Friday, June 19, 2009

Where I've Been

I've been out of the blogosphere for a while, thanks to changes in job. On May 30 I worked my last shift at Bloomington-Normal. Until July 6, when one of the South Bend ticket agents retires, I'm working Guaranteed Extra Board, based in South Bend, but also covering Indianapolis. And that's were I've been for most of the intervening time.

Amtrak isn't in the beautiful Romanesque Indianapolis Union Station, which is now part of the Crowne Plaza Hotel complex, but in a ground-level space shared with Greyhound. In the wee hours of the morning, it looks like something out of an Ashcan School painting, with all the gritty urban realism. I couldn't find a picture of the interior, but WikiMedia had a shot of the platform.

Unlike Illinois and Michigan, which have spent serious money on Amtrak service, Indiana is committed to the world of Fly-Drive. I can't even blame Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor, for my state's neglect of rail. The three previous Democratic governors weren't any better. So Indianapolis, with nearly a million people, has only the thrice-weekly Cardinal and the Hoosier State, which runs to and from Chicago on the four days the Chicago-Indy-New York Cardinal doesn't run. The westbound train leaves at 5:30 a.m. (normally 6:30, but while I'm working it's an hour earlier in order to allow for the CSX to work on the track) while the eastbound arrives at 11:50. My shift, starting at 11:00 p.m. and running through 7:00 a.m., covers both trains. I've pretty much adjusted to the hours, though it was tough staying awake the first week.

One more week (maybe two) of living out of a motel (thankfully, at Amtrak's expense), and I expect to be working out of South Bend and really living at home.

5 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I really have a hard time living out of a suitcase and staying at hotels. I always feel very lonely. Glad you are almost done.

Elizabeth said...

Glad you're back and looking forward to some more posts!

Peter said...

I'm sorry Indiana doesn't do much for train service. South Bend sounds like a great name for a railroad town . . .

We've elected our first railroad president in a long time, I think. I just hope we realize the savings in traffic, public and private expense, and the environment is worth the up-front costs.

But I'm glad you're getting a better location than you've had in the past and better hours than you've had in the recent past.

twoblueday said...

Good to see you posting again.

steve on the slow train said...

Thanks, all. Just another week in Indy and I'll be working South Bend permanently.