Search This Blog

Thursday, December 27, 2012

12-12-27 PHOTOS: SEPTA Mid-Winter Trip XII

Wow, its only March and I am already posting photos of the M-W-T. It seems that my year long effort to reign in my photo backlog is finally starting to pay off :-) Anyway unlike the previous two M-WT's which were marred by first snow then rain, this one was a non-qualified success with around 18 participants showing up despite the rather cloudy weather. I want to start by thanking everyone who attended because if you didn't show up I'd have no real reasons to put these trips on.

This years event was to make up for the focus on Silverliner II's and III's over the last couple of M-W-T's so and consisted of an M-W-T first ever trip to the airport and back, followed by an MFL run out to 69th St, then a Rt 101 trip to Media, R3 back to 30th St then Rt 10 to the Rt 15 junction at Girard, then Rt 15 to the new casino loop, then MFL again back to 8th, BRS to Fern Rock and finally a BSS express run to Walnut-Locust. Here is a google Map of this year's route/

Now I don't tend to take a lot of photos on these trips as I am actually busy trying to make sure that everyone is where they need to be and not dawdling in some restaurant, but you can see all the photos I did end up taking right here.

While the trip officially starts in Center City I make it a happy to kick things off early with those who decide to take PATCO into the city. For years I have been trying to get head end video of an express run being thwarted first by self-important operators and then by PATCO's elimination of such service during the post-Christmas week. Well for the past two years the service has returned and using the "newspaper" method to shield my videography from the operator I got this video of an express ride from Lindenwold all the way to 8th and Market. The video comes with a bonus commentary by Phil Nasadowski discussing how hard it is to get film for his 16mm motion picture camera. The footage was hindered slightly by a light rain, but features an operator not afraid to use his horn through the express stations.

Like I said this year marked our first ever trip to the Philadelphia International Airport. The reason this has been neglected was due to the Zone 5 cost of such trips and that in the past the old SEPTA Day Pay was good for only one RRD ride and going to the airport was never seen as worth the cost. However now what we have the Independence pass with unlimited trips on everything there's no reason NOT to go to the Airport so off we went. Here we see SL-IV car #384 sitting at the Terminal E/F Terminal.

Some Subchatters mill about near the end of track at the Terminal F station.

Some residual raindrops were making front window photography difficult so I went back to video for the run from Eastwick through to University City.

30th St Station and the Circa Center, which is showing off its adaptive camouflage.

MFL trainset rounding the loop at 69th St...

While the next outbound train platforms.

SEPTA Suburban K-Car #124 being used to train operators on the Rt 102.

Center Rt 100 platform under reconstruction.

K-Car #108 about to depart 69th St on a Rt 102 run.

K-Car #118 depositing us in the middle of downtown Media.

After lunch it was time to walk down the hill to the R3 media station where SL-IV #131 would take us back to 30th St station.

At 30th St Station there was time for a photo op from the car park there that overlooks the Race St engine house. Here we see Amtrak MoW GP38-2 #722 with P42DC #22.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

12-12-15 PHOTOS: More Streetcar Santa

You might remember how in 2011 I stopped by the Baltimore Streetcar Museum during the month of December when it was running its special holiday service with Santa, you know, for the kids. Well all those free cookies and hot chocolate could not be resisted and I gathered some friends together and made the trip again this past holiday season. Not much more to say except you can see the whole set of photos here.

I got there early enough to catch the volunteers shuffling cars around in order to get ready for that day's service. Here car #6119 is making a backup move with the motorman at the special rear control stand.

The Santa car was supposed to be ex-SEPTA car #2168, but it was having problems so former BTCo cat #7407 was trotted out as a substitute.

Also out on display that day was the snow sweeper C-145, here standing in front of #6119.

#417 has a strong claim to being the world's oldest electric streetcar and here it is still under restoration, but now moving under its own power.

Wow, the restoration makes 417 look factory fresh.

#264 was waiting out on the loop for that day's non-Santa service.

After getting some quick repairs #2168 was taken out for a test run on the main line.

While 7407 waited on the loop with Philly's own Bill Monaghan ready to take the controls of whichever PCC will be assigned to the service.

Friday, November 30, 2012

12-11-30 PHOTOS: Flushing Line HD

A week after Thanksgiving I was back in the Windy Apple to see a Broadway Play and seeing as how I would have some time to kill on a weekday I decided it was a good time to check out some hurricane Sandy damage and also grad some HD footage of an express run on the Flushing Line before said line was ruined through the removal of railfan windows. A few years ago I had gotten some standard def video of the same run, but with a new camera in hand I just couldn't resist trying to preserve the experience of riding at the front of a 7 express train before it was lost forever.

Of course I took some photos as well, but this is going to mostly be a video post as most of the photos ended up being from a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

We begin in Hamilton, NJ as a pair of ALP-46 hauled multi-level Push-Pull pass eachother in the station. Cab car 7047 is headed towards NYC while #4607 pushes the other set towards Trenton.

Now I choose not to get on that train because it was a local and even though most sane railroads would use push-pulls on expresses and MUs on locals I don't believed anyone has ever accused NJT of being sane.

While then waiting for the express to show to Amtrak AEM-7 #907 blasted through with a regional en-route to New York.

I eventually made it down to the recently flooded Boweling Green station and was impressed by the lack of any apparent damage or basement smell. I even got some good photos of the still functional, yet usually unattended US&S Style C panel type unit lever interlocking machine at the south end of the platform. Click here for detail on the model board.

I also got some video of the panel working in automatic mode as (5) train move in and out of the station.

While crossing the Brooklyn Bridge I cause a fuel barge heading north up the East River powered by the Jill Reinauer.

I walked to 4th Ave in Brooklyn where I managed to catch an eastbound R42 (C) train departing the station.

From there I caught an (A) to Times Square where I then transferred to a 7 Express, which had just started running, and I proceeded to video the entire 24 minute ride which you can see here. The video even kicks off with a crossover move at the TSQ terminal.

Heading back to Midtown like a schmuck on the (7)local. Here we exit the Flushing tunnel portal with another outbound R62 about to be swallowed up.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

12-11-21 PHOTOS: Thanksgiving Everything

For my a traditional thanksgiving not only includes Turkey and family drama, but also a trip around the Philadelphia region in Chuchubob's Elder-mobile on the day before Thanksgiving to catch the mildly expanded Amtrak and SEPTA rail services. In 2011 we had set our sights on trying to track down some Silverliner II/III cars, but with those retired we were not free to go elsewhere because if there was one thing that we knew we would not run into it was Silverliner II's.

The trip began at Burlington South RiverLINE station and proceeded up and around Trenton to West Trenton where we would get lunch and catch the SEPTA / CSX action on the Trenton Line. Next we headed south to Morrisville, PA to take pictures of NJT, SEPTA and Amtrak trains crossing the Delaware River before finishing up with a trip to the Woodbourne SEPTA station again on the Trenton Line.

You can catch the entire set of photos here which includes some additional photos of signals and such I took while driving to and from New Jersey.

We begin on the day before the day before Thanksgiving I went off to see a bargain basement Sixers game and caught this little race between a PATCO train and a northbound NJT Atlantic City Line train.

The next day I started out at Burlington South Park Ride Station where we arrived in time to catch a northbound train. The interlocking just north of the station has been modified with an extra dwarf signal on the passing track resulting in the original home signal displaying Approach Medium for the dwarf's Medium Clear.

RiverLINE DMU #3501B soon arrived and departed the station.

Here is a video of the Medium Clear signal and #3501 taking the diverging route onto the single track street running through Burlington City.

Despite some rollers hanging out nearby in the Burlington Bristol Bridge parking lot Bob and I were surprisingly not harassed.

We tried to get ahead of the train to get a picture crossing the bridge at Bordentown, but alas arrived just a few seconds too late.

Finally reaching West Trenton a train of Silverliner V's soon arrived with #858 in the rear position.

Lots of CSX freight moves in the mid-day when SEPTA dispatchers will actually give them the railroad. As soon as 858 cleared the main the westbound signal at CP-TRENT was pulled up for a straight movement and soon enough CSX ES44AC #940 and AC4400 #442 rolled through with a train of aluminum ore hoppers.

Not long after that the signal came up again to Approach indicating a following CSX movement. Well boy where we surprised when we saw a 6 car train of Silverliner II cars behind a pair of CSX geeps on their way to the scrap yard in North Jersey. The one year we stopped looking for Silverliner II's they found a way to come to us despite the notable handicap of being retired.

I went to video due to the backlighting, but thanks to an inconsiderate friend I suffered a camera malfunction. Fortunately my B camera was there to record all the action.

After lunch I emerged from the restaurant just in time to catch another CSX freight train going by while SEPTA Silverliner IV car #332 waited in West Trenton yard for the trip back to Philly.

On the way to the Morrisville Amtrak stop we swung by the Morrisville freight yard where a lineup of NS freight power was hanging out by the driveway. This included SW1001 #2103.

GP38-2 #5285

And SD60 #6566.

From there we swung by the SMS yard in the Penn Warner Industrial park where Baldwin DS4-4-750 #102 was waiting her next call to duty. #102 was built around 1950 and is still going strong.

First over the bridge was an eastbound Amtrak Keystone train with #953 in the push position. No, #953 has not been retrofitted with a diesel engine because what looks like an exhaust plume is actually the heat spilling off the dynamic brake resistor grids as the train brakes aggressively for the stop at Trenton.

Monday, October 29, 2012

12-10-29 PHOTOS: Beating the Storm

Twice a year I head down to Georgia to visit a friend and this past fall it was scheduled for the weekend of October 27th, returning on Monday the 29th. Well on the 25th I was enjoying a drink in Greensboro, NC when someone I was talking with mentioned that there was some "storm" coming that might interfere with my ability to get back home. Of course I had heard nothing about this and couldn't change my plans even if I had, but a bit of research showed that the Hurricane wasn't due until two days after my scheduled arrival on the 29th. Well, we all know how that turned out and I almost got royally screwed being trapped well south of the Donna Dixon line for an extra week or so, but like Geordi rolling under a blast door my northbound Amtrak Train 20 was thankfully only terminated in Washington, DC where I was able to bum a ride the rest of the way to my destination.

Anyway I wanted to say all that to explain why another of my bi-yearly Amtrak Carolinian / Crescent journeys has such a more punchy title. From a photographic point of view the trip had some positives going for it such as mostly sunny weather, but one major downside in the form of a terribly dirty rear window that once again produced a set of rather lackluster photos of the CSX A-Line between Richmond and Selma, NC. Actually the window was so yuck I resorted to taking video for most of the RF&P sub as with all the resignaling there wasn't much left to take photos of in any event.

Also due to the rainy weather on the way back I didn't have the opportunity to take many photos from the Crescent so I was able to cover this trip with a single photo set which you can see here.

We begin in the back of Amtrak Train 79 pulling into Washington DC where I was hoping to get some HD video of the 1990's B&O CPLs installed at F TOWER before they were replaced, but alas I was too late, however I left the camera running until we pulled into the platform at Union Station.

During the power change I took some pictures of the P42 diesels like #95 here sitting over on the engine storage track.

Here is AX #2026 sitting up on the upper level with P42 #202 on the engine track. #202 would be eventually attached to our train.

Leaving DC the weather was gray and misty so I immediately cut to video mode and captured the run from Franconia-Springfield to Quanico. Lots of MoW work in this section which created some dusty conditions and my train was stuck on signals for much of the time as trains has to queue up to negotiate sections of single track. Included in this any my other videos are commentaries provided by a radio scanner.

Here in the second video that runs from Fredericksburg to Ashland we have a lot less dust and a lot more sun, but that dirty window is always on hand to screw things up. Look for for my train passing a CSX freight train at Millford as well as how the last two RF&P signaled interlockings at South Millford and North Doswell have been converted. Passing through Doswell there is a local freight on the siding track and a cut of cars on the northbound main. Waiting for us to clear the bit of single track is the Northbound train 92 on the usually southbound track and you can watch as its signal clears to Approach Medium to cross back over at North Doswell.

South of Ashland I passed a string of large transformers awaiting delivery on the dump siding at Elmont.

The disused Greendale interlocking tower north of Richmond Staples Mill Rd station.

Amtrak P42DC at Staples Mill Road waiting to depart southbound over clear signals.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

12-09-22 PHOTOS: Baltimore Area Wrap Up

Over the last year or so CSX has been engaged in some fairly heavy re-signaling efforts in the Washington DC area due to stimulus dollars being needed to be spent somewhere and the state of Maryland eager to buy the for-profit freight railroad a new signaling system since the last one they bought for CSX in the early 1990s was now slightly less than brand new. Anyway, this has kept me busy documenting the classic Baltimore and Ohio railroad color position light signals and generated several sets of photos that almost nobody here would be interested in at all. However, every so often when I am out on my missions an actual train will trundle by and I will of course take a picture of it as well. Multiply this by many missions and now I have enough photos banked up to actually make them into a full set.

No sense beating around the bush so let's begin this week's installment on the Baltimore Belt Line with CSX SD70MAC #4769 passing the eastbound CPL mast signal at CLIFTON PARK interlocking. This and the following couple of photos will be the last new content generated by my old Olympus 510UZ camera and were taken last November.

Behind it was a Helm leasing SD40-2 #7169. The train had been creeping up on a restricting indication, but it had upgraded to Approach just before passing the signal.

CSX #5292 popping out of the Charles St tunnel on the Baltimore Belt Line.

It was followed by SD40-2 #8804 pushing out a lot of smoke.

Chuchubob can have his BNSF units at Pavonia because when was the last time a Flordia East Coast unit showed up in New Hersey? #502 here is a GP38-2.

CSX SD50 #8581 entering the Charles St Tunnel.

CSX SD40-2 #8437 emerging from the same.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

12-09-15 PHOTOS: HARRIS Tower Trips

Well if traveling to South Norwalk is a bit too far for you there is another preserved interlocking tower museum in Harrisburg, PA operated by the Harrisburg chapter NRHS. The former Pennsylvania Railroad HARRIS tower was built in 1930 and turned over to the NRHS chapter in 1992 after Amtrak closed it in a plant rationalization project. Unlike South Norwalk its 115 lever US&S Model 14 interlocking machine is completely operational and able to allow visitors to run a simulated 1943 schedule. Now I could go on and on about the history of HARRIS tower and how Model 14 machines function and operate, but I am going to save that for another time so I can instead focus on all the other cool railroad stuff I encountered in two trips I took to the museum this fall, one by Amtrak, the other by car.

HARRIS tower is a short 5 minute walk from the Amtrak Harrisburg passenger station and can also easily be reached from Philly in about 2 hours or Baltimore in 1 hour. It used to control the west end of the Harrisburg station complex where PRR GG1's were swapped for steam power. Today most Amtrak trains terminate at Harrisburg and only use the STATE interlocking at the east end of the station. Freight traffic comes in the form of the Norfolk Southern Harrisburg line which makes a big left turn to head down the former Reading railroad route instead of take the former PRR Main Line. While traffic on the NS line is intense, with upwards of 50 trains per day, Amtrak traffic passing the tower consists of only the single Pennsylvanian round trip and Keystone tainset relay moves.

You can see all the photos from both trips right here with the Amtrak trip first and then the road trip photos coming after. As part of the Amtrak trip Chuchubob and I stopped off at the Middletown and Hummlestown yard in Middletown to get an extra trip leg for more AGR points and to also kill turn until HARRIS tower opened at 10am. The tower museum is open most Saturdays from May through October from 10 until 3.

Here we see Amtrak Metroliner cab car #9645 departing the Middletown station in the trailing position.

The M&H still has its collection of SEPTA PCC cars like #2095 seen here.

#2095 sitting next to GE 44-ton #2 which is about to depart with the first excursion train of the morning hauling former DL&W commuter MU coaches.

Alco S-6 #151 painted in a Western Maryland scheme. 

Upon reaching Harrisburg I caught AEM-7 #923 hanging out across the platform from #952.

Space cab car #9649 hung out on the stub track while signals were displayed for #952 through STATE interlocking for the next schedule keystone departure.

PRR GG-1 #4859 on display at Harrisburg station.

Amtrak P32-8WH #512 is the substitute power on this day's eastbound Pennsylvanian due to a general shortage of P42's which was in turn due to an overhaul programme.