Savoring the beauty of NY shorelines on Amtrak

Destination: Chicago
The first leg of our journey across America begins.
We walked from the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal on 8th Avenue to NY Penn station at west 31st Street to board the Lake Shore Limited, the train that would take us to Chicago.
The noontime September sun was soothing and we enjoyed our walk to the hilt.
Earlier, we took a bus from our friend Suparno’s place in Caldwell, NJ. It took about 30 minutes to reach the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the main gateway for interstate buses into Manhattan in New York City.
The Lake Shore Limited is a train service which was operated by the New York Central Railroad between New York City and Chicago, Illinois, from 1897 to 1956. Separate sections linked to Boston and St. Louis. The Lake Shore Limited was the New York Central’s first luxury passenger train, and paved the way for its more famous cousin the 20th Century Limited. The 1897 name is now used by Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited, which follows much the same route

Rail tracks along the Hudson river

Amtrak customer service was incredible. As soon as we walked into the waiting lounge at the station, an Amtrak employee with red cap came up to us. “Will you take the Lake Shore?” he asked. I was amazed by the way the guy came with a trolley and took our luggage. We followed him and he took us two levels down to the platform where we’d board the Lake Shore.
(Each passenger is allowed to bring two personal items, 25 lbs (12 kg) and 14 x 11 x 7 inches each, and two carry-on items, 50 lbs (23 kg) and 28 x 22 x 14 inches each, onboard. Make sure you have a tag with your name and address on all your bags.)
I got on board and stretched out in my reclining and cushy seat. Mine was an aisle seat.
The train left NY Penn Station at 3.45pm.

Sightseers’ lounge: lapping up the panoramic view

As the window seat beside mine was vacant, I pulled the curtain and peered out of the window. Wow! The train was running along the Hudson River—at times the rail tracks were just a few yards from the river. It was a jaw-dropping experience!


One of the many bridges across the Hudson

As the train left New York, I could see a number of metal bridges over the river. I was overwhelmed when the train rumbled over the mighty Mississippi.
I could also see hundreds of marshmallow clouds over the river as the train sped along the tracks, heading north into upstate New York. Meanwhile, the last tendrils of daylight were letting go their grip. So I decided not to waste a single moment to savor Nature’s mesmerizing magic. I thanked the Almighty for giving me this opportunity to drink in the setting sun’s majestic beauty.


Watching the setting sun from the Lake Shore’s lounge

I ambled down the aisle and saw the sightseers’ lounge which enables passengers to take a 360-degree look at the breathtaking view of the passing landscape.
Later I asked a lady attendant about Wi-Fi connection when I failed to get connected. She pleaded helplessness. I later found that the Wi-Fi worked only in the dining car. Amtrak does offer Wi-Fi on selected routes, but the Lake Shore Limited is not one of those routes.
The local T-Mobile SIM that Suparno had got me in Caldwell, New Jersey to stay connected worked only when the train chugged into an important station.
The Lake Shore will cover 1543km in 19 hours through Boston, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Cleveland, Waterloo, South Bend and it will travel through some of the breathtaking shorelines from New York to Chicago.


Waterloo station: architectural marvel

We’ll travel along the south shore of Lake Michigan, the Mohawk River, and the Erie Canal, following a famous Native American Highway. In New York State, we’ll pass through the Finger Lakes region to Albany, capital of the Empire State.
(To be continued)

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