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Thursday, December 1, 2016

16-12-01 PHOTOS: North Central Limited

So every year I try to make it out to Chicago and after a 2 year hiatus I would once again be patronizing the Capitol Limited in the process. Unfortunately I would be taking the train in the westbound direction during the month of November, which meant that I was pretty much out of light upon departure from Washington, DC. Further on, light travel closed the rear coach so I lost my other chance at train-based photography. However I was able to patronize the new First Class Lounge at Chicago Union Station and get some photos of the CUS yard complex from Roosevelt Ave while walking to Trader Joes.

The video content from the trip will come in a followup post and consists of a North Central Service express run inbound to Union Station from O'Hare. You can view the full set of photos here.

The engines for my Train 29 that day were Amtrak P42DC's #51 and #133, seen here sitting at the long platform with K Tower at the end.

On the opposite track was MARC MP36PN-3C #16.

As this was the height of the evening rush, a VRE gallery car trainset hauled by VRE MP36PH-3C #V65 made its way from Ivy City to the lower level of Union Station.

Out on the old B&O main line, between the new crossover at MONTROSE and the station stop at Rockville, we had a friendly race with a set of classic style WMATA equipment on the Red Line.

Due to the time of year and the crappy weather I lost light pretty quickly, but I did manage to snage these interesting photos of the Metropolitan Grove and Germantown MARC stations. Come on Germantown, install some LED lighting already!

Skipping ahead to Chicago, Amtrak P42DC's #76 and #67 were both at the Lumber St locomotive shoppes.

P42DC #133 at the end of its run in Chicago Union Station.

The new Metropolitan Lounge at Chicago was quite nice with multiple levels, showers, light refreshment and all the right touches.

Pepsi Cans no more, Amtrak P32-8WH's #519 and #504 were switching cars in the coach yard in their new Phase V paint.

With the morning rush over, METRA trainsets were filling their allowed tracks south of Union Station.

Amtrak P42DC #68 arrived at the head of some Illinois Service train.

The westbound Lake Shore Limited also passed under the Roosevelt Ave Bridge, while BNSF GP39-3 #2655 switched the METRA yard. Because BNSF has the contract for the Aurora Line METRA service, they supply their own switchers for such duties.

A few minutes after that I managed to catch an Amtrak Train 51 Beech Grove Special. This was a westbound Cardinal with equipment returning from the Beech Grove shoppes. In addition to this the entire Train 51 was coupled behind P32-8WH #517, a pair of Superliners and a buffer car. Train 51's P42DC was #4.

Union Station was set up in its Christmas Mode with a little "Polar Express" locomotive sitting behind the new information booth.

Because the entire old station cavern was being reconstructed, new boarding procedures had been introduced with passengers getting numbers and standing in boarding lines, Southwest style, in the old waiting room.

So next time I'll post a special video supplement detailing my morning METRA train race in from O'Hare Transfer on the North Central Service, but here we see my non-express outbound NCS train waiting on Union Station Track #1. I love how the workers still rate a watchman with a (W) sign. 

To Be Concluded!

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