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Sunday, August 17, 2003

03-08-17 CLASSIC PHOTOS: Springfield Trip

I'm going to mix things up and throw up some classic photos of a trip I took through Springfield, MA back in 2003. This was part of a larger MBTA trip I was taking and involved a return trip to Middletown, CT via the Amtrak Inland Route, as opposed to the Shore Line connecting to an inland shuttle. I caught the early morning inland Regional train (I think it was #142) and then layed over for a headway at Springfield Union Station in order to take some pictures of the terminal complex.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to repeat the trip and just this past year a redevelopment project demolished much of the old Union Station including the classic B&A interlocking tower. You can find all the photos here.

We begin with a still new Acela Express power car #2003 waiting for its departure at South Station.

On and adjacent track was MTBA bi-level K-cab car #1717.

Former Conrail fainted C40-8W #7335 somewhere around Worcester. 

The full length inland route Regional train was unable to fully platform at Springfield Union Station with the two P42 engines and three cars hanging out in SPRING interlocking.

Amtrak Phase IV heritage painted P42 #105 sitting on one of the Springfield station tracks.

B&A Tower 96 with most of its copper roof and fittings still intact. Excluding this structure from the redevelopment plan was a colossal failure of imagination. A similar tower at Cincinnati's Union Station was turned into museum space. 

Hosing down Metroliner Cab Car #9640.

LMS C40-8W #7924 blasting westbound on B&A Main Track #2 with a merchandise freight. LMS stood for Locomotive Management Service and was a joint venture by Conrail and GE to operate a lease fleet of C40-8W locomotives although they were essentially normal Conrail power.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

03-08-16 CLASSIC PHOTOS: Boston MBTA Trip

Thanks to various personal contacts, Boston has been a perennial railfanning destination of mine going way back. During the summer of 2003 I had was taking advantage of a break in schooling to stuff as many railfan trips in as I could manage and a couple of these involved the original "Bay Area". The showpiece of this journey was a trip out to the end of the MBTA Fitchburg line and back as it is basically the Port Jervis Line of the (T). I also managed to capture the waning days of the Green Line elevated section before the opening of the North Station Superstation. I should probably have explored that more, but at the time digital media storage was still limited so I still had to conserve my shots. You can find the full set of photos here.

We begin with a close up of the upper floor of the PT&TRR's 'F' interlocking tower, located in Sunnyside, Queens. Not long after the tower was demolished for reasons unknown.

Speaking of Sunnyside, on this day, surviving Phase III Amtrak AEM-7's #949 and #950 were laying over attached to various trains. Additional things that aren't there anymore includes MHC express cars and a Phase III 4-door baggage car.

Former New Haven RR SS119, later renamed GROTON, standing on the east end of the Thames River in Groton, CT. This tower is still standing as of 2016.

SS165 at Attleboto is a rare surviving wooden tower and also contains a mechanical interlocking machine. It also still stands and will hopefully be preserved.

MBTA F40PH-2C #1066 passing the TOWER 1 signal gantry on an outbound run.

Yes, there was a time when Boston was home to elevated trains and trolleys. The last elevated segment was part of the Green Line as it snaked off the Charles River bridge, crossed in front of North Station and then went underground to Haymarket. Here are some photos of the Green Line North Station structure.

Here are a couple of Type 7 LRV's negotiating the El.

If you were wondering why the El was torn down, it had kind of been left to decay past the point of no return as seen here with Type 7 #3645.

Here we see the iconic North Station Charles River drawbridges with Tower A and some temporary "Big Dig" I-93 ramps in the background. Yeah, remember when the Big Dig was this thing that wouldn't end? XD

MBTA GP40MC's #1139 and #1131.

Monday, August 11, 2003

03-08-11 CLASSIC PHOTOS: 2003 SEPTA Mid-Summer Trip

In honor of the 16th SEPTA Mid-Winter Trip taking place this Tuesday, I wanted to post some classic photos from the first and so far only SEPTA Mid-Summer trip. At the time, many of the SubCHAT regulars were still in school and summer presented an opportunity to come on down and experience some weekday SEPTA service. The itinerary worked in typical Mid-Winter fashion with a mix of SEPTA transportation modes including the MFL, Rt 100 and Regional Rail. Chuchubob was along for the ride as the only "senior" member of the excursion, which actually became an important plot point that I'll let you discover below.

All of the photos can be found here

The first stop was the newly reconstructed Frankford Terminal. The old Bridge-Pratt station had only been retired about a month earlier and the NYC area fans were interested in the results. Here SEPTA M-IV car #1087 departs the new terminal as we approach from the south.

M-IV car #1139 sitting at the new terminal platform.

The 1918 Elevated structure was still in the process of being demolished.

While the east headhouse was demolished, the west headhouse was being rebuilt for future use. The entire Frankford Transportation Center concept, including new trackless trolley and bus terminals, was still under construction.

SEPTA Comet cab car #2402 laying over at Suburban Station for its afternoon run back to the Suburbs. 

SEPTA M-IV car #1036 pulling out of 69th St terminal to head up and around the loop for a return trip to Frankford Terminal.

M-IV car #1056 arrives at the head of another 69th St train (making all stops).

Monday, July 21, 2003

03-07-21 CLASSIC PHOTOS: MFL Bridge St Last Day

Back in 2003, SEPTA was in the process of replacing the last piece of its un-rebuilt elevated structure on the Frankford section of the Market-Frankford Line that dated from 1918. While a harbinger of the total replacement of the Market St elevated just a few years later, at the time the replacement of the old "Bridge-Pratt Station" with the new "Frankford Transportation Center" represented the replacement of a station with charm and character with a bland piece of purely functional transit engineering. As is now common, the work would involve a shutdown period in which the old station approach would be removed and new beams installed to connect the new station. The good news was that because I was off school for the summer, I had the opportunity to take part in the closing festivities, scheduled for a Friday evening after the bulk of commuters had returned home.

Much like the last ride of the Silverliner II's and III's nearly a decade later, the last day at Bridge Street, July 25th, 2003, had a strange pseudo-fan trip quality about it. The station was fully in service, but was crawling with both railfans, history buffs and anyone else even remotely tapped into the nostalgic aspects of the situation. SEPTA employees were more the accommodating, a welcome change in the anti-photographer period that followed 9/11.

You can find the photos from the last day here. Some additional photos taken a few days before can also be found here.

Of course some things do manage to stay the same. Here we see the 1896 vintage SHORE interlocking tower s seen from the MFL line.

Here we see M-IV car #1126 on the 1980's rebuilt portion of the Frankford El. Unlike the later Market St reconstruction, the Frankford Portion had a new desk placed on the 1918 steel supports. The track utilizes direct-fixation techniques.

Here we see M-IV #1095 departing the terminal interlocking. The Bridge-Pratt station, built on Bridge St, just where it curved off Frankford Ave, was left in its 1918 state during the 1980's reconstruction and you can see the ballasted roadbed and other classic features, including a bizarre switch-diamond mashup one would never get away with today.

On track 1 we can can see this direct comparison between the old and the new on the final day of service. The two stations were built so close that they are literally touching. The Bridge St station was built on the street due to a bus/trolley facility that is now occupied by the new Frankford Transportation Center. Note that items on the old island platform are already starting to be removed.

View along the track 2 gauntlet a few days earlier. MFL trains would discharge onto the side-wall platform, then board from the center platform. Despite this, there was no forced exit from fare control as there is at 69th St.

The anticipated replacement had led to deferred maintenance as evidenced by the thriving green ecosystem. Four days later, any salvageable hardware would be marked with green paint.

Bridge-St's claim to fame was that this token booth briefly appeared in the 1980's Eddie Murphy film "Trading Places".

Saturday, July 19, 2003

03-07-19 CLASSIC PHOTOS: Port Jervis Trip

Before the age of formal Informal Railfan Trips, trips still happened, they were just fewer in number and not as well organized. Even the old Subtalk was known to get into the action and one such that trip organized in the summer of 2003 had the ambitious plan to go to Port Jervis and back on a weekend.

Port Jervis is always a tempting target for a railfan trip, but with 2_ hour travel times in each direction combined with spotty service frequencies, it is easy to get in over one's head. In this case everything was fine until the return trip where the brakes locked on an old CNJ vintage GP40P, which had to be set out and delayed us by an hour or more. Even returning express via the main line didn't do much to aid in our timelyness and we arrived at Hoboken well past the portal arrival and also well after the sun had set.

Because all of the "adventure" took place after daylight hours and before digital cameras had large memory capacity or native video, this photo set will cover all of the more "typical" railfan stuff that took place earlier that day.

We begin with a pair of Arrow III MU trains headed inbound and outbound at Hamilton, NJ with #1412 and #1377. Remember when NJT used to use MU's on it's electrified services? Crazy right?!

Amtrak left the lights on at MIDWAY interlocking. It also looks like I got lucky with a forward railfan view on an NJT train. Unfortunately with only 96 shots available on each card and a paltry 3x zoom, I couldn't take advantage of it.

Transfer to PATH at Newark and head out across the DOCK drawbridge. This was only 2 years after 9/11, but you can see what I thought of PATH's photo ban. 

SRS Doodlebug #149 was hanging out in Hudson yard. I believe that HUDSON Tower was still open.

PATH was still recovering from a land slide that had taken place the previous June.

PATH Journal Square yard complex.

 Arriving at Hoboken I found NJT and MNRR GP40PH-2's #4137 and 4190 sitting side by side.

The interior of Hoboken Terminal had just been renovated.

Hanging out on one of the outdoor tracks was an Arrow III Gladstone train with #1314.

Under the train shed the aluminum body of Comet I cab car #5128 was showing through the white paint.

#5000 Class car of the currently stored Comet III fleet was also waiting quietly at Hoboken.

Here Comet 1 cab car #5110 sits next to Metro North Comet IA cab car #919. This would be the car that the group would eventually ride to Port Jervis in.

#5000 wasn't the only special car at Hoboken. The lead car of the entire Comet coach family, #5100, was also there posing for photographs. #5100 was built by Pullman in 1970.