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Thursday, September 1, 2011

11-09-01 PHOTOS: Boston Blue Line

Ever since the new Siemens Blue Line cars arrived a few years ago I have been trying to get out and ride them for more than a stop or two downtown. Well this year on a trip up to New Hampshire I had some extra time making my connection between North and South stations and so I decided to head out on a trip to Reveah Beach (as I wasn't sure if Wonderland still dumped outbound riders outside of fare control. Anyway, after that I caught an MBTA train up to Haverhill to visit my friend up at Portsmouth, NH and later returned to Boston via a Downeaster which gave me an additional opportunity to take some photos at North Station.

This trip took place only a few days after Hurricane Irene flooded out the NEC at Trenton so I have some photos of what that looked like only hours after service was restored. Like always you can find the full set of photos located here.

For all of you who remember, SEPTA made the mistake of leaving some equipment at the Trenton Station where it proceeded to get flooded out by several feet of water. Managers at SEPTA claimed not to be able to have predicted that the flooding would have taken place, but as you can see by the spray painted markings on the retaining wall they had two previous instances of flooding to learn from, one in 1975 and Hurricane Floyd in 1999.

Fortunately FAIR interlocking is still equipped with pneumatic point machines which can be quickly brought back to service following a flood.

Here we see the stranded SEPTA Bomber set with AEM-7 #2005 after their good soaking. The good news was that the loss of this equipment prolonged the life of many Silverliner II and III sets.

C&S workers were inside FAIR interlocking mucking it out.

Moving on to New Haven we find Amtrak P40 #843 now in Shore Line East service.

In a bit of irony the old Penn Central branding is slowly returning to the New Haven Wheel Mill as the paint used to blank out the PC bits is fading faster than the PC paint it was meant to cover up.

Getting off the Regional train at South Station we find HHP-8 #664 standing along side MBB cab car #1507.

I found it rather hard to take pictures outbound on the Blue Line due to a stretcher blocking the view out the front second level railfan windows, however once at Reveah Beach there were no such restrictions. Here we see 0737 arriving with an inbound train.

#0768 was bringing up the rear of the same train.

Due to its ABS signaling the Blue Line retains a number of non-interlocked, trailing point crossovers protected by GRS supplied electrically locked hand throw point machines.

In this view from the mezzanine we see #0715 departing the station over the hand throw crossover.

View from the inside of car 0791 which has a generally unobstructed view out the front/rear. It also allows a ver good view of the operator's compartment.

Using that rear window I was able to take pictures like this of 0744 at Suffolk Downs.

And 0713 at Orient Heights.

I got off at Orient Heights as it is where the Blue Line yard is located with the associated yard access tracks and the control center for the line in the old interlocking tower.

The inbound platform at Orient Heights also had a dispatchers office which itself included an old full line model board. This had been replaced by a pair of LCD screens showing the location of every train.

Blue line car #0742 departing Orient Heights.

As the line is still worked through traditional ABS signaling with trip stops, Orient Heights is one of the few interlockings along the line. Here we see the 4W signal displaying an Approach aspect over the facing point power operated crossover west of the station.

After finishing up with the Blue Line I found myself at Back Bay station where I got a video of B&A route train heading outbound with GP40MC #1127 on point.

Little taste of Baltimore was waiting for me at North Station with MARC unit #59 waiting to take an evening train out. Brought in to deal with a temporary equipment shortage, these MARC units have mostly been returned to the lessor.

The MTBA station at Haverhill was way too sodium-vapory for quality night photographs, so I mostly stuck to video. Haverhill Line trains turn at a newly built interlocking north of the station before pulling back in for the inbound trip. Today we had been wrong railing, but the crew insisted on making the back and forth move anyhow.

It returned about 10 or 15 minutes later with Comet style cab car #1641 in the lead.

With its headlights providing some white light here is a pic of cab car #1641 preparing to depart Haverhill.

And here we have the departure itself. GP40MC #1115 is providing power on today's train.

While visiting my friend I did manage to get out to document one interlocking, CPF-243, north of Dover, NH on the old Boston and Maine Line. Here we see a non-approach lit GRS model SA searchlight dwarf signal with integrated focusing as opposed to a Fresnel lens.

Amtrak Cabbage Car #90220 arriving at the Dover Station with a westbound Downeaster train.

Back at North Station was another MARC GP40WH-2, #61.

Amtrak P42 #73 had provided the power that day, shown here with MBTA F40PH #1006 in the background.

Also in North Station that day was GP40MC #1136.

On weekend the ratio of rail to boat traffic means that the twin drawbridges into North Station were constantly going up and down. Here we see them on the verge of closing.

Video of the same showing the rather prolonged procedure to lower the bridges carefully and lock the rails into place.

And I will end with this short video taken back in Trenton, NJ from my late night Amtrak train showing how the track circuit issues at FAIR interlocking had still not been resolved by the time I got back.

Anyway that's all for this installment. Tune in next week when I go looking for Silverliner II's on a Saturday.

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