When one lives in Ohio, any Amtrak train viewable during the day time is a cause for celebration. When the train features a heritage unit and 20 cars of Private Varnish, it’s not even comparable. On Sunday, the American Association of Private Railcar Owners left Chicago for their 38th Annual Convention. Known as the “Spirit of St. Louis, the special charter is travelling on a circuitous routing to St. Louis, stopping for tours in both Cincinnati and Louisville, Kentucky.
The Amtrak charter left Chicago Union Station just before daybreak. By Fort Wayne they were running 3 hours behind, but some time was made up on the speedway that is the NS New Castle Subdivision. We travelled up to Camden, OH to catch them at speed on the ex-PRR line.
A KCS-lead freight allowed us to get some practice shots in, but during the excitement we suffered a punctured tire. This lead to a brief detour, and we weren’t able to catch the train until after it had arrived in the Cincinnati area. All told, the special made it from Chicago to the Cincinnati suburbs in about 6 hours.
At CP Mill, the special was handed off from NS to a pilot crew from the Cincinnati Railway Company. Operating via their Indiana & Ohio passenger trackage rights, they took the train down the original route into Cincinnati, the ex-PRR Little Miami. Here the special went agonizingly slow, owing to a slow order and special instructions from host railroad Genesee & Wyoming. There was also some brief switching, as Cincinnati Railway’s ex-Nickel Plate GP30 added their own PV to the train at Undercliff Yard.
Once at the boathouse, the engines were fueled and the train serviced. The layover at Cincinnati includes a special tour of Cincinnati Union Terminal and an exclusive charter of the Cincinnati Dinner Train.
Below is an exclusive video we put together featuring pacing footage just south of Camden and a pair of slow-speed rollbys on the Oasis Subdivision.
The AAPRCO special leaves Cincinnati Tuesday morning at 5:00 AM. From there it will travel to Louisville and onward to their convention at St. Louis.