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Saturday, June 29, 2002

02-06-29 CLASSIC PHOTOS: 2002 Atlantic City Line Mid-Summer Trip

As a special Holiday present I dug back into the archives and pulled out a set of photos taken nearly 10 years ago back when things were a lot more interesting in the local railfan scene. Back then we didn't need Amtrak's special indulgence for "heritage" paint schemes, Silverliner trips weren't of the farewell kind and my local NRHS chapter wasn't afraid to hold formal events. One such event was a special Atlantic City Line trip held in late June 2002. The trip departed from Lindenwold, ran to 30th St station then went all the way back down to Atlantic City before returning to Lindelwold. The weather was perfect and there were many sights to be seen all along the route.

So in lieu of my photo offering, which is still tied due to the huge number of photos taken on my Seattle trip, here is a wonderful slice of railfanning the way it used to be early in the unit decade of this century. You can see the entire set right here or continue reading along. You can also do the "what's not here anymore" drinking game, but I'm not going to bother to prompt you again.

We begin at the PATCO Haddonfield station where PATCO had recently decided to reject its policy of keeping fares low and instead began to spend money hand over fist to "improve" the railroad. Phase one of that project was the replacement of the original wooden ties from 1968 as well as the original porcelain mushroom insulators with PVC plumbing fixtures. On that day in 2002 the tie contractor gang was working within the confines of the Haddonfield station area using a variety of high rail dump trucks like this one.

The track work in Haddonfield meant a crossover move back to the regular track at the Haddonfield pocket track. Back in 2002 PATCO hadn't switched its signals to LED, nor had they replaced the swayback turnout at the north end of the pocket track.

There was no Circa Center or parking garage at 30th St so if you managed to avoid being hassled by the parking deck security you could get some really nice, non-overhead photos of the Race Street engine terminal. Also back in 2002 the term "High Horsepower Locomotive" didn't refer to some POS French thing that looks like a bananna. Nope, that honorific applied to the American built GE E60 that didn't need good looks to smash your ass into the ballast. Here we see #610 hanging out at Race Street probably for weekday Clocker service with #604 hanging out nearby on #10 track for an LD power change.

OMG! HERITAGE PAINT SCHEMES!! Oh wait...that's just how everything was normally back in 2002. Here we see Phase IV P42DC #1 sitting next to Phase V P42DC #147 and Phase III AEM-7 #949 in the background. If you ask me that Phase III AEM-7 scheme was Amtrak's best aside from the Phase III Metroliner scheme.


Because Amtrak still did a lot of power changes at Philly for all its Keystone, Three Rivers, Pennsylvanian and occasional NEC LD trains, Race Street was full of diesels and electrics to accommodate it.

Amtrak's MoW equipment wasn't all modern and "Eco Friendly" either as we can see here with 1950's vintage GP7 #766 in MoW gray.

Because of Amtrak's large mail and express service and their general lack of ridership the Penn Coach Yards were full of roadrailers, express reefers and tones of surplus Amfleets.

The paint schemes weren't the only thing Heritage about Amtrak in those days. Genuine 78-seat Heritage coaches were out in the yard having been ordered back into service by David Gunn due to problems with serviceable Amfleets.

If you'd wondered what the top of a P42 looked like here we see the roof of Phase IV painted units #101 and #105 as they wait just outside the overhand presumably for a power change.

Here we see Amtrak GP38 #720 making a shoving move to attach Phase IV painted heritage double door baggage car #101 and one of the ill fated MHCs onto the front or back of some train.

 Acela Express trainsets were still new back then so it wasn't that uncommon to see some parading around without their roof shrouds, like #2019 here. Note the horn placement.

Remember the old PRR Steam plant that was so callously torn down? Well I do and it was still there in 2002 along with a MARC HHP-8 that was in the coach yard as it carried out its testing program.

Want to learn how to dilute your brand? Apply the Acela name to all of your services and locomotives so that people don't know what they are riding.

Also in the Penn Coach yard was a 4455x Michigan Coach, which were converted from surplus Metroliner cars in the 1980's.

Also back in 2002 Amtrak was continuing to benignly neglect the original PRR step-up transformers in its Richmond substation. About 6 years earlier these units had been rendered redundant by the new solid state static converter plant that to this day has never natched the reliability of the old motor-generator units.

Then as now NJT was fond of using 4200 series GP40PH-2B locomotives for its Atlantic City power pool. Here we see #4206 at the 5 track terminal.

Fed up with Amtrak's servicing fees NJT constructed a fuel pad at the ACL terminal and scheduled fueling runs for its locomotives. Here 4208 makes the several hundred foot trip up the platform to gas up for the day.

NJT had recently completed work to construct a new grade crossing at the mouth of its terminal within the limits of ATLANTIC Interlocking. The crossing was for a 4-lane highway that was to open up a new casino and entertainment complex in the city's Marina district.

Back before the Comet V's freed up Comet IV's to run on the ACL, NJT preferred to stock its orphan stepchild with 1960's vintage Comet IB (Commarrow) coaches. Here we see cab cars #5166 and #5168.

#5164 was on the adjacent track getting a rubdown.

Same as today Northbound trains would still pull off for a timed meet at the Pomo passing siding. In this case for southbound train with GP40PH-2B #4214.

NJT had also cut back on weed spraying resulting in this lovely grass carpet at Hammonton, an effect which has regrettably not returned :-( Ironically the grass carpet was in fullest force outside the lines MoW base. Probably because the crews there knew what was in the weed spray.

WINSLOW tower hadn't had its windows boarded up yet and the SJRR was storing some URHS passenger cars on its siding track.

Cab shot of Commarrow #5168.

Some kids on dirt bikes tearing up the ballast at SOUTH POMO.

We close out the day with what appears to be a 2 car Atlantic City bound train with Commarow #5163 in the lead taken from the front of a PATCO train at the Haddonfield pocket track.

Hope you enjoyed these classic photos. Next week part one of my big summer trip to Seattle.

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