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Wednesday, January 8, 2003


It's the holiday season and that means it is once again time for me to dig into my big bag of toys and pull out an extra special present for everyone. Between March of 2002 and July of 2003 there was a small window of opportunity where I not only had a "newfangled" digital camera, but also the means to employ it on huge epic day trips to the New York City area. In this period of time I managed to go on some some trips that, in hindsight, were quite remarkable and until now were almost completely unavailable since 10 years ago web space was at a severe premium and not only did I have to keep the web photos small, but also take down down after a few weeks.

As you might be aware, from time to time I have been posting "Classic" Photo sets where I go back and re-process the photos to modern standards and give them (hopefully) permanent hosting. In this set I feature an LIRR trip I took in the winter of 2003. This trip was enabled by fellow Subchatter American/Spider Pig and consisted of taking NJT to NYP, then the LIRR to Long Branch, Bus to Far Rockaway, LIRR train back to Jamaica, then alother train to Valley Stream, shuttle to West Hempstead, bus to Hempstead and then finally an LIRR train back to Atlantic Ave.

You can find all the photos here and let me assure you they almost all provide a fascinating blast back into the past. This is going to result in a rather long photo set, but whatever, there's just too much cool involved.

We start off with some photos taken from the front of the then-new Comet V coach which provided a fleeting railfan view on NJT. At Edison I caught a southbound 3-car Keystone train hauled by an AEM-7.

Amtrak LINCOLN tower at Metutchen. The blue tint of the window just makes everything look colder.

The un-resignaled UNION tower.

Suspended 90L signal at DOCK displaying Approach.

76L signal at DOCK displaying Medium Clear with an outbound PATH train.

Another outbound PATH train at the PRR amber PL signal bridge between HUSTON and DOCK interlockings. Visible is the 8R signal for HUDSON interlocking which is still controlled from the 1911 era manned interlocking tower.

Running on signals at HUDSON interlocking with the 12R compact type PRR Position Light showing Approach.

HUDSON's now removed 62R signal displaying Approach Medium. These signals would be removed in conjunction with the high density cab signaling project between DOCK and New York Penn.

Switching to the LIRR remember when the LIRR still had railfan windows? Oh man those were the days. Here we see HAROLD tower passing through HAROLD interlocking.

Running on the express track my train blasted past LIRR M1 #94xx departing Woodside.

Three-way meet between Woodside and Q-Gardens just west of the 52 automatic signal. Everybody is moving at 80mph 

DM30 with an inbound train to Penn Station just east of Q-Gardens.

Outbound train of M1 in the west end of Jay interlocking.

Dualing Approach Slow position light indications at JAY interlocking. 56 and 58R signals.

The late great JAY tower.

Clear signals on the 24L signal at VALLEY.

Slow Approach on a PRR Pedistal signal at LEAD interlocking.

Train of M1's at the Long Beach terminal.

Blue banded M1 9627 at Far Rockaway.

Reverse side of VALLEY tower.

Hey, how about a photo of some M3's? #9926 on the Atlantic Branch. What about the M7's? FUCK THEM.

Popping up out of "the hole" at HALL interlocking with Jamacia spread out before us with a Slow Approach indication on the 10R PRR PL pedestal signal.

HALL interlocking with the late great HALL tower.

M1 #9205 inbound at HALL interlocking.

HALL tower with MP15 #171 passing behind it.

LIRR M1 #9348 on one of the gauntlet tracks at Jamacia.

Alright, time to head back out again, changing trains at VALLEY to get to West Hempstead. Here is my original train heading off down the Far Rockaway branch with M1 #9015 on the rear.

Hempstead shuttle train pulling out of the small yard at VALLEY with M1 #9037.

(East) Hempstead terminal with a pair of M1 trains.

Train of outbound M1's around Garden City.

The old equilateral turnouts at the Bellrose section of QUEENS with an Approach Medium signal on the track 3 signal. These "poor mans high speed turnouts" have since been replaced with "rich man's high speed turnouts"...aka high speed turnouts. 

The late and still great QUEENS tower.

Outbound M3 train with #9890 and DE30 #400 just west of the Jamaica station complex

Closeup of DE30 #400. 

The "Meathouse" signal bridge with 2 Slow Approach indications at the entrance to the Jamaica terminal complex.

HALL tower from the front.

LIRR MP15 #167 towing a dead DE30 through JAY interlocking.

After passing under the west Jamaica flyover hit the signal-bridge/cantilever at the late great DUNTON tower.

The pool of MP15's at the Morris Park engine terminal with the protect pair #102 and #104.

DUNTON's 4L and 2L signals protecting the bi-directional tracks in the Atlantic Ave tunnel. 

I happened on one of the new M7's at the Atlantic Ave terminal where I grabbed some cab shots through an open window.

Last photo is of an Amtrak P32AC Phase IV heritage unit #717 which was making an appearance with some heritage units in Empire service.

Well that sure was a lot of photos, but everyone of them is solid gold. It's amazing the sorts of railfan opportunities we had back them. Shame the technology in terms of recording devices just wasn't there to "preserve" it all.

Tune in next week as we once again travel back down to Georgia via the old Atlantic Coast Line.

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