Archive for the ‘Amtrak Photos’ Category

In Its Customary Position

May 21, 2019

An Amtrak Viewliner baggage car brings up the rear of the westbound Lake Shore Limited as it cruises through Olmsted Fall, Ohio, en route to Chicago.

The next stop for Train 49 will be Elyria, Ohio.

The typical operation of Nos. 48 and 49 has the Boston section at the front of the train. Only the New York section still has a baggage car and it is always on the rear.

And that’s for good reason, too. You would not want passengers walking through a baggage going to and from the Boston and New York sections.

Ahead of the baggage cars are a pair of Viewliner sleepers and Viewliner dining car Dover.

Bound for Miami

May 19, 2019

Amtrak’s Silver Meteor rushes past the Newark Liberty Airport station without even slowing down.

No. 97 is bound for Miami and assuming it doesn’t lose any significant time en route will be halting at its destination in more than 24 hours.

A Little Out of the Ordinary

May 18, 2019


Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited usually has two P42DC locomotives pulling it over most of its route, but on May 16-17, it had three.

The lead unit may have been added at Albany-Rensselaer, New York, as online reports indicated that No. 145 was leading the train out of Boston.

No. 48 was running more than three hours late when I photographed it charging through Olmsted Falls, Ohio, on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

Aside from the trio of P42DCs operating elephant style another out of the ordinary feature of this train was a second Viewliner sleeper in the Boston section.

For those wondering, the train had P42DC Nos.  95, 145 and 28 in that order. The Viewliner dining car was the Dover, which seems these days to be regularly assigned to an equipment set of Nos. 48 and 49.

Rounding the Bend in Berea

May 10, 2019

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited passes through Berea, Ohio, Thursday morning, passing BE Tower, which has long been closed.

No. 48 was running 2.5 hours late. It had been three hours late when it arrived in South Bend, Indiana, earlier in the day.

The Amtrak website reported that the train got out of Chicago Union Station 2 hours and 56 minutes late at 12:26 a.m. I don’t know the reason(s) for the delayed departure.

Whatever the case, it was a rare opportunity to photograph Amtrak in daylight in Cleveland.

Aside from the two P42 locomotives, No. 48 had its normal summer consist.

The Boston section upfront had a Viewliner sleeper, cafe car and two Amfleet coaches. The New York section had Amfleet coaches, two Viewliner sleepers, Viewliner dining car Dover, and a Viewliner baggage car.

Viewliner dining car Springfield was apparently deadheading on the rear of the train.

End of 2 Journeys

May 5, 2019

Passengers disembark at Indianapolis Union Station from Amtrak’s westbound National Limited on Oct. 1, 1979.

For the passengers it is the end of a journey that started somewhere out East or perhaps in Ohio or Pittsburgh.

For the train, it is the last time that No. 31 will call in Indianapolis.

The National Limited began its final trips the day before with the last eastbound No. 30 having already come and gone from Indy last night.

As for myself, I was starting a journey aboard No. 31 that would take me to Effingham, Illinois.

One Morning at Chicago Union Station

May 3, 2019

It is mid morning at Chicago Union Station. I’ve just stepped off the inbound Capitol Limited after boarding several hours earlier in Cleveland.

On an adjacent track is the inbound Broadway Limited. Nos. 40 and 41 are living on borrowed time and will be discontinued in just over a month.

It’s difficult to make good images of trains at CUS due to low lighting conditions not to mention the limited sight lines.

The sleepers on the rear of No. 41 caught my attention. Maybe there is just enough light to make a serviceable image on the slide film I was using.

The images turned out dark and a little blurry. But they remind me of something I can’t see anymore, which is Heritage Fleet sleepers on a train that has been gone more than a decade.

I also liked the mood of the subdued lighting, which seems well suited to portray a passenger car designed for nighttime travel.

No. 2432 in the top photograph was built by the Budd Company in 1950 as Union Pacific 1449, Pacific Waves.

Amtrak retained the name and rebuilt the car to HEP capability in June 1980. Its original Amtrak roster number was 2642.

No. 2051 in bottom image has had a more varied history. It was built by Budd in 1949 as New York Central 10360.

The Central rebuilt the all-roomette care in 1961 to a sleeper coach with a configuration of 16 single rooms and 10 double rooms.

Amtrak reapplied the name Fairport Harbor, which had been dropped by either NYC or Penn Central. At one time it carried Amtrak roster number 2001.

No. 2432 was sold in 2001 and according to the book Amtrak by the Numbers by David C. Warner and Elbert Simon No. 2051 at last report was for sale in 2011. It may have been sold or donated to a museum by now.

Two PRR Icons in Lewistown

May 2, 2019

The news that former Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals are now gone between Harrisburg and Altoona, Pennsylvania, got me digging into my archives.

I remembered having made a photograph of another Pennsy icon passing position light signals in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, on the original PRR mainline between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The image above shows No. 40 arriving in Lewistown on July 2, 1995.

The eastbound Broadway Limited had the standard consist for that era of a pair of F40PH locomotives, material handling cars and a mixture of Heritage fleet and Amfleet equipment.

There remain some of the iconic PRR signals between Altoona and Pittsburgh, but the last of those is expected to come down this summer.

So there is still time to photograph Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian splitting position light signals.

This go me wondering where else Amtrak might operate where there remain position light signals.

The most obvious answer is the Northeast Corridor, but what about beyond there?

Amtrak’s Capitol Limited continues to use ex-PRR tracks between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, but as far as I know all of the position light signals either have been removed or are about to fall on that route.

Several Amtrak trains use ex-PRR tracks in Chicago and northwest Indiana and work has been underway for some time to replace the position light signals there.

There are likely to remain some secondary routes with PRR position light signals, particularly if they are operated by short line or regional railroads that do not handle passenger trains and aren’t covered by the PTC mandate.

As the adage goes, get them while you can.

Amtrak Turns 48 Today

May 1, 2019

You might not have heard much about it, but today (May 1, 2019) is Amtrak’s 48th birthday.

The national passenger carrier commenced operations on May 1, 1971, with a skeletal network and skeletal staff.

At the time, virtually all functions associated with operating the trains were performed under contract by Amtrak’s host railroads.

Amtrak President Roger Lewis has a relatively small staff in Washington, but that was about it.

One locomotive and one passenger cars were given an Amtrak identify, but the trains otherwise looked the same as they had the day before when the freight railroads ran them.

The slogan “tracks are back” shown on a button didn’t debut until later along with another more widely-used slogan, “We’re making the trains worth traveling again.”

I can see why “tracks are back” didn’t seem to gain much traction. Tracks never went away so it’s not clear what was “back.”

 

Now Arriving in Naperville

April 29, 2019

It’s the afternoon of Sept. 1, 1996, and Amtrak’s eastbound California Zephyr is arriving in the station in Naperville, Illinois.

A pair of F40PH locomotives are pulling No. 6 today, but that won’t be the case much longer.

Naperville is the last stop before Chicago Union Station.

Although Amtrak is a major player in Naperville with eight trains daily, most of the passengers who board and disembark here are riding Metra as they commute to work or for other purposes.

Momentous Month

April 26, 2019

There have been times during the nearly 48 years of Amtrak’s existence when significant changes occurred. October 1979 was one of them.

The tenor of those times is shown by the covers of two timetables Amtrak issued that month.

Early in the month Amtrak discontinued several trains and routes, including the National Limited, Floridian, North Coast Hiawatha, Lone Star, Hilltopper, and Champion.

Discontinuance of those six trains had been in the works for some time.

Although the trains in question were to begin their last trips on Sept. 30 a few trains continued to operate for several days in early October under court orders before being discontinued.

Later that month, Amtrak assigned new Superliner equipment to the Empire Builder and instituted a new train between Los Angeles and Ogden, Utah, known as the Desert Wind; and created a Houston leg of the Inter-American.

The timetables featured muted colors printed on newsprint. No four-color glossy covers and slick paper as had been the practice for much of the 1970s.

This subdued style had been the practice in the previous couple of years, probably a reflection of the period of austerity that Amtrak was in.

As massive as the train discontinuances of 1979 were, they could have been worse. A U.S. Department of Transportation report issued in January 1979 called for ending even more trains, but they were saved due to political wrangling in Congress.

The late 1970s were also a time of transition between the streamliner era equipment that Amtrak inherited when it was formed in 1971 and new equipment that began service in the middle of the decade.

That transition is reflected on the cover of the Oct. 28 timetable in which Amtrak tries to establish a continuous onward march of progress dating back to the introduction of the Metroliners by Penn Central.

By contrast, the cover of the timetable issued on Oct. 1 took a more pragmatic approach of announcing changes without giving much, if any, indication of how widespread they were.

Amtrak was using a traditional public relations strategy of seeking to put a positive face on a situation many viewed as adverse.

The bottom text refers to the fact that some routes or portions of routes were being saved through state funding. This affected the San Joquin in California and a portion of the National Limited route in Missouri.

Contrary to the impression created by the late October timetable, Superliner equipment was not being introduced that month.

Superliner coaches had gone into service early in the year on some Midwest corridor trains on a temporary basis.

The Empire Builder would be the first train to permanently get the equipment.