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Sunday, April 21, 2013

13-04-21 PHOTOS: Boston Redeye

So now to finally finish my story of trying to get to Boston after a kerfluffle with a terrorist dying in a boat cancelled my existing travel arrangements via Amtrak Train 95 on Friday evening. I had been intent on just cancelling my trip and was in the process of returning to Philadelphia when received word that the trains were running again. Taking action I got off my RiverLINE train in Robeling, NJ and after booking a ticket on my usually blacklisted Train 66 I headed back to Trenton and then New York.

Train 66 arrives at 2am as you saw before I went down to the South Ferry station to grab some photos of the new old station and its gap fillers. Upon returning to Penn Station and grabbing a bite to eat I went to kill 3 hours in the Amtrak waiting room when I noticed that Train 66 was now listed as "Delayed" on the big board. A trip to Amtrak customer service with the question "is Train 66 running" yielded the response "technically yes, but it was hit by a tornado and is stuck south of Washington, DC.

Well now I was pretty much screwed seeing as there was no way to abort my trip aside from taking Train 67 back down south which involved the same wait, but a disappointing outcome. It was only on another trip back to Amtrak customer service when I heard another traveler being told that the buses were running again and if I was to walk up to the PABT I could catch a 3am departure.

Well desperate times call for desperate measures so so all I had to do was walk the 8 blocks from Penn Station to the Port Authority Bus Terminal. If being forced to ride a Stinkbuggy wasn't bad enough it had started to rain and I must have looked at someone the wrong way because the next thing I knew I was running for my life! I managed to get away, but that's when the CHUDs came after me.

I eventually managed to purchase a ticket on the 2AM departure, which was the first bust departure north since the lockdown. There was a rather long line, but they had enough buses lined to to take everybody and I got on a 1/3 filled brand new 2013 bus that had not yet been thoroughly stinkafied. Departing about 30 minutes late I managed to fall asleep somewhere on the Thurway and woke up as we were pulling into South Station right on time. You know I'm committed to trains, but the Bus service can be reasonably nice so Amtrak had better not slack off in terms of service.

Anyway, in Boston I was scheduled to catch the first northbound Downeaster departing at 8:50, which was still several hours away. To kill the time I hopped an Orange Line train to Oak Grove and later took some pictures at South Station. A few days later I reversed the process and headed home from Exeter.

Anyway enough narritive as I assume you all want some photos. Again you can find the full set here, just scroll down a little.

First off is a video of my Rutgers wrapped RiverLINE train as it heads south from Robeling without me. Thanks to the POP system I didn't have to get a second fare to abort my trip.

In Trenton I got video of HHP-8 #663 arriving with a southbound Regional. The Limited Clear signal at the end of the eastbound platform was for an approaching Keystone. The southbound Regional is greeted by a Medium Approach indication at the end of the westbound platform

And a northbound Keystone departing past the Limited Clear signal at the end of the eastbound platform with AEM-7 #950.

NJT Arrow III set parked on track #4 at Trenton. #1327 has had its original United Knitting Machine twin arm pan replaced by an off-brand Schunk type.

Here is a brand new 2013 Van Hool....HA, just kidding. Of course I didn't take any pictures of the Bus or PA Bus Terminal. Instead here is an interior view of 1200 series Boston Orange Line car #1230. It's a shame we're going to loose that fine wood paneling when the cars are retired. They just don't make things like they used to any more. :-(

#1230 facing the Stop signal at Oak Grove.

#1220 preparing to head back south at Oak Grove.

MTBA F40PH #1001 seen hanging out at North Station. #1001 was part of one of the first F40PH orders by a commuter railroad back in 1978. #1031 in the background might look the same, but is actually an F40PHM-2C built by Morrison Knudsen in 1992.

Amtrak P42DC #72 at the head of the early morning Downeaster. Due to trackwork I would be treated to a rare millage trip over the Reading line instead of the more usual Lowell Line via the Anderson RTC.

Two routes had been cleared out of North Station through the former Tower A interlocking plant.

My Downeaster set that day was also sporting a rare twin P42 configuration with #204 on the rear shown here as the train departs Exeter.

Friday, April 19, 2013

13-04-20 PHOTOS and VIDEOS: (1) South Ferry (1)

Due to my whiplash trip to Boston during the lockdown weekend I am really having to break my photoset up simply because I took such a wide variety of pictures as my plans careened back and forth from cancelling my trip and pressing on to Boston. If you remember the last set of Photos I was left on the Sandy Ferry with no hope of completing my trip and my sights set on an Amtrak train from Philly to Baltimore departing at 9:30pm. Well I got as far as Robeling, NJ when I got word and Train 66 was un-cancelled and after booking a ticket I headed back to NYC and found myself in Penn Station with about 4 hours to burn before the 2AM scheduled arrival.

Luckily there was one major sight I had wanted to see that would not be affected by the darkness and that was the brand new old loop at the South Ferry terminal on the (1). I had previously gotten photos and video of the loop operations with my old camera, but the video was low def and I had lamented never being able to capture the squealing wheels and gap fillers in HD. Well just like with the Rockaway Ferry is was Sandy to the rescue once again, destroying the new station and pressing the 1905 technology back into service.

My first checkbox item was to use the railfanable window in the R62 to get front end video all the way around the loop. I had to split the video between two trains of course, but you can watch the whole thing here as I go from Rector to South Ferry and back again all without changing perspective.

Here we see R62 #1841 waiting for the few passengers that might arrive at 11pm.

The 102 gap filler signal illuminates when the fillers have extended.

The #103 gap filler. The South Ferry fillers are pneumatically operated using standard US&S pneumatic switch hardware. If you look closely you can spot the pneumatic piston.

Noisy 5 train squeals by on the inner loop while #1841 waits patiently for its departure time.

1905 station art. Much nicer than what was installed 100 years later and a lot more cost effective.

Gap filler control panel inside the dispatcher's office. While interlocked and signaled like any other appliances on the NYCS, the SF gap fillers stand apart from the regular signaling system. There are 5 distinct "fillers", one for each of the first 5 cars on an arriving train. Each of these in turn has three filler units that extend to meet the doors on an IRT dimension subway car. The filler panel has a unit lever for each of the per-car fillers, and each of the per-car fillers is connected to its own track circuit. Normal position is retracted and reverse is extended. Normally operation is fully automatic, but the dispatch staff can take manual control. I suspect the fillers automatically engage when the first five cars fill their track circuits and then disengage when the train edges forward over the insulated joint in front of the 102 signal.

Click for a larger version.!/NYCTA_South-Ferry-Int-Gap-Filler-Panel-lg.jpg

Dispatch office and exit to the Ferry terminal. The TA had done a remarkable job cleaning the station up for service.

Mind the Gap? Not here!

13-04-19 PHOTOS: Put it In H!

On April 19th I had an ambitious plan to Amtrak into New York City, take the LIRR out to Hicksville for some photos, swoop down and ride the H train and then catch an M-2 set on Metro North for a trip to New Haven before continuing on to Boston. Well due to a wannabe terrorist bleeding to death in a boat the Boston and New Haven part of the trip was thrown into a cocked hat, but those segments that began with H seemed to work out so this week's first set of photos is hereby brought to you by the letter H in the form of Hicksville, Howard Beach and the H Train.

You can find all these photos here and don't worry I'll cover the Boston stuff shortly.

We begin in Baltimore Penn Station where the southbound Train 67 was hanging out with a poor man's dual mode consisting of AEM-7 #927 and P42DC #104. Amtrak does this when there is overnight work on the shore line that requires the overhead catenary to be de-energized. Here we see Train 67 depart toward Washington as northbound Regional train 180 arrives with AEM-7 #926

And a photo of the pair before departure.

Fast forward to the LIRR's Jamaica terminal where we fine M-3 #9801 sitting in the yard there framed by the A09 automatic signals.

After arriving at Hicksville around 10am I caught a westbound train of M-7's lead by 7031 passing through DIVIDE interlocking.

The Port Jefferson shuttle was powered by DM-30 #521 and departed after the westbound M-7 train platformed.

 Here is a video of the PJ shuttle taking the Medium Clear signal at DIVIDE.

M-7 #7405 with another westbound train this time on track #2.

7405 et al departing Hicksville and taking the Clear signal on the PRR position light mast at the west end of DIVIDE.

The DIVIDE 3-2W signal displaying Restricting after the M-7 train's departure. The LIRR continues to use the pre-1956 PRR set of signal rules which do not include the Medium Approach indication. Prior to Medium Approach ( --- over */* ) train diverging to stop would get Approach Medium and then diverge over Approach. This leaves many LIRR position lights without a slow speed route option as they are lacking the / position on the lower head.