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Thursday, November 23, 2006

06-11-23 PHOTOS: SMS Thanksgiving 2006

This batch of photos represents a milestone in the history of Jersey Mike's railroad photography. No, it's not setting some backlog record (yes, I know it 2 months late), but these are the last batch of photos taken by my old Olympus C-3020 3.2 MP digital camera with 3x optical zoom. This camera has my primary tool for documenting and sharing my railfan experiences with the world for almost 5 years. It's replacement is another Olympus, a UZ-something with 7.1 MP and 10x optical zoom. Oddly enough my new camera cost $100 less than my original one. Let's hope I can get the same sort of superior service I came to expect from the old one.

Today I am featuring photos from what has become an annual tradition, a trip with Chuchubob to the SMS shortline in Morrisville, PA. The SMS switches cars in the Penn Warner industrial park using a Baldwin S-12 dating from 1953. SMS runs other switching services in South Jersey and operates the largest fleet of Baldwin locomotives in the country. S-12 #301 replaces an older DRS-4-4-1000 dating from 1949 in 2005 so this was my second ride on #301.

While normally the crew doesn't have any work to do on the day before thanksgiving, today we lucked out and not only did they have to do some spotting of cars at the various local industries, they even went up to the NS interchange to pick up/drop off cars from the Morrisville yard there.

After picking up some tank cars chuchu and I rode in the cab as they delivered the cars to some industry where we were educated in how strong the sloshing effect can be in half-filled talk cars.

Time was running short so we left SMS and got some breakfast at the Treetop Diner, before taking the Penna turnpike to the NS Abrams yard. From there we proceeded to the Wayne station to pick up a friend of mine and them we sent by the Stafford R5 station for some pics of the station and of a SEPTA train that went by.

You can find the whole batch of photos at:

As always a brief photo tour.

Here is SMS S-12 #301 at a crossing.

NS GP38-2 #5280 passing the SMS interchange.

NJT hi-railers stringing overhead wire on a new segment of Morrisville NJT Yard.

NS C40-9W #9029 running elephant style delivering the cars for SMS interchange.

8800hp for 3 cars. The NS transfer move paused between the DED-HCD-HBD.

Throwing the switch to pick up the cars.

Coupler shot of #301 hauling a boxcar.

 #301 handling a boxcar from the rear.

Leaving the SMS and driving down the Pennsylvania Turnpike we find the Earnest Junction field switch right off to the side. This is the "junction" of 132kv 25Hz single phase circuts for the Amtrak/PRR electrification. Two run west to the Main Line at Glendale, two run south along the Norristown line and the Ivy ridge branch to ZOO and one (now out of service) ran to Morrisville PA along the Trenton Cuttoff. Since ths 44kv lines on the Paoli Line were decommissioned this is the way that hydro power from Safe Harbour dam get to the busy part of the NEC. Amtrak had the option to buy the single circuit along the cuttoff, but they declined and Conrail cut down the poles.

CP-NORRIS, east end of Abrahms yard.

Stafford Station. Fully restored from its fire a few years back.

SEPTA R5 train with SL-IV #285 at the station.

155 pound/yard PRR Special jointed rail covered in traction goop.

 After getting back to Baltimore I was sure to catch the annual spectacle of Amtrak's Holiday Extras.  If was all hands on deck with even Metroliner cab cars pressed into service.

MARC HHP-8 #4910 is still tied up for the weekend on the storage track.

Ah, here is the main attraction.  An 8 car train of NJT Arrow III's with #1459 on point.

#1433 was on the rear as an Amtrak conductor stands watch.

Train of Arrow III's waiting to depart on track #7 at Baltimore Penn Station.

Well that's it, hope you enjoyed the show.

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