One bite from this radioactive squirrel and I'll have a new recruit for my army of zombie railfans...
I sure picked a hell of a day to stop drinking...
What do you mean the Silverliner V test train took our slot??
Ooh, once again my underwear has become tangled in a cow-catcher...
You've gotta stop that charter train!! If it hits the bridge with the steel eating ivy everyone will be killed!!
Where's the train going? I thought this was a photo stop.
No pictures! I told my girlfriend I had to attend a funeral!
With these pictures nothing will be able to stop our terrorist attack.
What do you mean the train's broken and we have to switch to a new one?
If CSX doesn't move the bulldozer off the tracks soon this trip will be over!!
Everybody hurry up and use the bathroom. We'll only be in the relay track for a few minutes until the next R3 arrives...
And now the conclusion....
Well we pick our charter up at West Trenton where an hour had been budgeted for lunch and a bathroom stop. The train had relayed on Track 2 next to TRENT tower so that the next local train could lay up on track 1 allowing the charter to pull out and stay ahead of it for a nice express run. Here we see Vince standing in the cab of replacement Silverliner II #252.
Because SEPTA trains do not have bathroom, the single stall in TRENT tower had to make do for the entire group. TRENT tower is currently used as a crew room for the R3 service and despite having closed as an interlocking station in 1994 it retains most of its old US&S CTC console which controlled this and other area interlockings.
It's always amazing how minimalist the S-IIs are. The roofs of Modern EMUs are always covered with all sorts of cutouts for the HVAC and humps for electric equipment. Here we see the B end of 9009 coupled up to fellow palindrome car 252.
Here we can see the SEPTA conductor waiting by his equipment off in the distance next to the SEPTA West Trenton Yard. The dwarf signal on track one has already been displayed for the next R3 local to journey up the single track from CP-WOOD.
The reverse direction dwarf signal on track #1 is displaying a Medium Approach indication, R/*Y*. It is displaying this over a non-diverging route because under NORAC there is no dwarf aspect for plain Approach so Medium Approach must do for all situations.
Later the signal upgraded to Approach Limited which meant the CSX dispatcher in Albany had cleared the signal at CP-WING to give the approaching SEPTA local a better shot through the interlocking. Like Medium Approach this normally two headed indication was displayed on the dwarfs single "head".
Now after the local came we were all expecting for our charter train to pull out, re-board everyone and then depart back for center city. Unfortunately due to our delay with the broken train and all people were still in the bathroom and the local had to depart first. Not a big deal, but then due to a shift change at 1234 Market the new Desk 2 dispatcher forgot about it and cleared a CSX freight train through after the local. YARG!! In this busy pic we can see the charter group lining up for a photo of the CSX freight passing the Silverliner IIs, in the far background you can see the R3 local departing towards Center City and then the westbound signal for CP-TRENT displaying a Restricting for the freight.
The photo line grew as the signal upgraded to approach. The freight train had long since appeared and was coasting/waiting for its signal and some people wanted me to get out of the way. As far as I was concerned they had their backs to the real action :-P
The ordeal was not yet over because now we had to wait for ANOTHER R3 train to pull in before our train could be release. This consisted of the 157-158 SL-IV pair.
Here we see the train taking the signal at CP-TRENT and pulling up on track 1 to reverse.
After he pulled past the switch was thrown...
And our train pulled out to re-board everyone.
The cause of the single tracking was a pair of grade crossings between Yardly and CP-WOOD. Here we see some sort of MoW machine at the Heacock Rd crossing.
I should mention that the fall colors were really putting on a show, like here at CP-WOOD.
Another CSX freight, long distance this time, was passed approaching an Approach signal at CP-WOODBOURNE. This train had C40-8W #7910 up front pulling.
More fall colours on the SEPTA Neshaminy Line as it passes under the Penna Turnpike.
Passing the Jenkintown Substation. Unchanged since its construction in the 1930's.
Just because the trip was running about 2 hours late a number of weenies decided to get off at Jenkintown and catch the R3 local back into the city.
Our train continued on to Wayne Junction where it passed the new Static Inverter plant that supplied 25Hz AC tower to the entire Reading electrified zone.
SEPTA's historic fleet consists of a single Blueliner sitting outside of the Roberts Yard HVAC repair shed.
Pulling past WAYNE interlocking Vince changed ends and our train headed back north up the Chestnut Hill East branch. Here we are passing the now closed WAYNE tower.
Some of the best fall colors could be seen at the Washington Lane Station.
Gotta love that turret on the Gravers Lane Station.
Approaching Chestnut Hill East we were passed by an inbound R7 with SL-IV #387 on the rear.
Like the PRR Line to CHW, the Reading line also goes through a deep cut just before reaching its terminal. It's not called Chestnut Hill for nothing. What used to be a spring switch here has recently been converted into an interlocking named SPRING.
Reading Chestnut Hill East substation, also original.
Many 9000 series Reading SL-IIs still retain their original Reading classification, a holdover from the days when railroads would have locomotives either built in house or customized to their needs. While off the shelf rolling stock is common today, back in the day nobody thought to use the shelf brands and thus company assigned classes lived on. For the Reading the Silverliner IIs were class REB-13.
9009 pulled in on track #2, then reversed...
...and pulled back in on track #1 for another photo op.
This train with Sl-IVs 112 and 111 then became a prop for a staged photo shoot at the Mount Airy station.
More stunning fall colors at Washington Lane.
Rounding the sharp curve into the Germantown Station with the 259 automatic signal in the foreground.
Passing the Wayne electric backlot we find SL-IV single #276, SEPTA Genset #70, some SL-V cars and SEPTA pup #52.
In the forecourt was SEPTA lemon RL-1 #60 and the SL-V test trainset.
Passing back through WAYNE interlocking we cross the Roberts Yard lead diamonds and have a Medium Clear pulled up on the signal where the CHE tracks merge together into Main Line track #4.
Our train crosses over to express track #3 at the WAYNE doubleslip ladder and continues down the Reading trunk towards Center City. Here we see the #39 signal gantry south of HUNT interlocking. This whole route was re-signaled in the mid-1980s as part of the Railworks project and was converted from ABS operation to 4 bi-directional tracks with cab signals and frequent wayside gantries. The lowest lamps on the 39 signal are direction indicators for when trains are lined for Roberts Yard.
Air powered doubleslip switches at 16TH ST junction where the Norristown Line splits off.
Using a special time displacement device I managed to get both still and video of the same event. d.d b.b
To bookend the day I got another complete video of the Center City tunnel, this time from the Reading side to the PRR side. The video starts out with a side window shot of our train being passed by a pair of SL-IVs on track #2 before ducking back inside for the tunnel. There was a special stop at Market East for those making PATCO connections, which I edited out, and then the final mile to 30th St Station.
Of course with a shot like this of Center City bathed in the glow of a setting sun above the PRR Chinese Wall ramp to Suburban Station presented to me I had to cut the video a little short.
Well we have reached the end of our trip. Sure we were over an hour late which caused me to miss my Amtrak train, but I just booked another one. I urge you all to please check out the entire set of photos, which contains many wonderful shots of the CHE and West Trenton Lines, their stations and fall colours. The link is: http://acm.jhu.edu/~sthurmovik/Railpics/10-10-24_FAREWELL_II_THE_SILVERLINER_II/-Thumbnails-Part-2.html
Hope you liked it, stay tuned as I take flight and transport you all to the Big Easy for a drunken romp on the New Orleans streetcar system.