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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

12-06-13 PHOTOS: Capitol Corridor

You may have noticed I have been reducing my backlog of photos down from a peak of 11 months to about 3 months today. Well this is where that progress hits a brick wall as I embark on my second cross-country Amtrak trip, this time on the California Zephyr running from Emeryville, CA to Chicago followed a second leg on the Capitol Limited. As of now this is budgeted for 8 or 9 parts so sit back and strap yourself in.

The first part covers me getting from the hotel in Oakland to the Zephyr terminal in Emeryville, the train's departure from Emeryville and then the Zephyr traveling along the former Southern Pacific Capitol Corridor from Emeryville to Sacramento. This was a great start to the trip as I was able to get the whole run in before lunch and was able to cover almost the entire line as the sleepers are on the rear on the Zephyr and I could proceed directly to the back window. You will note that I am still having issues with color correction as I was trying to be clever with the camera's white balance to eliminate red tint, but ended up with a blue tint that was even harder to deal with.

You can find the full set of Capitol Corridor photos here, which will make a great reference for anyone debating HSR proposals in California. Also if you would like some information on the line you can find the employee timetable here with the Capitol Corridor covered under the Martinez Subdivision.

After a flight out to the west coast that resulted in a 4 hour delay in the Las Vegas airport due to a problem with the plane that was scheduled to take my friend and I the last few miles to SFO I arrived the next morning at the Jack London Station in downtown Oakland, which was fortunately not being occupied at the time.

Anyway Oakland is famous for its main line street running along 2nd street and here we see San Joaquin train #712 with F59PHI #2004 in push mode.

The Zephyr used to run to Oakland, but after the 1989 Earthquake both the station here and in Emeryville were rendered uninhabitable and in the rebuilding process Emeryville's new station was finished first and since terminating the Zephry there would eliminate a significant backup move to the Amtrak servicing facility it was chosen as the new terminal. Still, the new Jack London station in Oakland is pretty nice.

I was waiting for the 7:45am Capitol Corridor train 524 which arrived on time with Superliner cab car #6962.

It was my first time in an Amtrak California Superliner and I was impressed by the ample space for bicycles and the bi-level arrangement worked well too, however unfortunately the cab car end railfan view had been blacked out. 

#6962 in Emeryville.

P42 #159 was subbing for the usual California power.

At Emeryville a UP double stack intermodal train was getting crewed up and ready to depart while the cars inspector puttered about on an ATV inspecting the cars. Power was an ES44AC and a pair of SD70s.

In a shocking turn of events Amtrak Train 11, the southbound Coast Starlight, arrived ON TIME with P42 #41 in the lead.

#41 again waiting to get the high ball from the crew as it sat facing a Clear signal indication at West Emeryville interlocking.

Some express traffic offloaded from heritage baggage car #1750.

The Emeryville station consists of two tracks, one for LD trains, the other for corridor trains. It can support three tracks, but the third track was not installed, however I heard that funding has been obtained to do so.

Before the Zephyr was due to pull in there was one additional surprise in the form of westbound Capitol Corridor train #525 with recently sold/leased "Pepsi Can" B32-8WH #2051 now in a CalDot livery.

Cab car #6965 was bringing up the rear.

And here is Train 6, just as the sun burns off the morning Bay Area fog. P42DC #165 would be our lead locomotive for this trip.

#47 would be in the #2 slot.

And the sleeper where I wpuld spend the majority of the trip standing at the rear window, Superliner I #32053.

Shortly after departing Emeryville we are passed by westbound Capitol Corridor train #527 with P42 #22 subbing for California power.

Shortly before arriving at the Richmond station stop I caught Richmond Pacific GP15T #424 switching cars on an adjacent industrial track.

Side view of the northern San Francisco bay.

The main drawback to all the scenery was a series of severe speed restriction for 18 miles of "Corridor" between Richmond and Martinez. Train speeds only reached 50 miles mer hour and then only briefly.

Two track tunnel under an oil refinery.

The twin bridges at Carquinez. A third cantilever span between the current spans was removed when it was replaced by the new suspension bridge.

View from the east.

UP GP40-2 #1451 at Ozol Yard.

 UP GP38-2 #654 pulling past the Martinez station platform on the freight bypass track.

Well how about this for lucky. Amtrak Phase II heritage unit #156 on the first morning northbound San Joaquin train #711 approaching the station with an Approach Diverging indication at FERRY interlocking and a leased Amtrak Superliner in the consist.

Crossing the famous Suisun Bay Bridge.

Better view of the bridge, which includes a vertical lift span.

While passing through Cordellia my train passed what appeared to be a DOUBLE Capitol Corridor trainset. Not sure what was going on with this one, but it appeared to be running in the slot of train 531 and since I don't have any pictures of train 529 I can only assume that something happened and the sets had to be combined.

Amtrak Suisun-Fairfield station.

The Capitol Corridor is straight as an arrow and could really benefit from some 110mph running, but I guess spending 43 billion on a pipe dream is more important.

Capitol Corridor train #533 with cab car #6962 running west just short of the Davis station.

Davis, CA Amtrak station. Davis was a real treat because although its interlocking tower was closed long ago, it has not yet been re-signaled with searchlight signals all over the place and the tower being used as a relay room.

DAVIS interlocking eastbound signal bridge. All the turnouts in the interlocking were 10mph which was just one of several examples of the generally inferior physical plant on western railroads.

Crossing the Yolo Causeway.

Approaching Sacramento with the the new WEST SACRAMENTO interlocking, which is part of the general Sacramento terminal reconstruction.

Crossing the I Street swing bridge.

 Unilens searchlights guarding the approach to SACRAMENTO interlocking and the I Street bridge, which also carries road traffic. This was about to be completely rebuilt as the old station was to be replaced by a new station that would eliminate the sharp curves through the old one.

Due to a slight delay at West Sacramento, Capitol Corridor train #523 was running up our ass as we conducted our station work. Cab car #8307 was in the lead today.

The old Sacramento station, which was retired just two months later.

The new Sacramento Station which was having the final work done to be able to receive passengers.

The Southern Pacific Sacramento shoppe complex, which I heard is going to be redeveloped as a museum or something.

Sacramento Regional Transit LRV's at the light rail maintenance shoppes.

Hooray for blinker doors!

Southern pacific Rotary Plow stationed at the Roseville Yard. From here the Southern Pacific line heads up and over and Donner Pass on the first transcontinental rail line better known as the Overland Route. The Donner Pass sees some of the largest snowfall amounts over any of the transcon rail lines and therefore needs something a little more beefy than a plow car or spreader to keep it clear. 

However conquering the Donner Pass is a story that will need to be left to next week's installment.

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