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Friday, December 26, 2014

PHOTOS 14-12-26: High Line Phase III

With the partial opening of Phase III of the New York Central High Line it was time to plan another trip to New York City to photograph it. Usually during the holiday season I am in an around the city for Nostalgia Train purposes, but this year I was interested in a bit better transit service and to hook up with some fellow Subchatters who prefer to spend their weekends outside the city limits, so I scheduled my trip for Boxing Day instead.

My secondary mission on this trip was to photograph some of the surviving interlocking towers on Metro North property due to some recent rumblings about demolition and I was able to cover both the former New York Central MO tower in Mott Haven and the former New Haven SS22 in New Rochelle. You can find both the tower and High Line photos in one gallery, right here

We begin with southbound RiverLINE LRV #3501a arriving at the Bordentown Station. With its $1.50 fare and free parking, even traveling with 2 people is cheaper than paying to park at Hamilton.

Who’s that hiding off to the side at Trenton? Why that’s SEPTA AEM-7 #2306 with its bomber trainset. Due to the quasi holiday SEPTA was operating a modified timetable that did without the express runs.

MO Tower, situated at a wye junction en route to a major downtown terminal, is likened to the ZOO tower of New York City. Prior to the 1970’s the tower also controlled the Central’s Mott Haven coach yard complex which was located to the north and was since overbuilt by housing towers. The tower was closed during the 1980’s resignaling projects and was boarded up about 10 years ago when the C&S forces were moved into trailers.

Like most late model Central interlocking towers, MO was equipped with a GRS Model 5 pistol grip type interlocking machine. These machines were not very space efficient compared to the US&S counterparts resulting in rather bloated lever counts which in turn required very long towers. Note the Central era tower placards still denote the proper name of the interlocking.

Of course more than a few trains did pass by the area while I was taking pictures of the tower. Here Shoreliner I #6213 brings up the rear of an outbound push-pull trainset on track 1. I think many of the push-pulls were deadheads to Hibridge Yard as they tended to stop on track 1 for a while before continuing on.

One such trainset was hauled by P32AC-DM #216 with Shoreliner IV cab car #6221.

Inbound push-pull trainset with Shoreliner III cab car #6304 and P32AC-DM #208.

A few M-2/4/6 trainsets could still be found serving the morning rush.

But M7’s were by far the norm.

Here is a brief video montage of the MNRR action at MO junction that day.

SS22, aka “SHELL” is located just south of the New Rochelle station and used to control the junction between the New Haven’s trunk to Grand Central and its connection to Oak Point Yard and the Hell Gate Bridge. The three story structure is made of poured concrete as was the style around World War 1 when it was constructed.

Due to deteriorating roof conditions C&S crews were recently moved into trailers, but I heard that some money has been budgeted to fix the roof and move them back. I was also informed that any potential demolition plans would be held up by the large amount of asbestos in the lower levels of the structure both here and at other classic towers like MO.

Originally equipped with an Electro-mechanical frame, SS22 was converted to NX panel operation in the New Haven era and controlled the local junction as well as the interlocking east of the New Rochelle Station.

Upon my return to the New Rochelle station I realized I had left my camera battery charger in the outlet of the outbound New Haven Line train. Attempts to locate the charger on returning trainsets were unsuccessful, but I was able to source an inexpensive replacement on eBay. I also managed to have enough charged batteries to last me through the SEPTA Mid-Winter trip on the following Monday.

Finally getting to the theme of the photo set I walked by the newly opened High Line Phase III on my way back to catch a train at Penn Station. The first thing that greets you is the first of many new buildings going up as part of the new Hudson Yards project.

The High Line started off strongly with a portion of track that one was actually expected to walk on complete with fake third rails.

Suspiciously modern switch stands had also been sourced.

It was Golden Hour at the West Side Yard complex.

At one point the High Line bridge decking had been turned into a highly innovative children's play area.

Reaching the loop, much of the RoW was still unrehabilitated with a few authentic railroad artifacts left in place.

Another view of the West Side yards.

DM30 #517 hangs out between a whole host of M7s.

Speaking of M7's, 7619 and 7083 were two of the many examples.

Along with additional M7's #7265 and #7249.

Final angle of the yards. Behind me the High Line provided a panoramic view of the Hudson River and New Jersey.

Walking down to the northern terminus at the Megabus stop. The supports look quite modern. Were they refurbished for the park project or by Conrail before operations were suspended?

 Well that's it for this week. Tune in next time for the 14th installment of the SEPTA Mid-Winter Trip.

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