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Monday, December 28, 2009

09-12-28 PHOTOS: SEPTA Mid-Winter Trip IX

One advantage to being about 11 months behind in photo processing is that the pictures from the previous years' SEPTA Mid-Winter trip can act as a promotion for the current year's trip (Dec 27th @ the SEPTA Market East Station, 8:55 AM). Anyway the 9th Annual SEPTA Mid-Winter trip was one of the more successful trips with excellent weather, a fantastic turnout and lots of great action. It was also the first ever trip to include a Trackless Trolley and also the first trip where a sizable portion of the attendees actually missed a connection (more on that later).

You can see a Google Map of the trip route here and at 63 miles this is one of the shorter Mid-Winter trips. This was because instead of traveling long distances I decided to include a pair of extended photo stops on the Regional Rail in the hopes of catching some Silverliner IIs and IIIs. While we were to be a bit disappointed on that front it was still a great trip.

You can view the entire set of photos in chronological order here:

The Trip started off with a little informal event. I was looking for a way to get some front end video on a PATCO Express run without getting bitched at by the operator. The solution was to involve team play where strategically placed railfans should block the view of the operator with a newspaper allowing the railfan with the camera to shoot unmolested. That part of the plan worked like a charm, but unfortunately PATCO had canceled all of its express services in the week between Christmas and New Year. Anyway, here is the result, a video of a standard local run between Woodcrest and Haddonfield through a very dirty window.

So while PATCO was a bit of a bust the official trip began with a Regional Rail ride to Jenkintown where we would hang out for a bit to photograph the parade of RRD trains passing through the busy junction there. While out on the 4-track Reading trunk line I began to take some photos out the front window before opting to get some video through 16th St junction as we paced another RR train. Unfortunately an asshole trainee in hanging out in the front cab had other ideas.

See why I might be a little hostile to the "concerns" of SEPTA crews about half-width cabs on the S-Vs?

JENKIN interlocking at Jenkintown is the junction between the SEPTA Main Line (R's 1,2 and 5) and the Neshaminy Line (R3). Even though it was recently rebuilt and outfitted with useless Metro North style signals. Here is our R5 train, jerk crew and all, departing Jenkintown taking the left hand route on a Cab Speed signal.

JENKIN tower still stands and there is more than ehough hot SEPTA MU action. One can consider Jenkintown as the Mineola or South Norwalk of the SEPTA system.

As the former movable point diamond was replaced by a pair of turnouts just about the only interesting bit of signaling left at JENKIN is this twin mast of Safetran Unilens solid state searchlight signals needed to fit under the platform canopy.

Jenkintown could also be considered the Metro Park of the Reading, providing an important Suburban stop for its premier Philadelphia to New York train, The Crusader. As such the station was fitted with full length covered platforms, a handsome granite station building, and convenient facilities for drop off and pick up. BTW can you spot the railfans in this photo?

There was some weird single tracking going on on the R3 so here we see SEPTA S-IV #170 arriving inbound on the wrong platform.

 Front view of JENKIN tower. The tower had its top floor replaced around 1990, but had probably been closed as an active tower sometime before then. It's functions were transfered to the WIND panel in WAYNE tower.

SEPTA S-IV #446 brings up the rear on an outbound R2 train. About 2 miles up the Main Line it will diverge at CARMEL interlocking onto the Warminster Line.

Here S-IV #452 brings up the rear of an R3 train running on the proper track outbound from Center City as it takes the right hand route at JENKIN.

SEPTA S-IV #294 arrives from the Main Line with three SEPTA crew-members stuffed into the front cab.

SEPTA S-IV #128 then showed up next on the train we would need to take to Fern Rock. There was some sort of service disruption going on so these trains were pretty full. Of course the front cab had its usual compliment of three SEPTA crewmembers. Does anyone notice a pattern here?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

09-12-27 PHOTOS: Nostalgia PATH

Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Railfan, I ride it so you don't have to!

While the fate of the 2010 Nostalgia Train is still in flux I thought I might usher in the holiday season with a few photos from last years Nostalgia Train. After I had so much fun riding the 2008 train I returned in 2009 partly to complete a full set of videos of the shortened V route in the Southbound direction. I was also lucky enough to draw a set of the older cars on PATH both in and out of the city and yaddie yaddie yadda I have stills and video of the above ground segments.

Anyway, without further McAdoo you can find all of the Nostalgic photos here.

We begin on a classic PA-1/3 pulling out of Newark Penn Station. Early on a Sunday morning there were hardly any riders in the rear car who could might be in a position to object to someone taking photos out the back. Also, sitting in the real railfan seat there was, and I kid you not, a dude dressed in Wahhabi Islam garb (white robe, red checked head thinggie) with a long beard and reading a Koran. I figured that next to him even a railfan taking photos wouldn't look suspicious XD

Anyway, as we pulled out onto DOCK draw an inbound PA-1/3 trainset was pulling in.

Departing Harrison I noticed Amtrak has installed a brand new signal gantry for westbound trains into DOCK interlocking. It was not yet in service and it seems that Amtrak still can't gets its act together on the proper shape of the lower head backings for PRR type signals.

Caught an AEM-7 hauled regional passing under the signals for the newish REA interlocking.

A single unit PA-1/3 car was trundling around the Harrison yard under the care of a hostler.

The diamonds on the PATH main line that are interlocked as part of Amtrak's HUDSON interlocking. NJT #4303 sits patiently in Hudson Yard.

Moving onto the old PRR branch to Exchange Place we pass one of the PATH substations and the Karny pocket track with the NEC flyover in the background.

A CSX lashup was hanging out in the intermodal yard.

PATH is probably one of the last railroads to employ smashboards at its movable bridges. Here are the eastbound pair at the HACK movable bridge. 

And another set of old cars heading down the ramp to cross the Jersey flats.

That blue bridge cabin in HACK tower which controls not only this drawbridge, but the one next to it and several other nearby interlockings.

Rounding the curve through the west end of the Bergen Hill cut we pass yet another train of old cars.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

09-12-23 PHOTOS: PAOLI Snow

Last December the Northeast got a little preview of the massive blizzards that would paralyze it later in the next year. The December blizzard dumped a lot of snow, but it was mostly powder that mostly dissipated, but there was enough to give the region a nice coating of white for a week or so. This combined by my need to gain some more Amtrak Guest Reward points gave me the idea to take an Amtrak Keystone round trip between Philadelphia and Paoli (total cost $13) with a 1 Keystone Headway wait at Paoli where I could take photos of the interlocking, station and half hourly SEPTA action.

Later, still trying to round up some AGR points I took another trip out to Paoli to rendezvous with a friend to drive me south after Christmas. Again I got some pictures of the station and interlocking, but this time they were at night to offer a contract to my previous mid-day photos.

The full set can be viewed here.

So I caught a Septa RR train to 30th St where I would pick up the Keystone and I was surprised to get a S-II/III set consisting of S-III #225, Reading S-II # 9008 and S-III #229.

With some time to kill I went to the Circa Center garage and caught the inbound Keystone with Metroliner cab car #9643 on the point.

Arriving at Paoli Metroliner cab car #9651 had a Clear indication displayed on the 12L signal. Power was provided by AEM-7 #924.

The still active PAOLI interlocking tower (built 1896) provided a nice backdrop for the departing Keystone train. The snow covered rails on the center tracks shows just how much they are used.

 Expecting to just lark about taking pictures of the old PRR signals I was very surprised when a SEPTA Bomber set showed up on a deadhead move to the mantanence facility at Frazer. It was led by AEM-7 #2306.