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Saturday, May 5, 2012

12-05-05 PHOTOS: Farewell II the Silverliner II II

After that rousing rush hour spent at the Temple University Station it was time for that weekend's main event, the second of what turned out to be three Farewell to the Silverliner II (and III) events. While this trip was intended to be much grander than the original trip a number of factors contributed to having it be less than it could have been. The first, that nobody could control, was the weather. This trip was significantly more gray and dreary than the first, but you can't win them all. The second major problem was the lack of a proper railfan crew which severely put a damper not only on fun things like runbys and modifying the schedule to get in better photo ops, but also such crucial elements like vestibule and cab rides and out the window shots that make a fantrip stand out from an event day revenue run. Finally the route of the trip was to go to Chestnut Hill West, then through the tunnel to Fox Chase, then down to 16th St and out to Norristown and then finally out to Cynwyd before returning to Market East. The trip organizers never considered going from Hill West to Cynwyd through the NY-Pittsburgh Subway because they thought it didn't have wire and was not available for revenue moves when in fact revenue SEPTA trains had been using it a few months prior due to a switch failure.

Anyway, I guess I should feel lucky that the trip happened at all due to the fact that their first effort to put it on back in September '11 was canceled due to a general lack of publicity. This trip was really cutting it close with only about 8 or so Silverliner II's and 2 Silverliner III's left in service. As I mentioned in the last photo set I properly identified the three cars selected for the trip. The first was Reading Silverliner II class car #9001. The second was PRR Silverliner II and SEPTA camera car #266 (as 269 had already been retired) and between the two was Airport Silverliner III #235, which had also been retired, but then brought back due to the Hurricane Irene cars flooded at Trenton.

With the gray weather and new HD video capable camera I took less photos this time around and much more video, so hopefully I should be able to cover this trip in a single part. You can see all of the photos right here.

We begin with a video of #266 arriving on the 0 track at Suburban Station.

#9001 with a spike of railfans waiting to board.

Quasi group photo with Phil, Fren, Alex and Bob.

Video from the side window as the trail pulls out of Suburban Station and climbs the ramp to 30th Street.

The westbound cantilever mast for the re-signaled K section of ZOO interlocking.

Voyage through the 39th Street connection at ZOO interlocking to head up to the Main Line to New York taking the Medium Clear signal at GIRARD interlocking.

Taking the Slow Approach indication on the 2E signal at LEHIGH interlocking for a route onto the Hill West branch.

Heading through LEHIGH interlocking on the slow speed route onto the Chestnut Hill branch which involves crossing over two main line tracks and then rounding the sharp curve before passing through the former CHW section of NORTH PHILADELPHIA interlocking and ending at the proposed site of the Swampoodle connection.

Allen Lane station with its new High Level platform. We'll end up back here later.

AUSTIN tower at Chestnut Hill West.

#266 at Hill West.

#9001 with one of its SL-V replacements at Hill West.

Video of the new departing in front of the old at Hill West.

#9001 and the rest of the Farewell train at Hill West.

View out the front for the express run to Allen Lane.

Silverliners from above at Allen Lane.

Closeup of the Silverliner III pantograph.

Roof of camera car #266 showing the cameras and other wireless equipment.

#266 from the front. Fortunately the track fence had been removed to allow a somewhat unobstructed shot.

Full train walkthrough from #9001, through 235 and into 266 at Allen Lane.

#9001 at the next photo stop, Queen Lane.

Here the low level platform allowed me to get a show of #9001's gearbox assembly.

Here is #235's axle assembly. You can see the difference between the Budd Pioneer and GSI-70 trucks.

Time for a brief video interlude as I decided to take video all the way from Queen Lane through the Center City tunnel and then back out to Wayne Junction. This video is narrated to some extent so its more than just a good view, which itself was compromised by lack of vestibule access in the CCT.

Waiting at CHELT interlocking for the inbound SL-V train to enter the siding. Ever since SEPTA handed the second track over to CSX, waiting around has become more standard for R8 trains.

At Fox Chase, which was also the lunch stop, we finally got some sun.

#9001 and the rest of the train at the Fox Chase station.

The famous Silverliner III left handed cab on #235.

Looking through 235 into #266 where you can make out the black box for the camera equipment.

An artifact of when #235 and 8 of her sisters were in dedicated airport service. There is probably enough info here to determine when this terminal card was last updated.

Before we departed, SL-IV #123 pulled in on the adjacent track next to #266 with a Fox Chase R8 train.

Right handed cab on #266.

SEPTA SL-IV #124 as we depart the Fox Chase Station.

From there the trip headed southbound through Wayne Junction where it passed the last set of equipment that SEPTA retired.

From there the train passed through 16th St junction before it reversed direction and went back up the Norristown Line to Norristown. Here is a video from the front of the charter as it runs express down the Norristown Line.

The R6 Norristown run came with one photo stop in the middle of my video there at Manayunk where we would get the one photo runby of the trip. Here is #266 stopped to let the railfan off to form their photo line.

View from the photo line of the Charter Train having pulled back under one of the power transmission line that straddle parts of the Norristown Line to wait for the runby.

#266 looking head on down the Norristown Line with a spike of railfans in the way.

Due to the extreme number of railfans in the photo line I decided it might be prudent to find an alternate location so I might have a photo that looked, you know, different.

Here we see #266 being passed by an outbound R6 local with SL-IV #427

#266 doing the runby. Wow...that was so worth it.

#266 showing off the bank angle through the Manayunk station.

 Closeup of one of #266's traction motors.

Upon reaching Norristown we waited again for another inbound R6 local to pass. This one had SL-IV #179.

Video of #179 passing 266 and then 266 proceeding northbound to reverse direction at the far end of KALB interlocking.

I should mention that I got my first close up look of the recently rehabilitated Norristown Substation. I was pleasantly surprised that SEPTA has reused a good deal of the original Reading structure including insulators and bus bars.

#266 about to pass under the Route 100 station, its platform packed with railfans.

A Medium Clear indication on the 10R signal at KALB announced the arrival of an outbound local, but the non-railfan crew would not wait for an approaching NS freight train. Here are some railfans scrambling to get their pics in before the departure.

Our trip to Cynwyd would pass through 16th St Junction yet again. Here is a little video compilation of those transits from the side window.

In addition to being the last part of this Farewell trip, the Cynwyd line would host the ultimate Farewell trip just a bit over a month later on June 29th. #9001 at Cynwyd.

#266 hanging out under the bridge.  Note someone brought a 16mm film camera!

Poor #235 stuck in the middle of the train.

Shot of the Silverliner II main transformer. If you are interested here is a closeup of the spec sheet.

End of the Line for SEPTA Silverliner II #9001.

The Silverliner II's and III's were the last SEPTA units equipped with working flip seats, although most had been bolted in place. Here's a video of myself working the seats on both #235 and #266.

Video from the front of the train as it heads eastbound down the Cynwyd Line, ducking under the main line tracks and re-joining the main line at VALLEY interlocking where the old 52nd St Station platform still stands.

Farewell to the Silverliner II...

...but wait, this story isn't over yet.

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