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Monday, October 13, 2003

03-10-13 PHOTOS: Last Redbird Trip

Well this little gem from my archive should be a real crowd pleaser. Back in 2003, the MTA had already disposed of its classic Redbird fleet on the main line portion of the IRT, leaving only venerable (7) line with their slightly updated "World's Fair" R36 models that were purchased in anticipation of the unsanctioned 1964 Worlds Fair. As more and more of the bland, monotonous R142s were delivered, R62's were displaced from a number of main line services to in turn retire the holdout R36's. As the number of Redbirds continued to dwindle, I made a special trip up from Baltimore in the fall of 2003 in order to get one last ride before they were gone for good. Accompanying me was still active Subchatter, Spider Pig.

You can find the full set of photos here.

Back in 2003, the MARC service HHP-8's were brand new. 15 years later they are circling the drain, just like the Redbirds were after 40 years of service. Here #4913 hangs out at Baltimore Penn Station's track 5.

The brightly colored GP40-2WH's, like #56 seen here, have also been displaced by newer MP36PJ-3C's.

MARC AEM-7's like #4901 seen here, have also disappeared from service, despite having been supposedly refurbished just a few years ago. They will be replaced by diesel power because clean energy and all that.

At least the new NJT ALP-46's and Comet V's have not yet been replaced like the HHP-8's. #4614 and #6033 seen here at Hamilton, NJ.

One problem with Riding the WF Redbirds late in their career was that they only made appearances during the peak periods. Throughout the rest of the day it was all R62's. Imagine the irony when 13 years later it would be all one could do to catch R62's in place of the newly arrived R142/188's. These photos were taken of R62 local and express trains at Woodside. Note the all-day express service and still active 65th St. interlocking and tower.

In this view of Sunnyside Yard you might notice three ALP-46 hauled Amtrak Clocker trainsets. The ALP-46's displaced the Amtrak E60's and then Amtrak turned the slots over to NJT entirely since 90% of the traffic originated in Trenton.

Behind the REA building on the Sunnyside engine tracks, an NJT push-pull set comprised of Arrow IIM cars sits next to an Amtrak Regional trainset hauled by AEM-7AC #919.

 The sad state of affairs at the Corona Ready Yard with only a single Redbird trainset in the lineup :-(

The trainsets begin to emerge for the afternoon peak runs.

The T/O of R62 #1987 stopped and popped his head out, recognizing us both from Subtalk! unfortunately I forgot his name. Perhaps someone knows who he is and what he's been up to in the last 15 years.

Finally the Redbird set pulled out of the yard.

Because the Redbird set would be headed inbound to Times Square, Spider Pig and I decided to trail behind in an R62 set and then get off at Woodside, catching the Redbirds on the rebound. Here is a photo of R62 #2028 on the tail end of an eastbound local that I took while waiting.

They eventually showed up on an outbound express run with #9650 in the trailing position.

Interior of #9650.

Redbird #9582 at Flushing Main St.

Since the last remaining trains of Redbirds were a real focal point of area railfans, we just happened to run into BMT Jeff, who was doing the same thing we were.

Ironically, because of camera limitations and my desire to actually ride the last remaining Redbird set, I didn't wind up with a lot of photos of it. Before departing for home, I did manage to document the condition of the 40 year old carbon steel cars at Times Square. And yes, I snagged a few chips of rust and paint for postarity ;-) 

Anyway, next week I'll be back with more 2016 Autumn Express photos!

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