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Friday, August 30, 2013

13-08-30 PHOTOS: Downeaster Exeter

For the last couple of years I have had a friend up in New Hampshire that has provided me with an excuse to go up there from time to time and make use of the Downeaster train service. Recently he moved from one location to another in the Portsmouth, NH area and as a result I have switched the station I use from Dover to Exeter. In this photo set I'll show some photos and video from Amtrak's Shore Line, a few pics from North and South station and finally a few of the Exeter, NH station area.

You can find all of these photos right here.

We begin in the New Haven trench just west of downtown. I was hoping to get a series of photos out the back of my Amtrak train, but morning shitty weather threw a wrench in the works. Before I gave up in the interest of shooting video here is SLE cab car #1711 on point for an eastbound SLE train that would follow ours. Power was P40 #840.

At Shoreline Junction we passed a westbound Acela Express trainset with power car #2015.

View out the back of the train as it passes through the East Haven tunnel complex.

As I said between Guilford and the Connecticut River bridge I shifted over to video from the back of the train due to poor lighting conditions.

More video from the rear taken between Providence and Route 128. This includes one of the 150mph sections used by AX trainsets.

After Route 128 I shot directly from the rear vestibule using HD video. This includes the famous Southwest corridor trench and the MBTA junction at Readville.

MTBA F40PH-2C #1074 at South Station.

Power for my train was AEL-7 #944.

The highly ironic Veterans cab car #1528 was also at South Station. The irony comes from the fact that the car was constructed by Messerschmidt, the same Messerschmidt that built fighters that many of those same Veterans faced over Germany in World War 2. 

Train inbound to North Station with a route cleared for an outbound train on Track 9 across the twin drawbridges.

 Amtrak P42DC #113 next to the departing F40PH #1012.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

13-08-24 PHOTOS: Bush Movable Bridge

Amtrak has always been a political creature and often has to curry favor with those that might not be its biggest supporters. Over the years Amtrak has named a P42 after former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson and also named an interlocking after the 40th President of the United States Ronald Ragan. Well drawing from the same playbook Amtrak has upped the ante naming another interlocking and movable bridge after the 41st and 43rd Presidents of the United States.

No matter your politics the Bush movable bridge is a fantastic photo location if you can ever find the way to get out there. More accessible from a public boat launch on the south side the Bush movable bridge is only scheduled the open on Saturdays between May and September, once in the morning and once in the evening and only if boats are waiting. This low degree of usage allows Amtrak to prioritize the structure for rail traffic and opening the small bascule span requires the rails to be unbolted by MoW crews.

After an unrelated visit to Susquehannock State Park I tried to catch the Saturday evening opening, but alas arrived too late for it, if it even happened at all. However I was able to get some great photos of the bridge and a couple of Amtrak trains that passed over it. You can find these and other photos right here.

We begin with southbound Amtrak Silver Service train with HHP-8 #659 crossing the bridge.

Here we see a video of Amtrak Regional Train #163 with AEM-7 #936 heading southbound over the Bush River drawbridge. Note the noise of the train hitting the drawspan.

In this video we see Amtrak Regional Train #192 with AEM-7 #909 heading northbound over the bridge.

If you are wondering where all the white gunk and sticks came from here on the northbound home signal of BUSH interlocking the perpetrator is sitting standing atop his or her handiwork. As you can see PRR position light signals make for great Osprey habitat.

 View through the concrete arches on the Bush Bridge.

Zoom shot through the other set of arches as a boat passes under the closed draw span.

Video showing the light playing off the water under the bridge.

Southbound Acela Express with power car #2033 heading over the bridge.

I'll finish with another shot of the Osprey using his zoom vision to check out me while I use mine to take a photo of him.

Next week its time for another trip to New Hampshire.

Friday, August 16, 2013

13-08-16 PHOTOS: Bryn Mawr Morning

The SEPTA Bryn Mawr station on the old PRR Main Line is an interesting location. As built by the PRR was the location of a full 4-track crossover that allowed it to be the location of various short turn "Bryn Mawr Locals". It is also the location of one of the original 4 44kV to 11kV substations built for the 1915 electrification project. Located at milepost 10 it is exactly halfway between the original end of the electrification at Paoli and the logical spot for a crossover.

Today the station still serves as a terminal for R5 Paoli/Thorndale Line short turn locals during peak periods, although the 1890's vintage interlocking tower was closed in 1994 after a fire with control being transferred to PAOLI. Another advantage of the in-station interlocking is that it is impossible to install track fences and thus provides to open sight lines for photography.

There are some runblings about relocating the interlocking to the Villanova area to better balance traffic between the Paoli express trains and the Bryn Mawr locals, so I figured it would be a good idea to head out there early one summer morning with Chuchubob in tow to document both the station complex and the inbound rush.

You can find the full album of photos right here.

As with many of my trips we begin in Baltimore waiting for my Amtrak train to the north where I captured the meet between northbound Amtrak Regional Train 180 and overnight Regional Train 67 at Baltimore Penn Station. Train 180 was powered by AEM-7 #949.

Arriving late in the morning rush I caught an inbound train of Silverliner V's on track #3

The "R4" Bryn Mawr locals lay up on track #3 west of the station. This can change depending on the presence of Keystone trains running express.

View of the station with original 1915 PRR catenary work. It's a real work of art.

Rear view of the old BRYN MAWR tower which now serves as a C&S base. The new tower isn't as pretty.

Due to the way the interlocking is configured inbound Bryn Mawr locals pull forward onto track #2 and then platform across track #1 before crossing to track #1 as they proceed east.

Bryn Mawr interlocking is one of the few places where one can still find 155 pound "Pennsylvania Special" rail in service on a main line railroad. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

13-08-09 PHOTOS: Summer Fun

Over the course of my various photo outings there occur from time to time small numbers of photos in larger sets that don't really have much else that's worth posting. So as time goes by these bits and pieces add up until I actually have enough for some semblance of a photo post and here it is.

Most of what follows was captured along the CSX Philly Sub as I went out to document the B&O CPL signaling that was undergoing replacement earlier this summer. The rest were taken while puttering around doing activities in August.

We begin with a video as CSX ES44AC #780, SD70MAC #4805, C44-10W #5428 rolls eastbound past the STEPNEY automatic CPL signal on the former B&O Philadelphia Subdivision with a single stack COFC train.

Moving on to the CLAYTON automatic CPL at milepost 74 we find that the big ticket road freight engines have taken the day off to be replaced by local power SD40-2 #8368 and SD40-3 #4015 with a string of autoracks.

Moving on to the milepost 80 WHITEMARSH CPL automatic we catch C40-8 #7516, one of the dwindling number of standard cab GE units, at the head of a long train of hoppers.

In the #2 position was AC4400 #159 as #7516 takes the signal. Doesn't look like the AC is working on old #7516 either.

Maryland MTA LRV #5019 at the Convention Center station after an O's game.

CSX ES44AC #702 heading westbound on the Old Main Line near Lisbon, MD at the MP 36 automatic signal with a string of empty coal cars.

ES44AC #978 was in the #2 position.

If you were wondering why railroad enthusiasm seems be so male oriented it's probably because all the ladies are off hanging out with meat horses. The OML MP 36 automatic is near the stable where my friend is the only guy with a horse. Here is one of the other horses that live there, Chance E Pants, a riot control sized Clydesdale. To put that into railroad terms he would be like an AC6000 or DD40AX.

To put his size in perspective here Chance is with some friends. All of these horses were adopted from Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue

BTW if you're ever driving down I-95 in Virginia I highly recommend a stop at the new National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico.

Also if you happen to be in Baltimore over the summer check out Artscape, the country's largest free arts festival where you can find things like this wire dragon sculpture for sale. It's a lot more interesting than Bronycon.

Anyway I'll be back next week with photos from my Peninsular Campaign.