Distance travelled: 959 miles (Chicago to New York, via Rochester)
Journey Duration: 21 hours
States travelled through: Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New York
My final train journey gave me mixed feelings, knowing that I would soon be going home but also seeing a little bit more of the US. I’d loved everything I’d seen so far, and the Lake Shore train promised more fantastic scenery.
This was a predominately night-time train, scheduled to leave to Chicago at 9.30pm. I used the time before departure to wander around the beautiful Union station building.
I got on the train and went straight to sleep, waking up only when the dawn light was starting to filter through the train curtains. The first stop in daylight was Cleveland, Ohio – since the scene of a very emotionally charged Republican Convention. But in the morning sunrise colours, it looked tranquil.
I got off in Rochester, where a good friend lives – the friend whose wedding I attended in 2011 and which made me want to explore more of the States. She has a family now and it was great to spend time with them all.
As I was becoming used to with Amtrak, the journey from Rochester to New York City became delayed but this turned out to work in my favour. I totally missed happy hour in New York, but passed by the lakes just as the sun was setting. If the train had been on time, I’d have been too early for it (though being drunk in a New York bar would have been a happy alternative).
For the last half hour of the journey, I followed the path of the train as it crossed the Hudson river into Manhattan and into both the final destination and mine – Penn station. I picked up my suitcase, got a cab to my hotel and then went to the nearest bar for a gin martini. It went down very well.