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Wednesday, November 26, 2003

03-11-26 CLASSIC PHOTOS: MORRIS and RiverLINE Testing

Morrisville, PA is a great place to catch action on the NEC. Best known for the stone arch Delaware River bridge, it also boasts MORRIS interlocking complete with all the PRR accoutrements such as overhead catenary, position light signals, a flying junction and an interlocking tower. The right of way cuts straight through town with many good sight lines from public locations so back in 2003 I teamed up with Chuchubob to stop by Morrisville and some additional points of interest in New Jersey as part of our traditional pre-Thanksgiving NEC outing. If you are interested in the full set of photos you can find them here.

MORRIS tower, in built in 1941, replacing an earlier structure that controlled a 4-track full crossover and junction with the Trenton Cut-Off that allowed east-west through freights to bypass the congested Philadelphia terminal area. The tower contained a 47-lever US&S Model 14 interlocking machine. After being closed in the late 1980's, it now serves as a S&C crew base.

In 2003 a few of the late model AEM-7's were still wearing their Phase III paint, line #950 shown here passing through MORRIS interlocking. Ordered in the late 80's along with SEPTA's units to supplement the fleet and replace losses from the Chase, MD wreck, the newest AEM-7's were never rebuilt and thus were ultimately the first to be retired. 

SEPTA Silverliner IV #288 passes through MORRIS interlocking without stopping at the long since defunct Morrisville Station that used to stand at this point. This R7 train had originated from Trenton just a few minutes before.

AEM-7AC #940 is in the Phase V paint as it rumbles through MORRIS interlocking just moments from a station stop at Trenton.

Before NJT built its Morrisville Yard, the only traffic on this side of the Delaware River Bridge was Amtrak, SEPTA R7 trains and the occasional Atlantic City Line deadhead movements. Here an outbound R7 bracketed by SL-IV's #350 and #299 passes through MORRIS on track #1.

Hippo HHP-8's like #650 here were still new to the scene in 2003. Unfortunately they would be retired less than 15 years later in the interests of fleet uniformity.

Track workers were aout and aboot as MORRIS interlocking had its turnouts replaced with the panel variety using movable point frogs. Here AEM-7AC #918 passes by the watchman.

Monday, October 13, 2003

03-10-13 PHOTOS: Last Redbird Trip

Well this little gem from my archive should be a real crowd pleaser. Back in 2003, the MTA had already disposed of its classic Redbird fleet on the main line portion of the IRT, leaving only venerable (7) line with their slightly updated "World's Fair" R36 models that were purchased in anticipation of the unsanctioned 1964 Worlds Fair. As more and more of the bland, monotonous R142s were delivered, R62's were displaced from a number of main line services to in turn retire the holdout R36's. As the number of Redbirds continued to dwindle, I made a special trip up from Baltimore in the fall of 2003 in order to get one last ride before they were gone for good. Accompanying me was still active Subchatter, Spider Pig.

You can find the full set of photos here.

Back in 2003, the MARC service HHP-8's were brand new. 15 years later they are circling the drain, just like the Redbirds were after 40 years of service. Here #4913 hangs out at Baltimore Penn Station's track 5.

The brightly colored GP40-2WH's, like #56 seen here, have also been displaced by newer MP36PJ-3C's.

MARC AEM-7's like #4901 seen here, have also disappeared from service, despite having been supposedly refurbished just a few years ago. They will be replaced by diesel power because clean energy and all that.

At least the new NJT ALP-46's and Comet V's have not yet been replaced like the HHP-8's. #4614 and #6033 seen here at Hamilton, NJ.

One problem with Riding the WF Redbirds late in their career was that they only made appearances during the peak periods. Throughout the rest of the day it was all R62's. Imagine the irony when 13 years later it would be all one could do to catch R62's in place of the newly arrived R142/188's. These photos were taken of R62 local and express trains at Woodside. Note the all-day express service and still active 65th St. interlocking and tower.

In this view of Sunnyside Yard you might notice three ALP-46 hauled Amtrak Clocker trainsets. The ALP-46's displaced the Amtrak E60's and then Amtrak turned the slots over to NJT entirely since 90% of the traffic originated in Trenton.

Behind the REA building on the Sunnyside engine tracks, an NJT push-pull set comprised of Arrow IIM cars sits next to an Amtrak Regional trainset hauled by AEM-7AC #919.

 The sad state of affairs at the Corona Ready Yard with only a single Redbird trainset in the lineup :-(

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".