On Wednesday afternoon, I booked a ride online with the Super Shuttle from my house in Ashburn, Virginia to Washington Dulles International Airport. The cost for a party of two (my girlfriend and I) is $25 plus a $5 tip. The Super Shuttle arrives Thursday morning at 11:24 a.m. and takes us to the airport.
On past Amtrak trips, I have parked at either Union Station or Dulles Airport, but this time I decide to make the commute to D.C. using public (and private) transportation.
We arrive at Dulles at 11:46 a.m. and immediately board a Washington Flyer bus for the West Falls Church metro. Washington Flyer, which also operates all the cabs at the airport, charges $8 per person for the 20 minute ride to the metro station.
(If things go as planned, in the next 7 to 10 years, Washington’s Metro system will go all the way to Dulles Airport. There is talk that the route will go all the way to Ashburn, Virginia — in fast-growing Loudoun County — and the planned Metro station is actually less than a mile from my house.)
We arrive at the West Falls Church Metro station at 12:04 p.m. After purchasing our tickets for $2.35, we make our way to the platform. According to the neon sign, the next train is five minutes away.
At 12:16 p.m., the orange line train arrives, but we sit in the station for five minutes. According to an announcement on the public address system, the delay is due to the fact that only one track is open between West and East Falls Church.
At 12:27 p.m., the Metro goes underground and at 12:44 p.m., we reach Metro Center, where we transfer trains from the Orange line to the Red line. We arrive at Union Station at 12:53 and head to Club Acela to check in.
We are told Capitol Limited Train No. 3 is on time and boarding will begin around 3:25 p.m. for the 3:55 p.m. departure. My Verizon Wireless/Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 has poor reception – as is usually the case in the Washington, D.C. metro area – and I try my Netgear wireless card. This proves successful and I log on to the Internet, update my Blog and go to Amtrak’s Web site to check on the train status of the Capitol Limited for previous days.
Yesterday’s train arrived in Chicago 1:30 behind schedule. The day before it was 38 minutes late and the day before that it was 1:18 late. I check the status of today’s train and it is listed as being on schedule, which matches the information on the monitors in Club Acela. However, Amtrak’s Web site warns of delays on the Capitol Limited route and using the past three days as a barometer, we will probably be an hour late entering Chicago tomorrow.
That’s all for now. I’ll update the consist and the start of the Capitol Limited leg of the trip later.