Search This Blog

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.

Walking a block to the south on 58th St we come upon the NEC and SEPTA Airport Line bridge. From the bridge one gets a great view of the northbound home signal gantry for PHIL interlocking with the B&O truss bridge serving as a backdrop .

4 times an hour an inbound or outbound SEPTA R1 Airport train will pass by on its own dedicated track. PHIL interlocking replaced the older BRILL interlocking on the same location and was designed to allow the then new Airport Line service to reach the Airport Line from the SEPTA Suburban tracks without conflicting with NEC Amtrak trains. Still, PHIL interlocking is maintained and dispatched by Amtrak even though R1 trains run solely on SEPTA territory except for PHIL interlocking. Here an inbound R1 train with Silverliner IV 111 and 112 on point.

A few minutes later we were greeted by outbound Airport train with Silverliner IV #136.

Of course the full range of Amtrak NEC services pass through PHIL including this southbound Regional train led by HHP-8 #661.

While watching the northbound home signal at PHIL I observed the 2N signal upgrade from Stop to Approach Limited as the Section 4 dispatcher set the signal at PHIL, but before the Section 5 dispatcher lined the route at PENN. There is an intermediate signal at ARSENAL tower which creates short signal blocks so a Stop at PENN would provoke an Approach at Arsenal and then Approach Limited at PHILL.

I should also mention that PHILL interlocking is one of only 2.5 interlockings on the NEC proper that is still equipped with all Amber PRR position lights. The reason is that it was installed new in the early 1980's right before Amtrak decided to colourize their PLs after the Chase wreck and there has just been never a reason to alter something that didn't need upgrading otherwise.

Following the Regional was an Amtrak MoW train of concrete ties being pulled by Amtrak MoW GP38s #720 and 721 along with EMD GP15D #577, which is one of only 10 GP15D's ever produced.

The MoW train consisted of a pair of Cafe cars and a number of TLM capable concrete tie cars.

R2 SEPTA trains to Wilmington/Marcus Hook trains also pass by this point. Here an R2 with S-IV #358 heads south on track #4. Note the 2N signal is now displaying a Clear indication.

And sure enough Acela express power car #2006 appears on the scene to take the signal at PHIL. Power car #2037 was pushing from the rear. 

Well after an AX I felt satisfied with the NEC so we walked down to Elmwood where we saw Rt 36 K-Car #9035.

If you walk through the grounds of Bartram's Garden down to the Schuylkill River you will come to the old B&O/CSX Philly Sub drawbridge with the fairly modern, yet still closed RG Tower sitting across the river.

Here, in addition to the eastbound CPL mast signal that guards the still movable movable bridge we find an oddly specific permanent speed restriction of 19mph. This smacks of some city ordinance restricting trains on the line from running 20mph or higher.

CSX EASTWICK interlocking is where single track caused by the Arsenal connecting track diversion between here and 58TH ST is restored to double track and also where the Conrail Chester Secondary track hooks into the main for local freight service based out of the CSX South Philly yard. Here we see the eastbound CPL mast on the main track and dwarf signal off the Chester Secondary. Far in the background you can see the Arsenal connector heading off to the right. Love the color on that super green grass.

With the morning activities behind us we went back into the city, had lunch with Alex and Amanda and then headed up to North Philadelphia station where the old North Philadelphia tower is still standing, but its name boards have been removed.

The 3W signal was pulled up on the famous 6 track gantry and we weren't to be disappointed when a southbound regional showed up with a pair of HHP-8's on point and a crazy engineer plastered to the front window.

Moving over to the other platform I was in time to catch a southbound R7 train with SL-IV #161 in the lead.

 The parade of HHP-8's continues with #659 on the front of a Long Distance train a heritage baggage car, two Viewliners and a heritage dining car on the front.

The 1E and 2E signals at CLEARFIELD were both displayin Clear so we were going to be in for some northbound action to add to the parade of southbound trains we had previously enjoyed. First up was a Keystone train on track 1 with Metroliner cab car #9643.

And AEM-7 #919 providing power from the rear.

Shortly after on track #2 is another Northbound Acela Express with power car 2012 and 2013.

The day was completed by a trip out on the MFL to the new Millbourne Station where we found M-4 car #1211 departing toward Center City.

Well there we go. Next time stay tuned for yet another trip to the Rainbow Apple, San Francisco.

No comments:

Post a Comment