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Saturday, October 31, 2015

15-10-31 PHOTOS Haroween

Back in the fall I was trying to arrange a day to travel with Todd GP30 to travel to the Harrisburg area to take some pictures of signals and spend a few hours at HARRIS tower with its restored Model 14 interlocking machine hooked up to a software simulation back end. HARRIS tower is only open Saturdays from May to October so we were already running out of time. Unfortunately every Saturday had a conflict...except for the last which happened to be October 31st. So after weighing the comparative merits of Halloween parties versus classic railway signaling, I turned my car north and set out on a mid-fall road trip.

Our trip took us up the west side of the Susquehanna, past Enola Yard, the Rockville Bridge and then back down the west side of the river to the other side of Rockville Bridge before reaching HARRIS tower and Amtrak's Harrisburg terminal complex. You can find the full set of photos here.

NS GP38-2's including #5353 hanging out at the Camp Hill yard on the Shippingsport Secondary. This was the former PRR route to connections with the B&O, N&W and WM at Hagarstown, MD, but was partly supplanted by the parallel Reading RR route.

Former Southern RR high hood GP38-2 #5001 is hanging out at Enola Yard. These units are not cab signal equipped and are used on Buffalo Line local runs.

A lot is being made of the 4000hp NS SD60E rebuilds, but a number of former Classic SD60I's and SD60M's are still kicking about in front line service. SD60I #6735 was waiting for its next assignment at Enola Yard.

A pair of NS SD80MACs hang out near the road entrance to Enola Yard. NS recently purchased the half of the fleet CSX made off with aftr the Conrail merger and plans to partly rebuild the entire fleet. The 5000hp monsters were EMD's initial response to GE's AC6000 model engine.

UP yellow was all over Enola Yard as the newly purchased fleet of SD90/43MACs were being pressed into service after being purchased by NS. The SD90 was going to be a 6000hp unit, but the failure of the 1010H engine resulted in the engines being "temporarily" outfitted with 4300hp 710G engines. With new Tier IV emissions regulations making new locomotives a bit of a gamble, NS has responded with an aggressive rebuild program that includes turning these 100 former UP SD90MACs into SD70ACe equivalents. 

The Enola Yard backlot was stuffed full of locomotives, but the backlighting encouraged me to move on.

Historic Rockville Bridge as seen from the Bridgeview railfan themed bed and breakfast.

Morning sunlight reflected into the westernmost arch of the Rockville bridge.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

15-10-10 PHOTOS: Port Jervis Line

It doesn't get much better than celebrating a wonderful Columbus Day weekend with a classic railfan road trip. After all, riding transit is best done on a weekday, when the service is frequent and express trains are running. On weekends the personal motor vehicle is the far better option for getting around. On this particular trip I enlisted the help of a fellow Subtalker to cruise around Rockland and Orange counties following the Metro North Port Jervis Line, Presented by New Jersey Transit, from Harriman all the way to Port Jervis with stops at Moodna, Hudson Jct, Middletown, Otisville and Port Jervis.

You can check out all the fall foliage tinted photos right here or keep reading for a photo-history of the Metro-North Port Jervis Line, Presented by New Jersey Transit.

The Harriman Station is located at the site of what was once known as Newburgh Junction as it was the point where the Erie RR Main Line branched off towards Middletown and points west from the Newburgh branch to Newburgh, NY. In 1908 the Erie completed the Graham Line a low grade freight cutoff that extended from the Newburgh Branch to parallel the old Main Line on an alignment 7 miles longer, but with no level crossings and drastically reduced gradients.

In 1983 the fledgling Metro-North Railroad shifted traffic off the old Erie "passenger" Main Line to the Graham Line to share costs with Conrail, who still owned and maintained the freight route as part of its Southern Tier route. The old passenger line through downtown Monroe, Goshen, Chester and Middletown was then abandoned. Here you can see the split between the old Passenger Main Line, now reduced to an industrial track, and the Graham Line at the newly rebuilt CP-HARRIMAN.

The old CP-HARRIMAN actually had the switch for the passing siding located near the south end of the single platform making it difficult for trains using the siding to discharge passengers. The rebuilt interlocking relocated the turnout a few hundred feet to the north, but left the old switch and siding stump in place as a dump track. Also left was the old Conrail vintage relay hut and Erie vintage pole line. The 1950's vintage CTC code line was once a chronic source of unreliability with routes taking as much as 20 minutes to come up after the dispatcher requested them. 

Here we see an eastbound PJL train rounding the bend at Newburgh Jct to make the Harriman Station stop. Lead vehicle is a 6700-series Comet V cab car. I don't know the exact number because MNRR is too good to put identification on the front of its rolling stock. 

Power was provided by MNRR F40PH-3C #4908, which is pooled with NJT equipment as part of the service agreement. While trains operating on the line are not strictly required to be owned by MNRR, all the trainsets I encountered were MNRR so I suspect someone sent a memo.

Here is a video of #4908 and its train departing Harriman.

Trains no longer stop at the Central Valley station, but the station still stands, now used by a fresh fish wholesaler.

Like CP-HARRIMAN, CP-CENTRAl VALLEY was recently rebuilt, but the old Erie vintage concrete relay hut still stands along with some of the old pole line.

The Moodna Viaduct is a 3200 foot long crowd pleaser spanning the Moodna Creek just south of the Salisbury Mills station. With a maximum height of 193 feet, it the highest and longest railroad trestle east of the Mississippi River. Here a westbound train crosses the viaduct with MNRR F40PH-3C #4907.

One can drive up to and under the viaduct on Otterkill Road. The viaduct was constructed between 1904 and 1908 by the Erie Railroad as part of the Graham Line and was opened for service in January 1909. Steep and curvy railroad alignments that made freight cutoffs like the Graham Line necessary were originally constructed because Engineering feats like the Moodna Viaduct were not possible using 1860's technology. Still, even in the gilded age cost was still a consideration and the Moodna viaduct was built as a single track structure.

Friday, October 9, 2015

15-10-09 VIDEOS: Hudson Line to Hudson Yards

Yup yup, there is indeed a special video post that goes along with my LIRR QUEENS photo set, but they aren't anything LIRR related because I scored an M3 trainset on MNRR, not the LIRR. Here is some railfan window p0rn from an early morning inbound express train from Ossining making stops at Scarborough, Philips Manor, Tarrytown, Route 125th Street and Grand Central Terminal. Note, the outside does get brighter past Tarrytown.

So for those of you who have yet to experience the newest addition to the NYC Subway here is a series of videos showing the route from various railfan friendly angles from a time when the R62's still roamed the (7). First up is TSQ to HUD from the rear of an R62 trainset.

Next we use the R62's railfan portal to get the forward view along the same segment.

And finally the good and proper forward facing railfan window view from Hudson Yards all the way through to Grand Central.

Well I hope you enjoyed all that. Tune in next time as we hit up the NJT/MNRR Port Jervis Line.


The LIRR has a lot of exciting junctions and since most of them are transit accessible I have been gradually checking them off my to do list. Previously I had visited Valley Stream, Mineola, Babylon and Hicksville leaving QUEENS interlocking on the main line between Floral Park and Queens village as one of the last major junction points to document. Seeing as how QUEENS interlocking stretched between three stations I was faced with the prospect of paying pricey LIRR fares to jump the short distance between stations (something that would also put me at the mercy of the LIRR's schedule). Fortunately, after checking Google Maps, I discovered that it would be reasonable to simply take the train to Floral Park and then walk to Bellrose and then Queens Village.

After wrapping up at Queens Village I transferred to an E train at Jamaica and killed what time I had left on the (7) Extension to Hudson Yards. You can find the complete set of photos here.

I caught a main line express train out to Floral Park after riding MNRR in from Ossining. Here LIRR M7 #7642 departs Floral Park for points east.

Floral Park represents the point where Hempstead Line trains depart the Main Line right of way. While both Main and Hempstead Line trains can serve Floral Park, it is primarily a Hempstead Line station. Here an outbound Hempstead Line train pulls into the 'C' platform with LIRR M7 #7620 through the extended limits of QUEENS interlocking.

Main Line Port Jeff or Oyster Bay train speeding towards the Bellrose station on the Main Line with DE30 #411 pushing from behind. 

Longer Penn Station bound Main Line train bracketed by DM30's #416 and #514.

It was only around 9am so there were still a good number of commuters making their way into the city from Floral Park. Here an inbound M7 train led by #7831 arrives from the Hempstead Branch.

Another inbound DE train led by C3 cab car #5008.