When that strategy didn't prove to be successful we fell back on the NEC with a stop off at Bristol, and while in 2010 we had managed to catch some II's and III's, this year turned out to be a disappointment as well although there was more than enough Amtrak traffic to make up for it.
Finally in a bonus segment I return to Baltimore's Penn Station to catch the annual arrival of a 3000 series Amtrak Holiday Extra with leased NJT Arrow III equipment. I also manage to catch a northbound 3000 series train with leased MARC equipment...but catching a MARC trainset in Baltimore Penn Station isn't a huge deal.
You can see the entire set of photos here as usual.
I arrived at West Trenton to find new signal footings and a new crossover being put in place at TRENT interlocking. While TRENT is controlled by SEPTA, it and the Trenton Line is owned by CSX and SEPTA regional rail trains must share it with a great deal of CSX freight trains, which has been a source of friction for some time. TRENT interlocking's sole purpose is to allow SEPTA trains to get in and out of the West Trenton yard and conduct end of run turns. It consists of a single trailing point crossover and yard lead.
This has lead to problems when one of the two tracks SEPTA shares with CSX between here and CP-WOOD are out of service due to the lack of a universal crossover between the limits of the double track that stretched from CP-WOOD to CP-WING, two miles east of TRENT. Anyway it appears that CSX or SEPTA or someone is planning to rectify this problem by installing a second crossover and re-working TRENT interlocking. This will probably mean the replacement of the Conrail signals (that in turn replaced the Reading signals in 1994) with CSX style Darth Vadar signals. :-(
Of course the closed TRENT tower won't be going anywhere as it still serves as the SEPTA crew base, but what will be missed is the eastbound three lamp dwarf stack governing wrong direction movements on 261 track with an innovative use of lamp position that uses Approach limited as its least restrictive aspect for straight moves (with medium clear for diverging) and Medium approach for both straight and diverging movements as dwarfs can't display straight Approach.
Anyway, back to the trains. SEPTA Silverliner IV Pair 438/437 were sitting on the first yard track waiting to pull out and head back to Center City.
Also in West Trenton yard was SEPTA AEM-7 #2303, which I later ran into during the Mid-Winter trip.
Also laying over in the yard was SL-IV #434.
#438 soon pulled into the West Trenton station to pick up passangers for its on time departure, while a Clear signal was pulled up on the eb TRENT mast signal indicating an approaching freight movement that was being slid in before the next SEPTA local was scheduled to arrive.
CSX freight train symbol Q418 soon arrived on the scene with CSX GP50 #8550 and former UP C40-8 #9026 towing CSX GP38-2 #2516 behind them. The UP unit had been sighted the previous day by Chuchubob in Pavonia Yard or at Cove Road.
It didn't take long after the freight train had passed for the next outbound R3 local to arrive, a Restricting signal into the yard already displayed.
The three car local with SL-IV's #401, 402 and 184, then took the signal and headed into the yard.
At this point it was time for lunch at a nearby establishment frequently used by railfans and when we returned a full headway had passed with a new SEPTA two car local with SL-IV's 124 and 125 in consist seen here departing for the yard past the same Restricting signal.
After emerging from the restaurant we found some fellow West Jersey railfans (including the omnipresent Dave Homer) milling about seen here as #124 relays into the yard. Also note the position of the new crossover and the existing signals in this zoom view.
At the other end of the interlocking one can see how SEPTA has recently extended the overhead wire to allow trains to more easily relay on the main tracks with the new crossover and extended interlocking. This extended several carlengths beyond the old Reading signal bridge that used to be the old AC Motor Stop point.
Moving on to Bristol we find Amtrak ARM-7 #927 with an extended holiday Regional consist bowling along westbound towards Philly.