Diary of a Portland Amtrak Outing
Friday 11 September 2015 — Category: Outings
For my 18th photo outing to Portland
during the past six months, I decided to take the train all the way from Albany.
The Amtrak station
is only three and a half miles from my house. And the cost wasn’t too spendy
— $42 round-trip. This was my first time on an Amtrak
train in more than 40 years!
As I was riding the rails between Albany and Portland, I had time to keep a diary of my adventures along the way.
- 5:45 The train leaves at 6:14 AM.
- The Amtrak Web site said to get here half an hour early,
but the station office / lobby doesn’t open until 8:00 AM! Sheesh!
- 6:15 The train is on time! I’m on my way!
- While waiting on the platform, outside the locked waiting room,
I talked to an old man who said he was 90.
He said he had been married to his first wife for 30 years,
to his second wife for 30 years,
and has had his current girlfriend for 20 years.
I guess he first got married when he was 10!!!
Or else he was cheating on his second wife for some years!
- 6:35 Between Turner and Salem our train hit a deer.
- It sounded like we ran over a whole bunch of rocks ...
maybe that was the hooves banging repeatedly on the undercarriage
as the deer barrel-rolled under the speeding train!
Then we stopped a bit south of Kuebler Blvd so the engineer could inspect the train.
I’m full of questions ...
Will we be bused from Salem?
How late will I arrive in Portland?
And most importantly, will venison be served in the dining car for breakfast?
- 6:45 Now it seems like they have shut the train down ...
- I bet they are going to screw us and put us all on buses ...
That will be a HUGE delay. Good thing I’m not in a hurry!
I wonder if the train is really that damaged, or if they are being ridiculously over-cautious?
I wonder if it was an innocent-bystander deer, or an on-purpose-terrorist deer?
- 7:05 We are finally on the move again!
- The train is supposed to arrive in Portland at 8:05.
The Amtrak app says it will be only 8 minutes late,
but seeing that we were stopped for a full 30 minutes, that seems very optimistic.
- 7:12 Arrived at the Salem Amtrak station.
- Amtrak app is now estimating 11 minute late arrival in Portland. We shall see!
- 7:14 Depart Salem, estimated 12 minutes late.
- Does this train stop anywhere else before Portland?
- 7:20 Overheard a conductor talking to another passenger.
- She said the sounds we heard were rocks being flung up as the deer bit the dust.
That sounds more likely than my hooves theory!
New estimate, 13 minutes late.
A passenger told the conductor that at least in an airplane you don’t have to worry about hitting a deer.
She retorted that trains are better, because when the engine stops,
you just have to sit still instead of worrying for your life!
- 7:35 Leaving Woodburn, no stop.
- 7:45 Canby, no stop. App estimates 15 minutes late.
- 7:57 Stopped at the Oregon City Amtrak station.
- Estimated 18 minutes late according to Amtrak app. Departed 7:59.
- 8:09 Rolling through eastern Milwaukie. Latest estimate, 21 minutes late.
- 8:10 Now alongside the new MAX Orange Line tracks!
- I’m going to the big grand opening party this coming Saturday.
Took a photo around here from the Springwater Corridor trail in May.
- 8:13 MAX Orange Line tracks split off towards the new Tilikum Crossing bridge.
- 8:17 Slowly crossing the Willamette River on the lower level of the Steel Bridge.
- Took nine photos on this bridge in April.
- 8:20 Arrive at Portland’s Union Station! 15 minutes late!
- Took a number of photos here earlier in the year.
After I had taken this photo of my train — with the Broadway Bridge
covered by a paint tent in the background — I made my way to the men’s room to refresh myself. This was the last restroom I might see for quite a number of hours.
I walked a block south to the Northwest 6th & Hoyt Street MAX Light Rail
station, which is just outside the Greyhound
bus station. This place has a bad reputation for drug dealers, prostitutes, the homeless, and other troubled characters.
In just a few moments I had another interesting encounter, which I wrote down after I had boarded a MAX Green Line
train heading towards the Gateway Transit Center.
The rest of my adventures in Portland that day are recounted in two separate articles:
- 8:45 While waiting outside the Greyhound station for a MAX train,
- a small black woman, probably in her 60s, asked me for a dollar.
I told her that I don’t give money, but that I would buy her some food.
I thought she would say no, but she agreed and led me a block or two to a small grocery store.
On they way she asked if I would buy her some cigarettes, but I said they weren’t very good to eat!
She replied, well it couldn’t hurt to try asking, and I agreed.
She picked out a soda, chips, and two pieces of chicken for $5.45.
I told her she could get more than that, but she said it was enough.
On the way back to the MAX stop she said that she would still really like a dollar (for cigarettes).
I good-humoredly told her that she would have to ask someone else.
I asked her name, and she replied Delores. I told her I was Brian.
She said she was very pleased to meet me, then held up her bag of food, and repeated, very pleased.
I felt quite comfortable and relaxed around her, and was gently joking with her,
partly to put her at easy, and partly to put myself at ease.
I was less comfortable with the shady characters hanging out by the Greyhound station.
Luckily the MAX Green train came within 5 minutes.
Now I’m on my way to the Gateway TC. There I have to change trains.
- 9:05 Arrived at Gateway TC. A Blue Line train heading east arrives in 5 minutes.
- 9:21 Arrived at the East 162nd Avenue station.
- This is the city limit border between Portland and Gresham.
Now it’s finally time for my six-mile walk west on Burnside Street to César E. Chávez Boulevard,
formerly known as East 39th Avenue ... only 123 blocks to go!