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Sunday, October 4, 2009

09-10-04 PHOTOS: Downeaster Durham

Last October I attended a Wedding in New Hampshire and I was pleased to discover that the venue would be in walking distance of the Amtrak Downeaster station at Durham, NH. For those of you who don't know this is the station that serves the University of New Hampshire's flagship campus. I also met up with a friend who lives in the area and he was gracious enough to provide me a ride to the Downeaster station in nearby Dover, NH. I guess you can see where my focus was at one of my best friends' wedding. d.d b.b

Um, not much to really explain here. You can see the whole set of photos here and let's begin.

I will begin with the station at Durham. Years ago when the Boston and Maine ended passenger service the station building was eventually purchased by UNH or a related interest and turned it into a Dairy Bar for students in the vicinity of the athletic fields. When the Downeaster service was restored a small partition was added to house the QuikTrak machine. Frankly I see a lot of synegery in being able to order both Amtrak tickets and frozen snack treats from the same window.

The station still had a few nifty flourished such as a slate roof, copper trim and a classic train order semaphore signal.

NEPRA was cleverly able to save money on station construction by using the highway overpass as shelter the mini-high platform from rain.

If you noticed the Clear signal two photos ago that means a train is approaching the station as otherwise it would be dark. In this case I did indeed time my visit to coincide with a northbound Downeaster arrival. Here Amtrak P42 #25 pulls in at the end of a standard trainset.

In order to avoid interfering with wide freight loads the high level platforms had to be set back from the train by a foot or two. This requires the use of special bridge plates. Here the conductor checks his watch before giving the signal to depart.

The train departed with Cabbage Car #90214 bringing up the rear.

Here is a video of that departure and the train knocking down the MP 429 automatic.

Unlike the controversial 115lb rail the Downeaster project did end up upgrading the signals along this part of the line. While always bi-directional the new signals used LED target type color lights to replace the old GRS model SA searchlight signals. The signals use a triangle of modular units and can be seen elsewhere on the NEC.

Here we have the 249-1 automatic signal close up still displaying Stop and Proceed until the Amtrak train leaves the block in front of it at which point it will go dark again.

Moving back to the previous day we come to Dover, HN. Unlike Durham, this town is much larger and can support an Amtrak station without the need for a large college campus. Unlike Durham the station at Dover was rebuilt new for the service and also serves as a multi-modal transportation center.

The platform follows the same model as the other Downeaster stations having both high and low level components. You can see here the amount of offset for the high level portion and also the presence of low level bits on either side of the mini-high.

Directly east of the station is controlled point CPF-244 on the Guilford Rail System's Freight Main Line (that's its name) between Mechanicsville, NY and Brunswick, Maine (approximately), via Lowell and Ayre. This is a holdout signal for movements making flat switching movements into and out of the small yard about 1/2 mile to the east. Like the other signals this one is also approach lit and provides timely warning of approaching trains as it did in this case for another eastbound Downeaster. Also note the Delay in Block rule signal due to the push-pull operation and lack of cab signals.

As the westbound signal is neither a distant nor displays its lower head is an interesting version of the GRA model SA searchlight, chopped down to eliminate the moving filter element inside. The eastbound signal has two searchlight elements as it displays Approach Medium for the diverging movement into the controlled siding at the yard.

Of course the train soon arrived once again pulled by P42 #25.

Off-peak trains only open up one door on the high level platform to deal with any ADA or baggage issues. Peak trains will often open one additional car on the low level platform. Here we see one of the volunteer(?) train guides (old guy with ID badge) helping passengers board the train. These "guides" work both the train and the stations to help with customer service functions. A similar system is used by Vermont for its station agents.

While cabbage cars are attached I am unsure if they can be used by passengers with large amounts of baggage. The Cabbage cars used on the Downeaster service are decked out with the Downeaster logo.

Cabbage car #90214 again brought up the rear as the train cleared the controlled point, the signal now displaying Stop.

Well that's pretty much it for this set. Next time stay tuned for a tour of THORN interlocking and/or a trip to Georgia on Amtrak's Crescent.

1 comment:

  1. What is the origin of "Cabbage Car" for the rear engine?