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Thursday, August 28, 2014

14-08-28 PHOTOS: Hudson Line 125th Street

One might expect that the photos from my annual Labour Day trip to New Englande, but this time I took a side trip to visit fellow Subchatter Lexcieeee who happens to live in Ossining which gave me an opportunity to take some photos and videos of the Metro North Hudson Line. The first photo stop was at Oscawana Island, which is that place in Courtlandt where the 3-track Hudson line bores through a small rock ridge via two tunnels.

The next day while connecting to Boston via Amtrak at New Haven I spend an hour or so photographing the morning rush at Harlem 125th St Station. After that I wandered around the New Haven station complex a little longer than I had anticipated due to my Regional train being significantly delayed.

Finally, I took a few more photos in and around the Portland, NH area. You can enjoy the full set of photos here and also stay tuned for a special video post to follow.

We begin at Grant Central Terminal with M3 #8017

Unfortunately that Budd was not for me as I caught a Push-pull trainset to Ossining with Shoreliner cab car #6309.

After heading out to the park, the first train that showed up was the westbound Amtrak Train #49 being pulled by a beleaguered P32AC-DM #707. Heritage cars still in consist.

Following close behind was an MNRR Poughkeepsie train with P32AC-DM #206 in the lead and a red-blue set of Shoreliners behind.

Alex told me that there might be a meet and he was right as two MNRR diesel trains passed, the second pushed by P32AC-DM #217.

Not long after southbound Empire service train #242 with Amtrak P32AC-DMs #712 and #713 popped out of the tunnel on track #3.

Here is a video of both the meet and the double headed Empire train.

As we got into rush hour another northbound diesel train with MNRR P32AC-DM #212 headed north of track #2.

Soon followed by a southbound MNRR on track #3 with P32AC-DM #218.

Last but not least a more to the north end of the tunnels bagged me a rear shot of Amtrak Empire train #237.

Alex catches a M3 express train into the city with the last stop of Tarrytown. I can never pass on filming an express run, but before we opened the taps I snagged MNRR P32AC-DM pulling an outbound diesel train just north of the Tarrytown Station.

Now I didn't actually get off at 125th St. I first rode all the way into GCT to get breakfast with Lexcieeee before heading back out via the (4)/(5) to Harlem 125th St station. Once there one of the first trains I caught was an inbound push-pull set with P32AC-DM #223.

A short while later I caught this trio if inbound MNRR equipment heading towards midtown.

A few M2/4/6's were still running like #8516 here.

Here New Haven Railroad P32AC-DM #229 pulls in opposite a brand new M8 trainset.

Friday, August 22, 2014

14-08-22 PHOTOS: San Diego Streetcar

So if you recall my last few posts I wasn't just riding the Coast Starlight for my health. Unlike many of my cross country trips I actually had a genuine reason to head out to the west coast in the form of a computer security conference in San Diego. Now I've been to San Diego before, for about 24 hours in 2013 and then a longer stay in 2009. This time the 4000 series LRV's were really making the old 1000 series U-2s scarce, however I was pleased to find that the MTS was running its PCC trolley on a downtown loop 3 days a weeks.

Unfortunately there was a bit of a downside in that I left my camera on an ISO 800 setting after a round a night photos so all the day photos look like absolute shit :-( I guess these things happen. Anyway, you can see all the photos here

We kick things off with a new 4000 series LRV arriving and departing from the Gaslamp station.

Three is a crowd at the Gaslamp station as #4015 pulls into the yard while #4023 and #4020 pass by in service.

I was actually completely unaware of the downtown loop PCC service and was taken completely by surprise when #529 pulled up.

Here is a little video montage of the PCC making its rounds.

View inside #529.

The MTS is actually looking to run a full-week PCC loop service and went as far to trade some of its old U-2 trams to some trolley museums in exchange for enough PCCs to implement it. Not a bad deal for a transit system with an LRV fleet to scrap.

Later that night I encountered giant lashup of GE units, including C44-10W #7731. blocking crossings across from the convention center as they flat switched the San Diego yard.

Video of the same.

BNSF road monsters weren't the only thing out at night. MTS trolleys were also pulling into the yard via the waterfront line.

The old U-2's weren't completely gone. I caught #1010 running around towards the end of the morning rush.

About the same time the Coaster trainsets were pulling down into the yard to wait out the mid-day period in the pleasant San Diego weather. Here Bombardier cab car #2306 leads the way.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

14-08-19a PHOTOS: Coast Daylight

The majority of the Coast Starlight run actually takes place in daylight hours, with the longest stretch being from the Bay Area down to the LA Basin via the Southern Pacific's Coast route. In our last segment we left off at Gilroy, about 75 miles below Oakland an at the southern limit of the Bay Area commuting area. In this segment I will cover the section between Gilroy and San Luis Obispo, which is at the extreme northern extent of the LA commuting area.

For those of you who are expecting to see all manner Pacific Ocean shots, prepare to be disappointed as those are all between San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. Now I did take photos along that stretch, but because the Southern Pacific era searchlight signals had all been raped in recent years I decided against my usual survey technique and instead just took side window shots as we went along the coast. While these side window shots show a great deal of scenery and space launch facilities, there is very little railroad related material so I will save that set for some time in the future when I am really hurting for content. :-P

You can see the full set of these photos here.

After passing Gilroy things start positivly enough with a long section of interesting signaling that incorporates both Double Track ABS (a surprising rarity these days in the west) and short section of economy CTC. Here we see CP-CORPORAL at the southern entrance to the northern section of DT-ABS with an automatic signal for northbound trains and spring switch turnout in addition to an AEI reader.

At the exact point where the railroad crosses the San Andreas fault there is the large "Graniterock" gravel quarry complete with its in house motive power. Here we see GRCX #2000, a former Union Pacific SW10 (12-645 rebuild of an EMD SW7) parked next to a GE 44-ton.

Here is an old timey rock breaker just down a bit from a classic Southern Pacific signal bridge that marks the resulption of DT ABS territory.

The Salanis valley is truly the salad bowl of America.

At the Watsonville rail hub HLCX GP38-2 #1814 was switching the yard with UP GP40-2 #1415.

Not everything out of Watsonville was of the "local" freight variety and I was lucky enough to catch a trio of brand new SD59MX locomotives, #9923, #9921 and #9914. With only 25 examples ordered these are some of the rarest units on the UP system. Similar in concept to the NS rebuilt SD60E's, the SD59MX units are variants of the SD32ECO, with lower power 12-710 engines.

Another rare engine I caught at Watsonville was this Cotton Belt painted GP60 #1089.

South of WATSONVILLE JCT were some vehicles that give new meaning to the term "Cabbage Car"

The tidal marsh south of Watsonville would be about as close as the Coast Starlight would get to the coast for nearly 200 miles.

Farm labor transport buses were a common sight because food doesn't pick itself...yet.

Passengers taking a stretch at the Salinas, CA Amtrak Station, where once again the original railroad station was surrounded by a "temporary" fence.

An adjacent railroad museum had both a signaling display and Baldwin built S-10 class 0-6-0 switcher #1237.

14-08-19 PHOTOS: Capitol Corridor South

California's Capitol Corridor extends from Oakland to Sacramento, however there is also a southern section running down to San Jose. I had previously covered the main portion of the Capitol Corridor both in 2012 and 2014, but my Coast Starlight trip provided me with the opportunity to cover the less visible southern portion. Also included in this section is the southern section of the Caltrain line between San Jose and Gilroy.

You can see the full set of photos, which includes a complete line survey, here

We begin at Emmeryville where Train 11 makes an extended, yet non-smoke duration stop.

After departing we ran alongside a cut of crude oil cars sitting under a Southern Pacific era signal bridge.

At 10th St interlocking the line flips from the Martinez to the Niles subdivision. The division post is located at the site of the old Oakland Station which was condemned after the 1989 earthquake. This is also the location of the Southern Pacific's Oakland enginehouse that where 2 UP SD70M's, #4260 and #5055, were standing nearby. Note the BART train in the background.

At MAGNOLIA we pass Amtrak's Oakland maintenance facility which services the California Zephyr and the Capitol Corridor trainsets. Neither Oakland nor Emmeryville have good connections to BART so passengers needing to get to downtown San Fransicso transfer at Richmond. 

A team of C&S employees were milling about the relay room at KING ST interlocking, which was still in service with a opposing Diverging Approach route set in addition to our own.

Just north of Oakland's Jack London station is the famous section of street running along the Embarcadero.

The stop at Oakland was of the longer 20 minute "smoke" variety. In addition to getting to hang out on the platform a bit, I met up with an east coast friend who was on a 15 day Amtrak pass trip. Here we see my perch for this ride, Superliner II, #34508.

Over on main track #1, a short transfer cut of doublestack, rolls by toward the Oakland container terminal with UP ES44AC #8084 in the lead.

Here is a video of the short train traversing the Oakland street running.

SD70ACe #8613 was pushing on the rear end.

As Train 11 was pulling out, Capitol Corridor train #527 was pulling in with Amtrak P42DC #172 providing the power.

As an extra special bonus the RRBX circus train was hanging out south of the city center. Note the BART train in the background.

It was being hauled by a pair of SD70M's including #4551.