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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Enormous New Amtrak Travelogue Online!!!

   
Author Topic: Enormous New Amtrak Travelogue Online!!!
Amtrak288
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Hello everyone in the Railforum World!!! For anyone who doesn't know me I'm Geno Dailey and I used to post here several years ago. I've been running my web site about Amtrak (hosted here by TrainWeb) for 13 1/2 years and I completed an absolutely enormous Amtrak trip back in October 2013!!!

This travelogue took 3 months to build and involved color-correcting over 1600 photos (not all made the travelogue, there has to be a "virtual cutting room floor" on any movie set!), and creating literally hundreds of web graphics as I'm not just trying to tell a story, but rather create an event in the mind of the viewer, where by reading the text and looking at the photos and web graphics, you're "almost" experiencing the trip the way I did!

Here's some of the highlights of this travelogue:

5 Amtrak Trains including a late running #49 which allowed me to see the Water Level Route entirely in daylight from Sandusky, OH to Chicago. This trip also includes a complete ride on a detouring #5 through Wyoming. I booked this trip in February 2013 and had no idea then that I would be riding on the detour route. It turns out that although it's not the Moffat Tunnel or Glenwood Canyon, it's still an excellent ride over a very historic route!

Cedar Point: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad which is a narrow-gauge steam-powered railroad in the park. Oh, and a new piece of "high-speed rail" opened this year, the roller coaster "GateKeeper", it's awesome!!!

Railfanning in Berea, OH: Lots of trains and good eats inside the Berea Union Depot Tavern restaurant located inside the nearby former New York Central Passenger Station!

The Western Pacific Railroad Museum - Portola, CA: If you've never visited this museum before, you need to! The amount of equipment you can view and tour is amazing, it was totally worth the 180+ mile road trip from my hotel in Vacaville, CA!!!

The Napa Valley Wine Train - Napa, CA:
You will see this railroad in a whole new way!!! There is no train quite like this!!! I spent a total of 3 days riding and photographing it including two rides (one in the cab of an FPA-4 and the other in the Vista Dome car).

Included in the 5 Amtrak trains I rode was a round-trip on the Capital Corridor route so I can now say I covered that entire route!

A lot of work went into this because train travel is something I truly love doing!!! Questions/Comments here are very much welcome! So without further delay, here is the URL:

http://www.passengertrainheaven.com/travelogues/100313A/100313AIndex.html

Posts: 113 | From: Buffalo, NY | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
chrisg
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Very nice story Geno. You did an excellent job us usual.


Chris

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RRRICH
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Hey Geno -- GREAT travelogue!!! I spent all morning reading it. You sound a lot like me -- you also enjoy the "Amsteak" for dinner on trains, plus you are also a McDonald's and Diet Pepsi fan (except my choice is actually Diet Coke!)

Your photos are INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! You must either have a very high-tech system, or you are blessed with an ENORMOUS talent for taking such great photos, which are all sharp, in focus, and quite color-balanced, especially knowing that many of them were taken while the train was traveling quite fast and over questionably-smooth trackage (or in the Cedar Point section, the roller coasters were moving quite fast!)

Most of the pictures I take come out either WAY WAY too dark, or they are NOWHERE NEAR in focus, but your photos are all excellent!! Great job!!

I am still curious -- you said the Coast Starlight takes the same route from SJC to OKJ as the Capital Corridor trains? Are you sure about that? I thought the CS did NOT make that 90-degree bend in Fremont, but still followed the older SP route closer to the shore of SF Bay between Fremont and the Coliseum, and therefore bypassed the locations of the Fremont and Hayward stations.

And, speaking of Cedar Point, I agree it is probably the Number 1 theme park in the World, and always has been! It's been several years since I have been there, but I have been there several times in my life, and it was always a great experience.

Thanks again for the excellent travelogue!!

-- Railroad Rich

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Amtrak288
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Railroad Rich and Chris, Thanks for your comments!!! Yes, food from the Golden Arches is quick, convenient and cheap, important when I'm on a trip like this that's no doubt very expensive!!!

As far as the photos go, I color correct them using Adobe Photoshop CS6, and trust me, it's a very daunting task when it comes to the number of photos that need to be color-corrected, then saved as Photoshop .PSD files, then the ones that make it in the travelogue, get converted to JPEG's for use on the web! I'm trying to go for "Ektachrome in digital" in terms of the slightly cooler color temperature and saturation of the photos which are hallmarks of Ektachrome Slide Film which Kodak no longer makes but was the film I used for years before I finally broke down and went digital in 2008!

As far as the Coast Starlight routing, I was under the impression that it was the same routing but if I'm wrong I will correct that portion of the travelogue. Maybe someone here can chime in on the exact routing of both trains.

As far as Cedar Point goes, it is my second home! I worked there in 2001 and have been going there 22 straight years! I can't get enough of that place, and I love taking Amtrak there every year. My first Amtrak trip back in July 1996 was to Sandusky to go to Cedar Point and I took one photo of the coach I rode in and never wrote a travelogue about that trip. Looking back, I wished I had done so!

I hope more people will comment on the travelogue!!! Thanks for viewing!!!

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RRRICH
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Geno -- I'll be riding the CS southbound this summer on my trip (PDX to SBA), so I will "field check" the route between OKJ and SJC, and hopefully finally solve this routing dilemma which has plagued me for many years!! I do know that back in the 70's when I first began riding AMTRAK, the CS used the route along the bay (NOT the current Capitol Corridor route)

I haven't used film for pictures for many years!!! I have a pretty good digital camera now though -- I can also take still pix with my JVC Everio camcorder, but, as I said above, they generally don't come out well. I have one Adobe Photoshop program which I use now and then, but it's not nearly as high tech as what you are using for color correction.

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ChrisJ
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I have a northbound GPS log of the Starlight from Sept. 2011 that shows it hanging a right at Newark, then a left at Fremont, then north past Hayward & San Leandro (east of 880).
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RR4me
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Geno, I will check out your travelogue this afternoon. Always enjoy your stories - the enthusiam of the writing coupled with the great pictures make it very pleasurabel to read.
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RRRICH
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Chris -- that sounds like the Capitol Corridor route, so maybe the CS does follow the same route as the Capital Corridor now. I know it didn't previously, but nevertheless, I too will check it out on my trip this summer.
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HopefulRailUser
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Very impressive report and great photos. Thanks so much!

--------------------
Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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smitty195
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Great report, Geno! I'm glad we could enjoy dinner together on the Wine Train. That was lots of fun! You are hardcore----very impressive!

BTW, as far as the routing between San Jose and Oakland, I have never fully understood it but I do know that there are two routes that you can take. The "Mulford" line, or the "Niles" line (I think I have the names right). I think the Niles line is the one that the Capitols always take, so that they can hit their stop in Fremont. However, when the Coast Starlight #14 comes through nightly, I will often hear the dispatcher ask the engineer, "Which route do you want tonight---Mulford or Niles?". Oftentimes, the engineer is qualified on both territories, so they will pick and choose whichever one they want (I think Mulford is faster). But if the engineer is only qualified on one of those two routes, then they will take the route of qualification.

Someone once explained it to me a little bit better, but I believe that's the gist of it. So yes, it is entirely possible for someone to be a passenger on the Coast Starlight and take a completely different route from San Jose to Oakland. As Chris G. said above, his train took a right at Newark---that's the Niles line. If they would have gone straight, then that's the Mulford line. Six of one, half a dozen of the other (with Mulford being a bit quicker).

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Amtrak288
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Thank You everyone for your comments. Riding cross-country on Amtrak is awesome and is something I look forward to every year. I'm hoping next year's (now this year's) big trip will be even bigger than last year's but I haven't booked it yet! Smitty195, thanks for riding with me on one of the Wine Trains! One thing I need to look at investing in is a better camera flash as I would have gotten more photos looking out the end of the platform car on the dinner train had I had more light to work with since those photos were all taken at night.
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fixj
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Geno, the photos are spectacular as is the entire site! Many thanks. One question about the night photos. Can you tell us how you take them?
Thanks, Jim

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DonNadeau
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Haven't been contributing much due to a wrist operation (went well), but wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your travelogues--every year.

--------------------
@DonNadeau

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