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Friday, May 6, 2011

11-05-06 PHOTOS: R42 Round Trip

Ah the R42. The last product built by the St Louis Car Company that actually worked and star of the 1971 hit movie The French Connection. Once slated for retirement 50 of the 400 cars got a reprieve when the abysmal quality of the following St Louie produced R44's forced their early retirement. Today those final 50 escaped to the IND Eastern Division where they tend to work in the peak periods only. If you need a railfan window and if you can find them, maybe you too can ride, the R42.

Seeing as I don't live in the city the only way for me to get there in time is to take Amtrak into Newark, PATH it downtown then run to the J/Z at Fulton Street. Even with this plan the timing was going to be close as I would only be able to catch the last one or two R42 trainsets returning from their rush hour runs to Broad. Even if I was to catch them they would certainly pull back into East New York yard to wait their return to service for the evening peak.

I arrived at Fulton in what I believed was planet of time, but alas trainset after trainset of useless R160s passed by until I assumed that the morning was a wash and I might as well continue on in an inferior vehicle, de-training for the photos I needed.

To see what happened after that you can check out the full photo set posted right here, or keep reading below.

I was to meet Rich Green that day, who in usual fashion was running late, so instead of meeting downtown I just hopped off at Marcy Ave which was closer to where he would be coming from. Due to the Williamsburg Bridge and the HSBC bank dome its pretty hard not to take good pics at Marcy, even if they involve R160's, such as this westbound J train.

Headed my way on an M train was another train of of the new sterile beasts.

Trains stopping at Marcy get to have the motormen play tower operator using this punch box where they can choose a local or express routing.

Just as I was resigned to an entire day of mediocre subway fanning low and behold what trundles down the Willy B ramp, but a shiny train of retro sheek R42's on a K routing. I couldn't believe my eyes and I thanked god that Rich was late least I would have ended up on the previous R160 I had been riding.

 Once on board the front view was a bit disappointing due to both the position of the sun and a good layer of water droplet scuz. However it was far superior to the smear-o-vision on the R160's, one of which is seen here on an express J train headed westbound south of Mrytle Ave.

Everybody loves Myrtle Ave with its pair of single slip switches and diamond crossing.

Assuming I was now on the laast leg of the trip in this trainset I opted for some video out the front as that was impacted by the backlighting less. However as we approached Broadway Junction I noticed that my original R160 trainset was sitting on the middle track and we were to platform on the usual eastbound track.

In an absolutely startling turn of events, while staring at a Clear indication on the 356 signal I watched as the trainset that should have consisted of R42 pull into the yard, while my trainset, which should have been R160s was allowed to continue on towards the Jamaica Center.

To add insult to the R160 injury my R42 mockingly passed by it as it descended down the ramp to wait out that day's service in the yard.

Departing 121St St we passed through a work zone where the tracks and turnouts of the interlocking there were being updated with new rails and ties. We continued on approaching the LIRR main where an M-7 train was headed eastbound and then dove into the new tunnel segment on approach to Stuphin Blvd.

Of course we rode the R42 set all the way to Jamaica Center where Rich and I then decided to, what else, ride it back. Moreover the backlighting would no longer be a problem so I could go back to taking still photos. Here we are heading back through 121st St interlocking showing the switches under replacement.

Here we see an R160 trainset cresting the Montauk Line flyover.

El structure painting near 85th St.

Another eastbound R160 J set departing Cypress Hills.

 Here we see an R160 J train passing eastbound through the Crescent St interlocking.

On approach to Broadway Junction at Alabama Ave.

Clear indication on the 342 signal at the west end of Broadway Junction interlocking while an R160 trainset passes by.

Yawn...another R160 J train this time on the 3-track section at Gates Ave.

If you were wondering yes indeed there will be a Video post associated with this trip, but this one clip really stands out above the others. Here traveling from Kosciuszko St to Myrtle Ave our J train makes a perfect connection with an inbound M train. We take the center express track as the m train pulls into the side track on via the tight single slip switch from the Myrtle Ave El. It's a perfect meet and a perfect video shot. The sort of thing that is only possible with a railfan window.

After the morning's R42 round trip I had no reason to hang around to attempt to catch a similar trainset in the afternoon so after lunch I took a little SIR ride then decided to call it a day and head back to Newark Penn to catch the first outbound express. Of course this would involve another PATH trip and I was lucky enough to catch what turned out to be my last trip on a PA-1/4. Regulations be dammed I just had to make sure that this WTC to Exchange Place ride was preserved for posterity.

Unfortunately PATH got me into Newark just late enough so missed the connection with the NJT express by about 30 seconds. Forced to wait for the next one I snapped a few photos such as ALP-46 #4610.

And Amtrak AEM-7 #904.

Which was hauling a Keystone set with Budd Metroliner #9638 on the rear.

I'll finish things off with this shot of Vickers PATCO car #291 departing the Haddonfield station.

Stay tuned for a special video segment probably posted sometime tomorrow.

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