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Sunday, August 17, 2014

14-08-17 PHOTOS: Seattle Reunion

Last August I was planning to attend a computer security conference in San Diego. I had already completed that year's coast-to-coast Amtrak trip and was basically looking forward to some fun in the sun eating fish tacos, but then a travel buddy suggested that we could use this as an opportunity to take the Coast Starlight. Checking the airfare I determined that it would only cost 2$ more to fly out to Seattle and then back from San Diego so after that a call to Amtrak Guest Rewards set up the sleeping accommodation and I was off to collect another leg of Amtrak's national rail network.

I had been to Seattle once before in 2011 prior to my Empire Builder trip and found it to be a wonderful city (seeing as how I went during the 3-week long Sunny season). This trip would present me with far less time due to the Starlight's morning departure, but I would still have about a day to see some old school friends and ride around on transit. I also was able to see the completed King Street Station, which had just been beginning its refurbishment when I was there 3 years ago.

The complete photoset is right here

Flying in via Southwest I took this photo of Mt. Ranier, which will one day erupt and destroy the SeaTac area.


Sound Transit light rail LRV #141A wrapped to promote a concert series at the Tukwila Station. The line to the airport travels a distance that rivals most commuter rail systems.


Here is a video of SoundTransit LRV's #152 and #120 departing the Tukwila train station towards Seattle.



I had no reason to ride the Mono-D'oh, but I was near the Westlake terminal which is surrounded by trolleybus wire.


Here we see BNSF C44-9W #5261 sitting north of Olympic Park. The waterfront was packed with people and access control due to...sigh...Hempfest. I would have tried getting closer to the engine here, but my friend was refused entry because he had a 5 ounce glass bottle of artisan olive oil. Cannabis was fine, but small glass bottle? That's too much. 


Dinner at Ivar's Salmon Shack provided me with excellent views of the University Ave Bridge and Lake Union.



The University Ave bascule drawbridge is notable for supporting a trolleybus line and its associated overhead lines.


One of the control cabins on the bridge. Note the original traffic control signals embedded in the concrete structure.




South end control tower with the trolley wire structure.




I had gotten a good rate at a place called Hotel Seattle. Well, I quickly discovered that you get what you pay for. Despite being downtown the entire building was ratty with infrastructure that had been last refreshed in the 1970's...or before. One silver lining was the creaky old elevator with the clockwork noises that indicated relay logic. After poking around I made my way into the control room where I found this.


Car leveling was handled by this analogue of the elevator shaft, which I guess saves on wiring physical contacts for the car to trigger directly.




I had a friend in the elevator to run it down to the lobby and back while I took some video. The elevator was a Montgomery product.



From the hotel it was on to King Street station to catch the Starlight's 9am departure. Commuter trains were also coming and going like F59PHI #906 on the front of soon to depart Tacoma train.




Here is a video showing the train with F59PHI #906 and cab car #108 knocking down the R/Y Diverging Approach dwarf signal at STADIUM interlocking just south of King St station.



Orca painted #902 arrived on the front of a significantly shorter Everett train.


No white periods on this busy corridor as a northbound BNSF freight appeared with BNSF ES44C4 #8242, C44-10W #7856 and ATSF painted C40-8W #720



Video of the same train as it passes through the station.



Soon after a northbound "South Line" Sounder trainset with F59PHI #911 and Cab Car #102 arrives at King St station just before the 2-car North Line train with F59PHI #902 and cab car #302 departs for the yard.



Photo of #102 approaching King Street.


Cab car #302 on the rear of the Everett train heading for the yard.


A short while later ATSF painted GP39-2 #2855 trundled through the station long hood forward with a short train.


The rebuilt King Street station was absolutely astonishing.


Even the mezzanine level had been opened providing a great vantage point for photos. 


I have absolutely no idea how they were able to restore the ornate plaster ceilings which had been drilled full of holes to support drop tiles.


I made a number of panoramas:

Waiting Room 360o View
Mezzanine side view.
Mezzanine corner view.

You can see how much damage was done in the still un-rehabilitated event space next to the waiting room.


My train was called and I headed out to the platform. There was a slight delay and I managed to get some photos of our power that day which consisted of P42DC #153 and #167. 


Anyway, next week will be some classic photos, but after that look for the first part of my Coast Starlight trip.

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