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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.

Friday, July 11, 2003

03-07-11 CLASSIC PHOTOS: NYC Subway Bronx Trip

In my early years as a railfan I had a somewhat different focus than I do now because I could still find excitement just getting out and riding new lines as opposed to getting out to document something before it is thrown onto the scrap pile. Combined with the limited amount of storage available for camera I wound up riding more and taking fewer photos. Oh, that's the other thing. Without a 9 to 5 job and free time during breaks in school, riding more was something that was still something I could do.

In July, 2003 I decided to take a trip to New York City from Philly in order to catch a (2) train to the end of the line at Wakefield – 241st Street. Since there was no RiverLINE I had to go via SEPTA, which saved a little time, but cost quite a bit more money. To fill the remainder of the day I popped over to Hoboken for a quick ride on the HBLR's surface route through Jersey City before returning via the PATH.

You can find the full set of remastered photos right here.

Starting at 30th St Station an HLCX powered train trundled by on the High Line as Circa Center construction was getting under way. If you are doing the "things that aren't here any more drinking game" take a drink for HHP-8's, Amtrak express cars and SD40-2 led road freights.

SEPTA had closed its interlocking towers a few months before and the communications bugs were still being worked out. This time nobody bothered to call ZOO to tell him that the R7 was running on track 4 instead of track 3 and we wound up being mis-routed down the Harrisburg Line. Fortunately we got stopped at the 64R signal and were treated to a trip over the K-ladder and Berry track after the Train Director at ZOO ran time.

This train was likely the last revenue movement over the #2 Berry track that was taken out of service shortly thereafter and eventually ripped out about 10 years later. The Berry tracks were used by freight trains running over the High Line in the PRR era.

Enemy R142 at the Simpson St curve on the (2) (5).

(7) Signed Redbirds sitting in the E. 180th St yard for some reason.

The 6R signal at E. 180TH ST interlocking.

R142 test train at Mosholu Parkway on the (4)

The set included car #1211.

West 4th St tower.

NJT Comet III cab car #5010 with Arrow III #1516 sitting behind at Hoboken Terminal.

Pair of Comet I cab cars #5108 and #5128 at Hoboken Terminal.

The new HLBR Hoboken Light Rail station.