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Saturday, August 30, 2008

08-08-30 PHOTOS: Schenectady Station

Last Labour Day I took another trip to visit my friend who was living in Schenectady, NY. On this trip I did a few non-railfanning activities like climbing to the top of Buck Mountain next to Lake George in the Adirondacks and also spending an afternoon at Saratoga Racetrack. And why I do have photos of Mountain scenery and non-Iron horses, most people reading this would be more interested in the walk I took around the Schenectady Amtrak Station

The station is situated on Amtrak's Hudson Line between the busy Albany station terminal complex and where CSX takes over MoW duties at CP-169. It consists of an island platform with interlockings on each end. CP-160 is the west end of a controlled siding that continues to CP-157 and also provides a link to the former Delaware and Hudson trackage currently used by the Adirondack, Ethan Allen and Saratoga terminating Empire trains. On the east end of the station is CP-159 which allows trains to continue on the main track past CP-157 yet still access the north side of the island platform and the D&H connector.

The Schenectady station is situated on the former 4-track right of way of the New York Central Main line and you can see the remains of the other island platform and bridge truss that served the other pair of tracks. Today the line is mostly single track between LAB tower in Albany and where the Selkirk freight bypass track joins the line at CP-169 in Hoffmans.

Even tho the route is dispatched by CSX, Amtrak maintains the line and is the priority user. The route is cab signaled all the way to CP-169 which keeps a lot of casual CSX through freight off of it. Strains stopping daily at the SDY station include 3 Empire round trips to Niagara Falls, the Maple Leaf to Tornoto, the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago, the Ethan Allen express to Rutland, the Adirondack to Montreal and possibly another Empire train to Saratoga although I think this train was cut back to Albany.

Alrighty, enough with the chit-chat and onto the photos.

Those who prefer self-guided tours can view the entire set here.

Let's start off with this picture I took of the now closed HUDSON tower at the old Manhattan Transfer location on Amtrak's NEC just past Newark Penn Station. Note the millage sign denoting the change in Millage from New York Sunnyside to Jersey City as a basis point. 

The station building consists of an Amshack (not pictures) at street level with stairs leading up to a correctly labeled low level island platform shown here. You can see some people waiting for the next Empire train.

The train soon arrived pulled by P32DM #719. it is interesting seeing Amtrak using its scarce dual mode locos to haul empire trains all the way out to Buffalo and back when it might be better to do a power change and put two P32's on the heavy LSL.

The train served to light up the signals at CP-160 before departing.

Friday, August 1, 2008

08-08-01 PHOTOS: San Jose VTA

I apologize for going nearly two months without a photo update, but my web hosting provider went down for about the last month and before that I was getting ready for my big Chicago trip. Anyway, my primary website is back online and its time for me to bite the bullet and do the write-up for my big trip to the 17th annual USENIX Security Symposium in San Jose, CA last August.

I used this trip to explore the VTA light rail system and the San Jose Amtrak/Caltrain station. Over the course of the week I rode 3 of the 4 legs of the VTA Light rail and also took a CalTrain trip to/from San Carlos and also inbound from Mt View after an outbound VTA trip.

It's fascinating how nice everyone is out in CA. When employees came up to me it was always to ask if I wanted to take pictures of something or where I could go to get a cab ride pass. For a moment I thought I had accidentally wound up in Canada!!

Might as well cut to the photos. You can see the entire set here. You can also keep reading to enjoy the cream that came off the top.

Starting off at the Diridon Station we see an Altamont Commuter Express train laying over next to a Caltrain set both headed by F40s (#911 and #3101). ACE trains have been running into congestion problems as they run through the Altamont pass with UP freight traffic.

Here is a closer view of F40PH-2C #3101.

At the south end of the station complex is CP-CAHILL where the line condenses down to a single track for the trip to Gillroy (Caltrain) and beyond (Coast Starlight). To the right an Amtrak California trainset headed by Am-Cal #2004 used in Capitol Corridor service is the only resident of the nearly empty Diridon Station yard which has been deprecated in favor of the new Caltrain Maintenance Facility about a mile up the tracks.

Here we have Caltrain F40PH-2CAT #901 departing under a clear signal at CP-JULIAN as it begins its trip north to San Francisco.

Check out this video of CP-JULIAN from the rear of an arriving CalTrain.

Caltrain uses fairly new gallery car equipment on most of its trains. Here is #4021 preparing to depart North with train #73.