the summer with her and her family in South Carolina to help my sister. They are both excited about this extended bonding session, and I am sure that my sister can use the extra help.

June travel plans to get out there.

My mother does not like to travel alone, so I’ll take her out there. We will be touring by train, but I am coming back solo.

I am taking a different route each way for a couple of reasons. I have repeated this trip several times and wanted to change how I came back. The two middle trains are ones that I have never been on before. Finally, there are new sites to explore, and I am excited about that.

These photos are of my mother from her last journey out there. 1) Us at 30th Street Station, Philadelphia, PA 2) With Abby at her home 3) In front of Washington (D.C.) Union Station 4) Post Office Museum

Here is my current plan to get back on the rail to Charleston, SC

  • Hiawatha: (Runs from Milwaukee to Chicago) I have been on this train more than any other Amtrak train. This train will take us to Chicago from Sturtevant, WI. This train only has coach seating, so I guess we are going, coach.
  • Capitol Limited: (Runs from Chicago to Washington D.C.) This train is the only long-distance train I have taken every year since 2014. We will share a roomette on this train.
  • Silver Meteor: (Runs from New York Penn to Miami, FL) After several hours in D.C., we climb aboard our sleeping car and find our roomette on this train. This train will take us to Charleston, SC.

Travel Note on this leg of the trip

This trip is not my mom’s first time taking this trip, but usually, my dad comes along. She is familiar with the route, so she appreciates this one over others. When it comes to travel, change is not her friend. I think I get my sense of adventure more from my dad.

One of my favorite parts of taking the Capitol Limited to transfer to the Silver Meteor is the layover in Washington D.C. It’s a nice break in the adventure. Plus, Amtrak’s Washington Union Station is right downtown, within walking distance of many places, including the Capitol Building, Post Office Museum, etc. A few “hop-on, hop-off” bus tours leave from there.

Unlike flying, the beautiful thing about train travel is it’s easier to explore the city of your layover. Often the stations are downtown areas, and you can leave and come back without dealing with the TSA lines as you do at an airport.

Views from the Capitol Limited Observation Car

My return solo trip:

  • Silver Meteor: (same cities as before) I’ll be in coach this time to save some money. Instead of getting off in D.C, like usual, or even in Philadelphia as I have done before, I will be going to New York, NY. I have never been on this train past Philadelphia.
  • Self-transfer: (New York Penn to Grand Central Station) I have never had to do this before. The Meteor will arrive at NY Penn, but the next train departs from Grand Central Station. This self-transfer is a temporary move while Amtrak updates the tracks at NY Penn Station.
  • Ethen Allen Express: (New York to Rutland, VT) Typically, I would take the #49 Lake Shore Limited from New York Penn, and then the Limited would combine with train #449 out of Boston. Because of the work happening at New York Penn Station, they discontinued that section of the #49 Limited trip. So this regional train will be taking the place of that portion of the route. I may upgrade to business class with one of the free upgrade coupons I received this year.
  • Lake Shore Limited: (For the summer, Boston, MA to Chicago, usually this train starts in Boston and New York and joins/splits in Albany, NY) This is one of the few long-distance trains I have not been on¬†yet. I will be in business class on this train; I would rather have a room, but saving money right now.
  • Hiawatha: Well, I already covered this.

I am looking forward to this trip, and it will be fun to see Abby again and her folks. It may be a challenge traveling with my mother, who, as I said, is not a traveler, but it will be good for us. Usually, she and my dad are travel buddies on these trips.

Speaking of my dad, I will return with him in September. There are a few more details we are working out for that trip. We have the tickets to go out there but not coming back. There are determining factors not settled yet as to when we are coming home and who is coming. My dad and I could be bringing my mom back with us, or I may retrieve her at a later time.

The Silver Meteor is getting ready to take off from Philadelphia.


I am not looking forward to Amtrak’s CEO, Richard Anderson, downgrading the food offerings on the Capitol Limited and the Lake Shore Limited. He has been a massive disappointment to most Amtrak fans. He replaces the dining car staff with a single staff member with refrigerated meals in boxes on those two trains.

I hope you have a trip coming up, by train, plane, or whatever method of travel. Feel free to reach out.

Safe Travels,


If you want to travel on Amtrak, start by checking out my page on traveling on Amtrak.

A story is about my June 2018 journey back on the rails to South Carolina to visit family, covering the train I took on the trip.


Kev has been traveling with Amtrak since 2012, celebrating his tenth year this year. Over those years, he has been on over 700 trains covering over 200,000 miles of rail. Kev enjoys helping others achieve their travel dreams by assisting them with support and information. Kev enjoys making music as an organist.