Archive for the ‘Amtrak Photos’ Category

Ready to Pour the Juice

February 22, 2019

It’s the breakfast hour aboard Amtrak’s westbound Empire Builder.

The train is in eastern Washington state and about to pass through some of the route’s most dramatic scenery along the Columbia River.

For the dining car crew, it is the last meal they will serve before arriving in Seattle and some time off.

An Amtrak server holds a carton of orange juice to pour into glasses for passengers eating in her end of the diner.

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All That is Left

February 16, 2019

Amtrak once had a few dozen dome cars, but only great dome Ocean View is left.

The car is in storage most of the year, only being brought out for special occasions and revenue service in the fall.

It is shown here at Jack London Square in Oakland, California, in the consist of a chartered train that operated during the 1999 National Railway Historical Society convention.

That was built by Budd in 1955 for the Great Northern Railway.

I did not ride in Ocean View on this trip and I probably have never ridden in it. My only memory of riding in a full-width dome dates to February 1976 when I rode in one aboard the Empire Builder from Milwaukee to Chicago.

Sunrise at Butler

February 14, 2019

The sun is rising as Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited bangs the diamonds at Butler, Indiana, on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

It is May 22, 2014, and I am on the first leg of trip that will take me to Seattle on the Empire Builder, across Canada on VIA Rail Canada’s Canadian, and back home via the Maple Leaf and Lake Shore Limited.

No. 29 is a little behind schedule and will lose more time before reaching Chicago due to track work on NS in Northwest Indiana.

The crossing track is another NS route, which at one time was the Wabash Railroad line between Detroit and St. Louis.

Somewhere in North Carolina

February 12, 2019

Some memories that some photographs trigger tend to stay with you longer than others.

Such is the case with the image of Amtrak’s northbound Silver Star on Dec. 14, 1979.

I created this image from an open vestibule and have no idea where the train was at the time other than passing through North Carolina.

My sole purpose for riding this train was to ride the train. My mother had died two months earlier and I wanted to get away for a while.

I wasn’t traveling to visit family or friends, to go sightseeing, or to make a business trip. I was traveling just to travel.

I still had vacation time to use at work so I booked a long Amtrak journey that initially took me from east central Illinois aboard the Panama Limited to Chicago.

I then rode to New York on the Lake Shore Limited, my first experience aboard that train and my first experience in a Heritage fleet sleeper. From New York it was south to Washington on the Crescent, my first time riding that train, and a connection to the Silver Meteor to Miami. It was my first time aboard the Meteor.

After an overnight stay in a motel I was back aboard the train, taking the Silver Star to Washington. It was my first time aboard the Silver Star.

I stayed overnight in a motel in suburban Virginia and then took the Colonial to New York and a connection with the Lake Shore Limited back to Chicago.

The last segment was back home aboard the Panama Limited. During this trip I picked up a lot of new miles.

Spending days at a time riding trains just to ride trains was something that I did back during that time of my life. Today, it is something that I rarely do.

There is much to see here that can’t be seen anymore, starting with the two SDP40F units (Nos. 647 and 645) wearing the Phase I livery.

None of the streamliner era passenger cars visible here are still on the Amtrak roster. Note that one of those cars appears to be a former Southern Railway car that Amtrak acquired when it took over the Southern Crescent on Feb. 1, 1979.

I still have a number of memories of this trip. They include milling about the platform in Miami to get photos of the train, a sunset over a lake as the Star cruised through Florida, the process of joining the Miami and St. Petersburg sections at Aurbundale, trying to sleep sprawled across two coach seats and disembarking at Richmond to make more photographs.

I recall at one point during the night feeling the train stop and seeing light from the station platform lights illuminating the inside of my coach. But I didn’t bother to raise up to look out the window to see where we were.

To this day still wonder where that was. Probably it was in South Carolina.

Thus far this has turned out to be the last time that I’ve ridden either the Silver Meteor or Silver Star.

Maybe some day I’ll get back aboard one or both of those trains. If so, it will be a nice ride, but it can’t be the same as it was on this day.

Getting Lucky

February 10, 2019

Photographer Edward Ribinskas describes this photograph of Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited as getting lucky.

Luck was with him in a couple of ways. It started with No. 48 leaving Chicago several hours late in the middle of the night.

Had No. 48 left on time or nearly on time it would have passed through Northeast Ohio in darkness. Of course those aboard the Lake Shore didn’t consider its tardy departure from Chicago as being lucky.

The other luck that with Ed was that an eastbound Norfolk Southern train with Union Pacific motive power came along at the same time as Amtrak, but not too far ahead to block it.

The image was made on Feb. 9 at Davis Road just east of Perry, Ohio.

Tailing Off Into Infinity

February 5, 2019

The Railroad Passengers Association has been running a photo competition titled #ViewsOnATrain. It’s purpose is to publicize what passengers would see out the window of an Amtrak train.

I haven’t entered the contest although I’ve thought about it. I’ve made dozens of views from inside of Amtrak trains over the years.

It can be challenge because the windows are tinted and often dirty from having traveled hundreds of miles.

I would also have a tough time picking out which photos I would want to enter in the contest.

This image, though, is one of my favorites. It was made from my sleeping compartment aboard the westbound Empire Builder as it traveled through  eastern Washington state on a Saturday morning.

I have no idea what road this is, where it goes or where I was when I made the image,

But it summarizes my conception of travel as a journey along an endless road to a destination unknown. Who knows what you might find there?

Not a Good Restart for No. 48

February 2, 2019

First there was the severe cold that sidelined Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited for two days.

Although other long distance trains out of Chicago were to resume operations on Thursday night (Jan. 31), the restart of the Lake Shore was held until Friday.

Make that Saturday morning. No. 48 left Chicago Union Station 6 hours and 28 minutes late.

It managed to gain back some time en route but was still 5 hours, 35 minutes down when it reached Cleveland on Saturday morning.

It is shown passing through Olmsted Falls, a Cleveland suburb, just before 11 a.m. on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

Sunset in Rawlins

January 30, 2019

Amtrak’s westbound San Francisco Zephyr is making a service stop in Rawlins, Wyoming, which gave me time to get off the train and made a few images.

It is right before sunset on Oct. 25, 1981. I tried to work the sunset into a few angles with mixed results.

I was actually ticketed to Los Angeles via the Desert Wind, which ran combined with the SFZ east of Ogden, Utah.

The Wind is now long gone and the SFZ has been renamed California Zephyr and given a new route that bypasses Rawlins.

Although this trip was not my first experience with Superliner equipment, it was one of my earliest trips on the then-new cars.

Linking the Seventies With Today

January 29, 2019

There is much that has changed and much that has remained the same in this view of the southbound Shawnee leaving Mattoon, Illinois, during the summer of 1978.

Train No. 391 now operates under the name Saluki on approximately the same schedule that the Shawnee had. That means it is scheduled to depart Mattoon in late morning.

The tracks the Shawnee is using were at the time this image was made owned by Illinois Central Gulf, but today they are in the Canadian National system. Of course the heritage of this line is Illinois Central.

There are still two main tracks here but the tracks at the far left and far right are long gone. The mainline track to the left is now considered a siding.

Those tracks are relics of another era when the IC has branch line passenger service on its line between Peoria and Evansville, Indiana, that operated via Decatur and Mattoon.

Those trains were scheduled to operate between Mattoon and Evansville, and between Mattoon and Peoria. The Evansville passenger service ended in August 1939 while the Peoria passenger service was discontinued in March 1940. Somehow the tracks used by those trains at the Mattoon station survived for several more decades before being removed.

The bridge in the distance carries Charleston Avenue (U.S. Route 45 and Illinois routes 16 and 121) over the tracks. It has since been replaced.

Back in the late 1970s, the standard consist for the Shawnee was two Amfleet coaches and an Amcafe.

Amtrak still uses Amfleet equipment on Midwest corridor trains, but No. 391 today is a mixture of Amfleet and Horizon fleet cars.

Leading No. 391 is an F40PH. Amtrak years ago ceased using F40s to power its trains although a few remain on the roster as cab cars.

The equipment seen here will arrive in Carbondale, Illinois, in early to mid afternoon and be returned to return tonight to Chicago as train No. 392.

For those interested in such things, this photograph was made with Kodak Tri-x black and white negative film and scanned from the negative.

Tis The Season for Late Trains

January 23, 2019

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited is running five hours late as it rushes through Berea, Ohio, on Jan. 22 on Norfolk Southern tracks.

No. 48 was 3.5 hours late leaving Chicago Union Station the night before and was expected to reach New York Penn Station at 11:57 p.m. on Tuesday night, having lost another half hour en route.

Note that No. 48 has its winter consist of one coach for the Boston section and two coaches to New York. The Boston baggage car is gone.

Also in the consist is Viewliner diner Montgomery, a city in Alabama that Amtrak has not served in several years.