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.
BSS B-III car in the Historic Fleet at Fern Rock courtesy of my 35x room capability.
The trip included an intentional long lunch layover at 30th St to give people the change to take photos from the Amtrak parking garage or on the SEPTA platforms. I choose the former and got this shot of the Race St engine terminal with two AEM-7's at the opposite end of the class (#901 and #949), dual-purpose B32-8WH currently in Philly area switching and work train service and GP15D #576 in full time MoW service.
AEM-7 #923 was hanging out on one of the high tracks for a power change.
And #914 arrived on the front of a Regional train.
And then I had my second Silverliner II sighting of the day, although it was from afar. Here 9013, 258, 9006 and one additional SL-II head west across the Schuylkill River.
Traffic is rather predictable in the mid day and the operator in PAOLI tower quickly pulled up the 12L signal which displayed a Restricting indication as the Keystone had not yet cleared the block.
That signal was for the R5 local we had passed on the express track, lead by SL-IV #334.
#334 departing through Paoli interlocking in the rain.
A Medium Clear indication on the 28R signal heading eastbound indicated that another Keystone train was approaching led by P42 #181. Not sure what was up with the apparent electric shortage that day.
Our own inbound R5 local dropped us off at Villanova and can be seen here about to Pass under the PRR signal bridge east of the station.
Video of same.
Over at the Villanova Rt 100 station a southbound 2-car train arrives and departs in a steady rain.
Now we had been counting on making a close connection at Norristown with an R6. I had made this connection before on a previous MWT, but SEPTA had gone and changed the schedule in the weeks between when I worked out the details of the trip and when the trip actually went off reducing a 10 or so minute connection to 2 minutes. The bad news was that our Rt 100 train was well over 2 minutes late. The good news was that the R6 was completely fucked up due to wires going down on the outbound track. When we got to Norristown there was a huge crowd on the inbound platform and the 14R signal at KALB interlocking was displaying a rare Slow Clear for a wrong direction move.
The wrong railing train of SL-IVs including #441 ran through without stopping in order to get to Elm St and replace the trainset that had pulled the wires down and was still stuck many miles to the east.
By that time things were really getting dark and since taking photos were basically pointless I put my camera away. However upon stopping at Temple University, an inbound SL-II set from Roberts yard pulled up next to our train and a few Subchatters that were on the ball were able to jump over to it. We boarded the SL-II that had been following me around lately, #0x100, or #256 if you insist on decimal.
Here I took a high def video tour of the inside of #0x100 just in case I didn't get the oppurtunity to again. As this was essentially a pull out move we had the car to ourselves and could geek out without irritating any "normals".
The SL-II car had elements contained in one or more of the following Budd Company patents.
The trip was determined to end of a high note. Here is a video of our SL-II train with 4 Budds in the consist on an R3 route. In addition to #256 the train contained #260 and Reading car #9008. Also shown here are the Market East platform conductors that opened and closed the manual doors on the II's and III's from the outside. The video continues as the train with #9008 head out into the darkness of the CC tunnel.
In the trip's final video we have the SEPTA Comet I trainset that had been hiding behind the SL-II's. The set was being pushed by SEPTA AEM-7 #2307.
Anyway that's it for Mid-Winter Trip XI. Hopefully next year we will see a return to reasonable weather. Check back for the full itinerary, but as something new it will definitely include a trip to the Airport!