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Saturday, October 8, 2016

16-10-08 PHOTOS: Hudson Line Signals

This year for my Columbus Day road trip I stayed on the east side of the Hudson River, then went north a bit up the former New York Central main line until I had passed CP-75 and entered what is now Amtrak territory. Because of the change of ownership, it is likely only a matter of time before many of the classic NY Central signaling elements are replaced so I wanted to try and get my photos in before that happens. Thanks to Alex and Amanda for providing transportation on this road trip. Some of their photos and videos are included in this set. Speaking of which, you can find the full set of photos here

The Hyde Park station is located 79 miles from GCT and 361 miles from BCT. It basically served one family, the Roosevelts, who compound was just a little ways up the road. Today the station has been preserved as a rail history museum and stands just shy of the MP 79 signal bridge.

Two miles to the north, what Amtrak Empire Service Train #281 hauled by Amtrak P32AC-DM #703, the Northbound Adirondack, passes under the classic NY Central intermediate signal bridge at Milepost 81. Also, a quick note.

I've always wondered why the station at Rhinecliff, NY is so darn nice. It's not a large city and doesn't seem especially affluent. Was the Central just that wealthy to overbuild it's stations or did some railroad executive live nearby? Anyway, the station offered baggage services, has an ornate waiting room and has a concourse that once led to two island platforms (now one).

Someone might want to call Amtrak, because I think I found all their missing step stools. 

Here we catch eastbound Empire service train #238 hauled by P32AC-DM #700.

From the south passenger walkway here is #700 with Train 238, ready to depart Rhinecliff.

And off it goes, throwing off loads of deep throated audio in the process.

A few minutes later Amtrak P32AC-DM #708 passed through CP-89, just north Rhinecliff, the with westbound Empire train #233.

Friday, October 7, 2016

16-10-07 PHOTOS: Whitlock Ave and GCT

In pursuit of my ultimate goal of trying to get some video from the front of a Harlem Line M3 set I wound up with some time to kill so I took a quick trip up the (6) train to Whitlock Ave to get some photos of the Bronx River viaduct and the adjacent signals on the Amtrak Hellgate Line. Then I wandered about GCT until it was time for my Harlem Line train to depart. You can find the full set of photos here, starting about halfway down.

We begin with an inbound (6) Train at Whitlock Ave led by R62 #1745.

In front of the Pellham Bay Line viaduct over the Bronx River is the former New Haven Railroad Westchester Ave station. Currently abandoned, it may see renewed use with plans to send MNRR trains to Penn Station. 

Outbound 6 train heading over the bridge with R62 #1720 in the trailing position.

The inbound 6 local train I decided to take back to Grand Central was led by R62 #2025.


For the 2016 Columbus Day weekend I scheduled a Friday in NYC to head out into LIRR territory to get some photos of NASSAU interlocking in Mineola before any of the third track proposals ruined it. Also included is a brief stopover at Jamaica and the start of my trip in the Croton/Pleasantville area of Westchester. This trip also involved an attempt to ride a set of M3's on the Harlem Line, which ended up only being only partly successful photo and video wise, but I'll cover that in a part 2.

You can view all the LIRR, Harlem Line and GCT photos here.

Arriving at Croton-Harmon I caught an M7A set heading into the yard in front of HM tower.

It took a while for an M3 set to arrive at Pleasantville, so I amused myself getting photos and videos of the passing M7's and non-stopping diesel trainsets. When an M3 finally did arrive, the engineer kept the cab door open so he could chat up a pretty lady sitting in the opposite seat. From the conversation I suspect that both were married. #Shameless

Anyway Here southbound MNRR Harlem Line train passes through the station with CDoT Shoreliner IV Cab Car #6221 and MNRR P32AC-DM #224 on the rear. This train ran local from Waissac to Brewster North, then express to GCT.

My main line train to Mineola sitting on Penn Station Track #20 with LIRR M7 #7560.

This was located directly across from the old 'C' interlocking tower, with vintage 1911 signals hanging all over the place.

Replacement signal bridges going up at HAROLD interlocking as part of the LIRR One Seat Ride project. 

My train departing Mineola eastbound past NASSAU tower with LIRR M7 #7003.

LIRR M7 #7248 stopping at Mineola westbound.

NASSAU tower from the rear. Originally fitted with a mechanical lever frame, NASSAU has most recently been updated with a modern N-X panel and controls the main line between QUEENS and DIVIDE, as well as the Oyster Bay branch.

Westbound Oyster Bay train rounding the slow speed curve into the flat junction in front of the tower, with C-3 cab car #5003 and DM30 #500.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

16-09-18 PHOTOS: NYC Medieval Faire

Back in September, New York City held its annual Medieval Festival in Ft Tryon Park at the upper end of Manhattan. I was invited up by a friend so I used the opportunity to grab a smattering of photos along the (A)/(C) line and around Penn Station. You can find all the photos here.

We start at 125th St on the (A)/(C) where I was looking to transfer to an (A) train after riding a (C) train express from 59th due to a GO. While I had had the poor luck to snag an R160 (C), I did see an R32 (C) across the platform.

R68 D trains were also puttering about.

Looking past the 404 signal towards the now closed 125th St interlocking tower. I think there was a service disruption because it took some time for an (A) train to show up.

The 181th St station is either located deep underground, or at street level, depending on one's point of view. It's "lower" entrance is quite the looker, while the station itself has a long mezzanine level worthy of the Blitz.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

16-09-11 PHOTOS: Middle Division East

Due to a re-signaling project on the venerable PRR Main Line in Pennsylvania, I declared a railfan emergency and set out with the guy who runs to document the line between Newport, PA and Lewistown, PA with intermediate stops at Thompsontown, Port Royal, Mifflin and Hawstone. I actually got very lucky that day spotting two heritage units and the usual parade of NS's EMD rich lashups and a private car on the rear of Amtrak Train 43.The downside was having to process over  1500 photos :-\ You can see them all right here.

Starting out at Enola Yard and diesel maintenance facility, we find NS SD70ACe #1183 sitting next to "to be rebuilt" UP SD90/43 #7287.

Here we see a trio (#7225, #7201 #7213) of NS SD70ACu's, what the SD90/43's are being rebuilt into, next to an un-rebuilt example, #7302.

The Enola backlot that day. I would later see some of these units hauling trains westbound on the main line.

New signals in place at CP-PORT, which I had visited earlier in the year. What really annoys me is the placement of the cantilever base within the 4-track right of way, precluding future expansion to 3 or 4 tracks! Note the 'C' boards as NS is taking advantage of the cab signal system to convert the line to Rule 562 operation. 

Even the PRR's pedestrian underpasses were of exceptional quality!

NS C44-9W #9525 and friends (SD70ACe #1095 and ES40DC #7514), passing the MP 142 intermediate at Thompsontown, PA. Looks like #1095 got hit by a paint bomb.

NS Wabash heritage unit #1070 passing the signals at CP-THOMPSON at the head of a 4-unit light engine movement. This lashup had been one of the ones spotted earlier at Enola and was now en-route to somewhere west. Other engines were SD70ACu #7319, Tier IV ES44AC #3610 and C40-9W #9131.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

16-09-01 PHOTOS: Downeaster Dome

Most years, Amtrak's sole remaining Great Dome car gets trotted out in the fall to provide leaf peepers with a better view on the Adirondack and (occasionally) Cardinal services. In 2016, NNEPRA, the governmental organization in charge of the Downeaster passenger service to Maine, hit upon the idea of booking the dome for a few weeks in August. One of the two trainsets would be equipped with the dome and it would be run on about half the weekday and weekend trains. As luck would have it, my annual Labour Day Boston trip involves a Dwneaster journey to New Hampshire, so the only action I had to take was moving back my departure from 5pm to 5:45pm.

If you didn't peek ahead and see all the photos last week, the full set is right here.

Former Great Northern dome car #10031 was one of 6 Great Dome cars ordered by the Great Northern in 1953 to upgrade service on the Empire Builder. It is currently the last dome car on the Amtrak roster, last seeing regular service on the single level version of the Auto Train.

Prior to my trains departure from Boston North Station, a strange Amtrak train consisting of P42DC #205 and a sister sandwiching a single Amfleet car was parked ahead of our trainset on the same track. It departed before ours was finished boarding and I still have no idea what was going on.

Our train was being hauled by Amtrak P42DC #140 and the dome car was placed behind the engine.

On the opposite train Rotem bi-level K-Kab-Car #1802 arrived at the head of an inbound MBTA commuter train.

Seating in the dome was at no extra cost and was first come first serve. The dome was open prior to departure and one did not need to maintain a seat in one of the regular coaches.

For anyone who has never ridden in Amtrak's Great Done, here's a video tour.

Speaking of video, I still had some space on my GoPro memory card so I found a way to rig it to the front of the dome to record a quasi railfan view of the Downeaster route between North Station and Haverhill. The first video includes the MBTA Lowell Line between North Station and the Anderson (Cooper) RTC. The second picks up from there and covers the Wildcat Branch as well as the Haverhill Line to just shy of the Bradford Station.

16-09-01 PHOTOS: Braintree

On my most recent trip to visit Boston, which took place over this past Labour Day Weekend, I found myself with an additional 45 minutes to kill on top of the usual 90-120 minute layover between the Regional arrival at Boston South Station and the Downeaster Departure from Boston North Station. This was because Amtrak's Great Dome was running on the Doneaster and because there is only one of them it was scheduled on the later 5:45 departing train instead of my usual connection of the 5pm departing train. Anyway I decided to use this bonus layover time to rectify a long running problem I had with the MBTA rapid transit network, mainly that I had never been to Braintree on the Red Line.

Now this wasn't because I had never ridden the Braintree Branch of the Red Line, because I had, but only as far as Quincy Adams. Back when I was in Boston more frequently, Wikipedia and smart phones had yet to exist and nobody I was with could tell me if trains arriving at Braintree dumped riders outside with no way to return for free. This was especially important information because the Braintree extension exit fare system was still in effect so getting dumped out a la Wonderland would result in not one but THREE additional fares to get back. This resulted in my choosing to exist at Quincy Adams on my one and only previous excursion down the line.

Visiting Braintree was also doubly important due to the impending replacement of the Classic Red Line rolling stock in favor of Chinese junk. You can find photos from the entire trip here.

The trip began in Baltimore with MARC HHP-8 #4911 still hanging on to life as it arrives with an early morning local train.

My Regional Train 172 was running to schedule and we met a southbound counterpart at Wilmington with ACS-86 #922.

Temporary signals at HAROLD interlocking as it is rebuilt for ESA.

PRR Position light signal bridge at HAROLD.

Additional signs of "progress". 

Providence and Worcester GP38 #2010 hangs out with Amtrak P42DCs #100 and #104 and GP38H-3 #522 at the New Haven motor storage yard.

Metroliner Cab Car #9640 was attached to a Springfield Shuttle trainset.

Amtrak P42DC #108 was shuffling around before or after a power change.

At Boston South Station I caught an Acela Express trainset with sequential power cars, #2012 and #2013.

To escape the heat underground, I hopped an Ashmont train to JFK-UMASS where I caught an outbound MBTA train on the Old Colony with F40PH-2C #1065.