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Friday, April 16, 2010

10-04-16 VIDEOS: Blastin Down the Southern NEC

Alright I am posting a special video segment today because of a series of videos I took from the rear of an Amtrak Regional train between Philadelphia and Baltimore. The first of these is a 10 minute cut of the dash between PHIL interlocking just south of Philly and BELL interlocking just north of Wilmington. It's really worth watching the whole thing as my train is both meets several SEPTA R2 and Regional trains, but also overtakes a R2 as well.

Next we have a shorter segment taken between YARD and RAGAN interlockings just south of Wilmington. These will soon be reconfigured with Stimulus money making RAGAN a complete crossover, eliminating being YARD entirely and a third track being built between them.

Because my train was running so late we got caught by a southbound AX at Havre De Grace. Standard procedure is for the late Regional to be shunted into the middle track at GRACE and then wait at OAK interlocking to cross back over. To avoid delaying the AX we sat at AK for another 5 to 10 minutes. Due to the boredom I was a little late in starting the video, but I think I got enough :-)

Finally we were back on the move south crossing over at OAK interlocking from track 3 to 4 over the only crossover at OAK which also happens to still have its pneumatic point machines. Just listen to our train pick up speed as its signals clear due to the AX quickly clearing the block ahead. Also OAK used to be much more complex and you can still see the original catenary run over turnouts that no longer exist.

Anyway, enjoy and next week look out for some pictures taken on National Train Day 2010.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

10-04-15 PHOTOS: Spring Cleanup

Spring is always my off season for Railfnaning due to the rainy weather and lack of paid holidays. However in 2010 I did manage to accumulate a number of photos over the course of the season and because they didn't really have a consistent narrative I have thrown them into a sort of cleanup batch. The photos consist of some CSX action in downtown Baltimore, a smattering of WMATA pics and a few SEPTA pics taken around 30th St Station.

You can see the entire set here:

We begin with a Baltimore Metro Budd car at the Oweings Mills terminal. Is it just me or do people find transit systems that don't post train numbers on the front or quarter post really irritating?

DC Metro Rohr car #1055 with an Air Conditioned #3027.

It appears that those stupid Metro escalators are good for something...time lapse photography.

Alstom Car #6025 at Greenbelt.

Cutting to downtown Baltimore, a short distance from the stadium complex we find at the Leadenhall St grade crossing on the east leg of Bailey's Wye that while the old school crossing cantilever masts have been replaced, the CPL's remain.

Somehow I failed to notice that the dwarf signal was displaying a Slow Clear for a movement routed off the Locust Point Branch.

So I was pleasantly surprised when a lite engine move headed by SD40-2 #8091 showed up.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

10-04-04 PHOTOS: ACL Cab Ride

Last April I realized that I hadn't been down to Atlantic City via the Atlantic City Line since 2002 so maybe it was about time I made an effort. Therefore I contacted Chuchubob and en route to an Easter related family gathering my plan to to travel with Bob from 30th St to Atalantic City, catch the departure of an ACES train, and then catch the next westbound ACL train to Lindenwold. Well our plan began to go awry when our eastbound ACL train was hit with massive delays forcing us to bail out at Absecon-Pleasantville in order to ensure we could catch both the ACES train and following ACL train.

Well after the ACES train passed and the northbound local arrived I was hoping that I would be able to get a reverse railfan view as it is standard practice for the crews to leave the rear interior door open. The problem is that ACL crews also believe that taking photos is illegal so I was bracing myself for some sort of nasty confrontation. Much to my surprise not only did the C/R on that particular trip not try to physically block my camera like a target of a 60 Minutes investigation, but suggested I could get better shots from the rear cab. Coincidentally he had never heard of the union hall Internet forums. I could have ridden all the way back to 30th St there, but alas I had an Easter dinner waiting and could not extend my trip :-(

Anyway the full set of photos is here and they mostly consist of a full line documentation. Some of you may find pictures of every signal and most of the bridges and grade crossings on the line between Absecon and Lindenwold, but I know that many of my readers have an allergic reaction to high concentrations of signal photos so I'll just hit some of the highlights here.

Here we see NJT Geep #4219 in push mode with my highly delayed eastbound train.

The new Abseason station was built atop the old PRSL Absecon-Pleasantville station which was constructed during the 1930's as part of a grade crossing elimination project in the area. The project elevated several miles of the high speed main line through the downtown Absecon. Unfortunately with the ACL's budget conscious construction techniques the original station was barely utilized. If you look eastward you can still see the remains of the original platforms on the road overpass.

After botching three other photos of the ACES train I finally managed a good one with ALP-44 #4409 being dragged west in a zoom shot.

Here we see NJT Geep #4201 pulling west adjacent to the old platform stubs as it enters Absecon station.

The trailing cab car was #5016. Here is a view of its Wabso EPIC style brake controller. Let's hope it doesn't FAIL.

Electric locomotive controls? They think of everything!

We pulled into the Pomona Siding to be passed by a southbound train. The ACL was built as a single track with passing sidings in the most literal sense of the word. Instead of short sections (2-4 mile) of double track, it was literally built with the barest bones of passing points like a single width mountain road. These are all a mile or less in length and lack any intermediate blocks. Even when trains are spot on time the schedule will have you waiting in the siding until you are passed by your opposite. No rolling meets here.

All the sidings also come with these nifty little emergency transfer boards as the lack of any two track stations means that all rescue operations will have to take place at a siding.

NJT Geep 4203 (hmm, I'm noticing a pattern here) soon showed up pushing its train southbound. Comet IV cab car #5020 was leading, but I didn't get a very good picture.