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Saturday, July 12, 2008

08-07-12 PHOTOS: Trains, Planes and Streetcars

On a Saturday last July I decided to go pick up a friend from the airport by way of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. As that did not kill enough time I then went and waited with a friend on the glidepath of BWI Runway 10, just where it crosses the NEC to watch her plane land. By the end of the day I was able to fan light rail, heavy rail and aircraft. A fine example of sort of coordinated multimodel fanning that is possible in th 21st century.

 All of the photos can be found on this page. The most interesting of those and additional Youtube clips can be found below. 

Starting with the BSM they had most of the fleet out and running presenting a very colorful show that was very heavy on the yellow. Here we have PCC 7303, rebuilt single truck trolley #4533 and 1930's car #6119. (Dan Lawrence can fill in the details ;-) ) 

Recently puchased Philly PCC car #2168 has been re-guaged and is sitting on the new yard track in front of the museum. 

 The BSM's snow sweeper was also out on display.

  #4533 returns from a run passing under the CSX Philly line overpass. 

 Cab of #4533 at the end of the line with the old M&P roundhouse visible out th window. 

 BSM #4533 passes ex-PTC #2728 still on the Philly guage track in the BSM storage area. 

 Here's a video documenting the complete trip from the 28th St loop back to the carbarn. 


Friday, July 11, 2008

08-07-11 PHOTOS: Savage Interlocking

Last summer I was meeting a friend after work and I was able to pop around and take some pictures at Savage Interlocking on the CSX Capitol Sub on the old B&O Main Line between Baltimore and DC.

In addition to freight traffic this is the route of the MARC Camden Line service that runs in both directions in the morning and evening peak periods. The interlocking is a simply crossover, but features B&O CPL bracket mast signals at both ends. The signal on the south end is also the distant for the signals at PA Tower interlocking and so have the extra orbitals for Approach Medium and Medium Approach Medium.

As usual the set of photos can be seen here

Here are a sample of photos that should have some general interest appeal.

I arrived in time to see the tk2 northbound CPL displaying clear for the 4:45ish Camden Line train.

Shortly there after the train rolled through lead by MARC 61 and 56 running elephant style.

Bringing up the rear was 7753. The 4 car train was entirely single level.

Is that a solar eclipse? No, just a backlit CPL.

The southbound bracket was also pulled up, but the next scheduled southbound MARC train was expected outside my time horizon. Looks like they might need to get the tree trimmers out soon before the 1tk signal is completely overgrown.

Well that's it for this set. Thank god this line was re-signaled in the early 90's before CSX started putting Darth Vaders in :-(

Saturday, July 5, 2008

08-07-05 PHOTOS: Alburtus, Kempton and Mech Chunk

Wow, my photos no longer look out of date because I have nearly a year's backlog. Anyway, last 4th of July I went on a little expedition with professional railfan Chuchubob to the coal country of northeastern PA. We first stopped for lunch in Alburtis, PA at the Iron Horse Bar which was across the street from CP-ALBURTIS on the the NS Reading Line. Despite the name the bar had nothing railfan related inside and really didn't live up to expectations as it was more of a dive than quaint and definitely didn't have a mid to upscale clientele in mind.

CP-ALBURTIS was rebuilt in 2002 from its 1980's Conrail configuration. Fortunately the relay hut was given a Conrail type blue sign, but all of the other classic equipment was removed. Fortunately I was in town to photo document it before the defacement

CP-ALBURTIS is the junction with the C&S secondary which serves various industries like the Mack Truck factory. Back in the day the interlocking was much more rustic with lots of weeds, SA searchlights and interlocked hand operated switches. Today its all business with power switched and forced air snow melters.

Still, NS decided to keep the Reading Line Rule 251, which is becoming a real rarity these days.

We were lucky enough to catch a coal train as we waited for our lunch with NS SD70M #2622 and C40-9W #8918.

Next stop was the Wanamaker, Kempton & Southern steam tourist railroad in Kempton, PA. When we got there we caught their GE 45 ton diesel switcher pulling the tourist train at a railroad crossing.

Heading back to the main facility we saw the 0-6-0T steam switcher warming up to pull the next train.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

08-07-03 PHOTOS: Holmesburg Junction

No, it doesn't have anything to do with the famous detective, but last summer I was able to visit HOMLES tower in Holmesburg Junction Pennsylvania and took a number of photos there that I thought you might be interested in. If the format of this port is a little off it was because it was originally geared toward a British signaling site.

HOLMES is one of the typical late model Pennsylvania Railroad towers built from the mid 30's onward. It's its sisters up and down the Northeast Corridor between Philadelphia and New York it features all brick construction and no bay window, which was a PRR tower trademark until this time. HOLMES is interesting in that it was constructed as part of the station building, the station part is still serving in its intended function.

As you can see from its interlocking diagram HOLMES is a nearly complete 4-track crossover (later made complete) built in 1947, making it one of the last classic towers constructed on the NEC. In addition to serving as a crossover point it handled the junction with the industrial Bussleton Branch and a number goods tracks on either side of the main line. The PRR rebuilt most of the interlockings along the NEC in the 30's and 40's replacing older wooden towers, installing segments of bi-directional trackage and 45mph turnouts. HOLMES was equipped with a PRR standard 31 lever US&S model 14 power frame.

The tower remained open well into the Amtrak years and was able to handle bi-directional operation on the center express tracks and a training crossover between 2 and 3 tracks to complete the layout. Around 1993 HOLMES was finally closed and automated, although it retained a number of interesting features such as pneumatic switch machines and full gantries of complete US&S model PL-3 position light signals.

Today HOLMES is one of a dwindling number (2) of complete 4-track pneumatic crossover interlockings on the NEC and I my trip was to document it before Amtrak decided to ruin it as they had with HOOK back in 2007. So I got pictures of the air plaint and the air line and the model CP air value units for the points (one of which looks like it was taken from elsewhere as it has a #110 lever number cast into its top). The main line 45mph turnouts are each powered by two US&S model A-5 pneumatic point machines.

 The #45 turnout is subject to its own bulletin order after a box car got loose on the Bussleton branch and rolled through the interlocking and onto the unused #5 track. The order states that dispatchers must keep the 45# turnout lined for the 5tk until needed for a movement in order to have it function as a form of power derail and prevent runaways from getting lose onto the main line.

HOLMES has an interesting parking situation with a small number of spaces cramped right up against the Bustleton Branch, which cuts through the parking lot. N00b station users often park in or get sideswiped by local freight trains. 

The station provides an excellent place to take pictures of NEC passenger trains moving at full clip (125mph). On this trip I caught a Reagional hauled by HHP-8 #668...

...and and ACELA pulled by 2036.