Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

11-12-27 PHOTOS: SEPTA Mid-Winter Trip XI

Well this is clear evidence of the progress that is being made in clearing out by backlog of photos (despite an increase in production). I have managed to get the Mid-Winter trip pics out for viewing in under 6 months, and that's factoring in the additional delay between processing posting a writeup. This being said it is a shame that this year's trip was also somewhat marred by bad weather. While last year the culprit was a snow storm, this year it was plain old rain and clouds. This is actually the first time I can remember that the MWT was affected by rain. I guess it was bound to happen eventually.

Due to the impending retirement of the Silverliner II's and III's the focus of MWT XI was Regional Rail again. The trip started off with a run to Warminster via Glenside where there was about a 30 minute photo stop hoping to catch some inbound II's during the peak period. After Warminster the trip headed to Fern Rock for a BSS trip down to City Hall where a transfer would then be made to the MFL for a trip to 30th St Station. There the group stopped for Lunch before taking Amtrak's Keystone service out to Paoli, then an R5 back to Villanova, walking transfer to the Rt 100, which was taken out to Norristown before a final R6 run back downtown.

Sustained precipitation did not begin until Paoli, however the heavily overcast skies limited what could be done with photography so personally this became a video heavy trip. You can see all the photos that I did end up taking right here.

So, we're going to kick things off with a bang via this 6 minute video of our initial outbound R5 train heading north on the Reading main line between Temple University and Wayne Junction. What makes this fun is that our train was "racing" a deadhead move back to Roberts yard on the adjacent #2 track with SL-IV #140 on the rear. Deadhead is the operative term here as if you look closely you'll see the first SL-IV pair on the 4 car train has its pan dropped and is being pushed by the trailing pair. The race was marred by someone idiot scheduling a North Broad stop for our "premier service" R5 train. However a large backup of deadheads waiting to get into Roberts Yard at HUNTINGTON AVE interlocking made us victorious in the end.

Also note when a get a call from a friend warning me of a set of 4 SL-II's heading inbound he spotted at Fox Chase which then proceed to show up while I am still on the phone with him. Also note the Medium Approach signal being displayed to the next in line train at HUNTINGTON AVE to get into Robert's Yard. Remember to set the video to HD if it does not do so automatically.

The first photo stop was Glenside, which is sort of like Jenkintown only without the R3. Glenside was chosen over Jenkintown this year due to the Jenkentown photo stop on MWT IX and the generally poor sight lines in that station. Here we see our R5 train with SL-IV #341 about to take the signal at CARMEL interlocking.

Video of our train departing northbound.

One can never be assured of seeing SL-II/III's, especially in late 2011, however we would have about 6 opportunities to see one at Glenside and one of those paid off with an inbound R5 train with Reading car #9002 in the lead.

Hanging out on the rear was SL-III #225, not be be confused with Airport III #235.

#225 shown as it departs passing SL-IV #284 on the adjacent track.

Informal group photo of some subchatters on the platform at Glenside.

We would only get one train of II/III's that day as our R2 Warminster local arrived with #373 in the lead.

The Warminster Line could more accurately be called the Fox Chase line as our train approached LYNN interlocking.

Northbound through the re-signaled Grove siding north of the Willow Grove station. You know SEPTA if you are going to try to pinch pennies with your Go-No Go signaling, don't blow it all on a pointless cantilever mast.

The run between Hatboro and Warminster. This section of the line was an extension added on to the original Reading terminus at Hatboro where the substation is.

Warminster was empty save for our train laying over as is expected during the mid-day period.

#373 again at Warminster station.

Here on the southbound leg of the trip we see the entire double track section of the Warminster Line between LYNN and CARMEL interlockings. BTW make sure you listen to some of the background conversations in the videos. There are some interesting stories being told.

We got off at Fern Rock in order to have the traditional BSS express run downtown. Here we have an action shot of Fred G snagging a photo of #373.

Hanging out on the paltform at Fern Rock was SEPTA AEM-7 #2303, which as of late I always seem to run into.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

11-12-24 VIDEOS: Nostalgia Train HD

You might remember the last time I featured a Nostalgia Train themed YouTube playlist not only was the resolution a mediocre 640x480, my camera could only fir about 20 minutes of video on its 1GB xD cards forcing me to be really stingy about leaving the camera running. Well this time I have upgraded to 16GB SD cards that can store nearly 90 minutes of HD video each. Even better my YouTube account has been enabled for unlimited length videos (although at the time this was taken I was still at 15min).

This year I was up in NYC early enough to be on the first northbound trip from Second Ave and I was able to shoot the entire run in two long shots that include the station stops. Unfortunately I was still learning my camera and I made the mistake of taking photos while shooting video, which my camera can do at the expense of disrupting the video. Another huge plus over my previous camera is that I can zoom while shooting video (the old one didn't want you to get zoom noises on the vid).

No need for playlists this time as I am just going to put everything out in the open. Also you might want to click through to YouTube to get for the best effect since resolution on the blog is set to 640c360..

We begin with a Goodfellas style continuous shot taken while I walked from the rear of the Nostalgia Train to the front, through the train itself. The train had only pulled in about 5 minutes before I had gotten there myself and it was still rather empty with the various volunteers getting ready and early bird railfans buzzing about. I was hoping for an uninterrupted take, but my father kept asking questions and one woman stopped me to help take her picture in the R-10 prototype, but I stuck to the rules of the continuous take and left them in :-)

Let's just dive into the main show with the 2011 Nostalgia Train's first run of the morning. Here in part one we get our lineup and proceed from 2nd Ave to 47-50th St. Check out the platform at 34th Street and try to spot the well known SEPTA personality. Unfortunately there were no instances of express running this year.

Part 2 from 47th-50th St through to Queens Plaza. Includes getting off the train at QP and capturing its move into the relay track there.

In this clip you can get a feel for what the NYCS was like in the days before dynamic brakes when even a standard station stop could fill a station with a haze of brakeshoe smoke (which back in the day was probably asbestos or something). By the end of the trip I was blowing all sorts of black gunk out of my nose.

Here we see the conductor working the doors between the cars between Queens Plaza and 21st Ely. In the second video check out some of the inter-car movement. Probably for the best that they now work in their own cabs.

More inter-car movement between 47th-50th St and 42nd St stations southbound.

Arriving at 34th St southbound with a D train racing us on the express track.

We will finish up with one last long video showing the Model Board at W. 4TH Street Tower as little green and blue dots magically turn into a real life Nostalgia Train down on the lower level. The shot continues with a ride all the way to 2nd Ave, although I had to zoom through the RFW giving a bit of the old Chicken Wire effect.

Well I hope you enjoyed the videos. Sorry again for any technical errors. It was my first outing and I should be able to do a lot better in the future.

11-12-24 PHOTOS: Nostalgia Train HD

If you remember from last week I mentioned that the set would be the last featuring my 2006 Olympus 510UZ camera*, well Christmas came a bit early on 2011 because in this set I will be out on Christmas eve riding the Nostalgia Train with my brand new Cannon SX30 camera with 35x optical zoom and 720p HD video capability. That's right, its time to ride the Nostalgia Train again...only this time in HD!!!

Now while I actually chose to concentrate on taking video this trip as underground lighting leaves a lot to be desired, I did take some still shots which can all be seen here. Also, while I will be featuring some videos in this post, stay tuned for a supplemental video only post that will contain the longer material.

I would like to begin with a quick side-by-side comparison of my old camera vs my new camera. The following two photos of the 526 northbound automatic signal on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor were both taken from the same spot on the Hamilton NJT platform at about the same time of day with the same zoom setting and of course both scaled to ~1280 pixies of resolution (although they are cropped differently). The first is my old camera and the second is my new camera. See if you can taste the difference.

Granted its no DSLR, but I can carry it around in a small bag, not be a juicy target for thieves or the anti-terrorist patrols, not have to buy thousands of dollars in accessories and I don't have to wear one of those tan photographer vests. BTW if you aren't tired yet of looking at the 526 signal, here it is again with Arrow III #1513.

I managed to catch a northbound train of Multi-Levels with ALP-46 #4645 on point. BTW I am still learning the proper ways set up my new camera as well as process the photos so forgive me if things are a touch out of wack for a few sets.

While hanging out at W4th Street waiting to transfer to an that would take me to 2nd Ave, I happened to catch the deadhead Nostalgia train end route to its initial terminal.

 Got some video too. Remember these are now all available in HD so remember to turn up the resolution if your device can handle it.

South end of the Nostalgia train shortly after its arrival at 2nd Ave. Note the nearly empty won't stay that way for long!!

North end of same.

I'm in position at the Railfan Window as some platform bound railfans get a few photos of their own.

The train after arriving at Queens Plaza.

Approach Restricting indication for the move into the layup track.