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Sunday, July 3, 2011

11-07-03 PHOTOS: West Philly B&O

On the July 4th Weekend in 2010 I embarked in an 11 mile walk around Philadelphia, railfanning and engaging in various July 4th related activities. Since that was so successful I decided last year to give it another go, this time with a railfan friend from Fox Chase as Chuchubob wasn't available. Unfortunately the weather was a bit gray, but since it wasn't raining I pressed on with the expedition, taking a Route 11 trolley to 58th Street and then walking down past the 58TH ST interlocking on the CSX Philly Sub, Amtrak. PHIL interlocking on the NEC and then the CSX Schuylkill River Bridge just past Bartram's Garden, finally returning via a Route 36 trolley to Center City.

After lunch the plan was to meet up with Subchatters Alex and Amanda and them go camp out at North Philadelphia station for a while until we got tired of the heat and humidity.

Anyway, you can see all of these photos by clicking this link (especially if you like B&O CPLs).

We begin our walk at the corner of 58th and Woodland with SEPTA K-Car #9089 on a Route 11.

While 58th St doesn't have any trolley tracks south of Woodland it does serve as a right of way for 600V DC feeder cables down to the trolley line along Elmwood.

Arriving at the 58th St grade crossing on the CSX Philly Sub my friend and I were lucky enough to be almost immediately treated to an eastbound CSX freight train headed up by AC4400 #49. Here we have a zoom view of #49 as it passes the eastbound CPL signals past the westbound PSR signs.

Closer view of #49 as it reaches the grade crossing.

The second train in the consist was another AC4400 #5119. Technically the train was leaving the Philly Sub at this point as a number of years ago what used to be track #1 was diverted as a straight route connection over to the Conrail Harrisburg Line at ARSENAL, so through trains on the Philly Sub must use #2 track.

The passage of the train provided an opportunity to catch the approach lit westbound CPL dwarf signals displaying an aspect.

A few hundred yards to the east is the old B&O truss bridge over the NEC, but we'll see more of this later.

58TH ST interlocking is located at Milepost 3 on the Philly Sub and consists of full crossover between the two main tracks.

The signals consist of 3 CPL dwarf units with 12 and 6 o'clock orbitals and one CPL past with both those and an extra 10 o'clock orbital. I am unsure what a train making back to back diverging moves on track #1 would get as the signal lacks an 8 o'clock orbital for Medium Approach Medium.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

11-07-02 PHOTOS: PRSL Artifacts

Well I am finally returning to me regularly scheduled programming with an informal railfan trip organized by the West Jersey Chapter NRHS that consisted of a driving tour around the former PRSL territory looking for interesting historical artifacts that have survived in the decades since their abandonment. Stops include Winslow Jct, Tuckahoe,Woodbine Jct. Vineland, Newfield and Glassboro. Of course I'm not usually one for taking pictures of overgrown rights of way or an odd tie poking out of the sand, but there were more than a few subjects of general interest available on the trip and my featured photos will focus on those.

You can locate the entire set of photos here at:

We start off at the Southern Railroad of New Jersey yard at Winslow Junction. Old Red and White CNJ painted GP-7 #100 was once the mainstay of SJRR operations, but today is buried deep in the storage track as newer power has come in to supplement it.

After demise of the OnTrack commuter rail line in Syracuse, NY, former NYS&W RDC unit #7 was purchased my the SJRRto facilitate some sort of passenger operations, which were put on hold after the death of the previous SJRR owner.

Here is a rare beast indeed. Former Providence and Worcester U18B #1801 is one of only a small handful of 1960's era "Universal Series" engines still remaining. GE's first cut into full sized diesel locomotives, the Universal Series were not as robust or reliable as the dominant EMD equipment of the same vintage and most were traded in for Dash 7 or Dash 8 units in the 70's and 80's. 

Of course the real motive power that the SJRR is renown for are late model Alcos, some in fact are so late that they were produced well after Also itself went bust by the Montreal Locomotive Works. Here is one such unit, an MLW M420 #3578 painted in CNJ red, which was a lisence built Alco Century Series model C420 with a 2000hp 251C engine

The former SJRR owner was a huge fan of the New York, Ontario and Western railroad and were we see another MLW century unit painted up as NYO&W #800.

The pair of SJRR F Units, which used to hold down the local assignment on the Salem Branch, are now stored deep in the power line collecting rust.

Also hanging out is one of a pair of SJRR GE 44-tonners. 

If you head several miles south of Winslow Junction there is a hot mix plant that still gets its stone shipments via rail. Just south of this location on a heavily overgrown siding are a pair of locomotives, one EMD, one Alco, heavily stripped and decaying away. One is former Amtrak CF7 #538, which is still painted in in Amtrak MofW grey. CF7's were former F7 cab units converted into hood style road switchers by the AFST railroad back in the day.

Here is a view of the electrical cabinet inside the generally stripped cab.

Valve train on top of the cylinder bank on #538's EMD 567 prime mover. With all that oil the engine still seems t be in pretty good condition and there is no reason that old 538 might not run again some day.

Hanging out with 538 is ALGX C420 #7221. This is an authentic Alco unit, not some MLW knockoff, but like 538 it was the victim of parts and scrap theft back in 2007 with the head covers and inspection ports being stolen off the 251 engine. Taction motor cables were also removed from both units.

Closeup view of the stripped 251C engine.

Skipping head to Tuckahoe, home of the Came May Seashore Lines, we find everybody's favourite wooden interlocking tower with a pair of disc brake equipped passenger rail truck axles sitting around due to bad roller bearings.

Sitting on he CMSL power line we have former CNJ HEP equipped GP7 #1523, which was used in the CNJ's commuter operations before the GP40Ps were delivered.

Also in attendance are the pair of Lehigh Valley painted F Units along side PRR GP9 #7000.