Archive for the ‘Amtrak Photos’ Category

Tracking the New Acela Trainset’s Ferry Move

February 22, 2020

Amtrak’s Acela Express will never operate in Northeast Ohio in revenue service, but one of the next generation Acela trains sets passed through there last Monday afternoon en route to a testing facility in Colorado.

The ferry move of Amtrak equipment used the route of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited between Buffalo, New York, and Chicago.

The Acela equipment that is being tested has yet to receive its interior appointments.

Instead, concrete blocks were installed in place of seats to simulate load factors.

The equipment was placed on display for a news media event in Chicago on Track 2 at Chicago Union Station on Tuesday.

The Acela trainset runs on electricity so it was pulled from the Alstom assembly plant in Hornell, New York, by Amtrak P42DC diesel locomotives.

Viewliner baggage and dining cars served as buffer cars an Heritage fleet sleeper Pacific Bend provided accommodations for workers accompanying the ferry move.

Alstom is building 28 Acela trainsets for Amtrak with the first one expected to begin revenue service in the Northeast Corridor in 2021.

In the photographs above, the ferry move is shown at Perry, Ohio, on the CSX Erie West Subdivision east of Cleveland.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

Surplus Domes in Beech Grove

February 20, 2020

Dome cars were a fixture on most of Amtrak’s western long-distance trains through the late 1970s.

But as Superliner equipment began arriving in 1979 many of the dome cars were retired and sold to private owners.

A few domes were rebuilt as dome coaches for the Heritage Fleet and they operated on such trains as the City of New Orleans, Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited.

Domes on the latter operated only west of Albany, New York.

But the gradual retirement of the Heritage Fleet also meant the sidelining of its fleet of short domes.

The Capitol Limited and City of New Orleans lost their domes due to the trains being assigned Superliner equipment. Amfleet II coaches became the standard for the Lake Shore Limited.

Some of the surplus short domes are shown in March 1995 at the Beech Grove shops after being removed from service and awaiting sale to new owners.

Are We on Time?

February 16, 2020

An Amtrak conductor checks his watch to see how close to schedule Train No. 391 is as it pulls into the station at Kankakee, Illinois.

The southbound Saluki was on-time early in its journey to Carbondale.

The image was made on Aug. 5, 2012.

Winding Through the Mountains

February 15, 2020

It is July 31, 1979. I’m riding the westbound San Francisco Zephyr en route to Oakland, California, after having boarded in Denver the day before.

No. 5 is twisting and turning through the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California on the tracks of Southern Pacific.

Up front pulling the train is a pair of SDP40F locomotives.

It’s my first trip on this route and I’m not sure where I made this photograph.

But it was out an open vestibule door window. It was quite a warm day and by the time we got out of the mountains the air conditioning has ceased working in some cars.

Standing by an open vestibule window felt good.

One Day in Joliet

February 14, 2020

It’s April 1972 in Joliet, Illinois. It might look like a Santa Fe train, but it’s one of Amtrak’s Chiefs. Santa Fe F-units are leading an the train into Joliet. AT&SF motive power was standard here in the early 1970s.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Did Amtrak Ever Use This Serving Area

January 28, 2020

I made this image of the upper level of an Amtrak Superliner Sightseer lounge while riding aboard the Capitol Limited from Cleveland to Chicago on May 31, 2012.

It got me to wondering if Amtrak has ever used the upper serving area of a Sightseer lounge.

I’ve never seen anyone working this area in a Sightseer lounge car. It appears that the purpose of this serving station is to provide beverages.

I asked a friend who once worked as a lounge car attendant for Amtrak if he knew whether this serving station had ever been used.

He primarily worked Amfleet cars in the Northeast Corridor, but had made a few runs aboard Nos. 29 and 30 between Chicago and Washington.

He could not recall this serving area being used and suggested that was  because that would mean paying two attendants to work the lounge car.

Perhaps in the early years of the use of Superliners aboard Amtrak this area was used. Yet the Superliner equipment began arriving at a time when Amtrak was being squeezed financially.

Perhaps its a case of it seemed like a good idea at the time the car was designed but in practice the carrier decided it didn’t need to use this area.

Yet the fact that a modern soap dispenser is present suggests that maybe, yes, this area is used at times. I’ve just never seen it done.

A Private Car Was on the Rear of No. 29

January 25, 2020

It is shortly after sunrise in Waterloo, Indiana, as Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited makes it station stop.

I’m riding in the rear Superliner coach and behind us is a private car making the trek with us to Chicago.

A new day has broken over Northern Indiana and there is a little bit of early morning color on the clouds on the eastern horizon.

The building to the right appears to be a former New York Central freight station.

Something to Promote at the Time

January 18, 2020

Amtrak was particularly keen to promote its new equipment in the 1970s as it continued to emphasize the slogan “we’re making the trains worth traveling again.”

That included the use of new SDP40F locomotives that began arriving in 1973 and continued to be delivered through 1974.

An example of that was the cover of the regional timetables that Amtrak issued in the middle 1970s that depicted one of the new locomotives along with a relic of the streamliner era, a dome-lounge-observation car.

Also note that the timetable cover shows a drawing of the new Amtrak station in Jacksonville, Florida.

It may look dated today and remind some of steps that Amtrak took that didn’t quite work out as planned — the use of SDP40F locomotives – or which have not quite stood the test of time — the modular stations designed in the 1970s.

But it was what Amtrak had to promote at the time it did so with pride.

This is Somewhat an Amtrak Train

January 17, 2020

Amtrak was not the only scheduled rail passenger carrier to operate dome cars in the 1970s. The Denver & Rio Grande Zephyr had dome cars as did the Auto-Train.

For a short time in 1976-1977 Amtrak and Auto-Train operated a joint train between Louisville, Kentucky, and Sanford, Florida.

The Amtrak contribution was the Floridian, which operated between Chicago and Miami/St. Petersburg.

The Floridian would combine with the Auto-Train in Louisville and use A-T locomotives as far as Sanford.

At Jacksonville, the Miami section of the Floridian was separated and continued on its way behind an Amtrak SDP40F locomotive.

Interestingly, Amtrak put a dome car onto the Miami section in Jacksonville.

Shown is one of the Auto-Train dome cars on what is now the St. Petersburg section of the Floridian.

The combined Floridian and Auto-Train operation ended with the last joint train departing Louisville on Sept. 3, 1977.

With that Auto-Train gave up on serving the Midwest. Losses that Auto-Train incurred in serving the Midwest played a major role in bankrupting the company and leading to its demise.

The Cleveland Shuffle

January 15, 2020

It’s 0 dark 30 at the Cleveland Amtrak station and passengers are coming and going from the eastbound Lake Shore Limited. I set my camera on a tripod and captured this seen with a telephoto lens.

The view is looking primarily at the Amfleet II coaches. No. 48 still carried a Heritage Fleet dining car and crew dorm in those days.