Archive for the ‘Amtrak Photos’ Category

Shorter Lake Shore Limited This Summer

June 21, 2018

Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited is typically one of its longest trains. But it has grown much shorter this summer due to the New York section being suspended due to bridge work in New York City.

The LSL now operates only between Chicago and Boston and is operating as Nos. 448/449 the length of the route. Those numbers previously were used for operating purpose between Boston and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

The train is shown above passing through North East, Pennsylvania, on May 31, less than a week after the New York section was dropped until early September.

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Far From Illinois

June 18, 2018

Amtrak equipment is interchangeable, hence I ran across this Amfleet cafe car in the consist of the Blue Water, a Chicago-Port Huron, Michigan train.

It came with a logo for an Illinois high-speed rail program between Chicago and St. Louis.

The car probably has operated in Lincoln Service train consists many times and might wind up back there soon. But for now it is running around in Michigan.

I wonder how many passengers notice the “welcome” greeting in tiny letters that easily are dwarfed by the high-speed logo.

So Long Durand

June 15, 2018

The passengers have boarded Amtrak’s westbound Blue Water and the conductor has given the highball command on the radio.

Train No. 365 is on time as it departs Durand, Michigan, en route to Chicago. The next stop, though, is East Lansing, Michigan.

P42DC No. 126 is the rear of the train since the Blue Water operates with locomotives on each end so as to avoid having to turn the locomotive or the train in Port Huron, Michigan, during its overnight stay.

Amtrak in Durand uses the Durand Union Station, which once had service provided by the Grand Trunk Western and Ann Arbor railroads.

The station also houses a railroad museum.

Anyone Want to Board Here?

June 8, 2018

An Amtrak conductor stands by an open vestibule of the westbound Blue Water in Durand, Michigan, but all of the passengers are lined up at another vestibule father down.

That’s because the far vestibule aligned with the gate allowing passengers through a fence that separates the tracks of Canadian National (former Grand Trunk Western) and Durand Union Station.

Eventually, a few passengers were directed to board farther down the platform, perhaps because they were holding business class tickets. The cafe car on Train No. 365 was located toward the rear.

The Blue Water departed Durand on time en route to Chicago.

Lake Shore Limited Summer Consist

June 2, 2018

As soon as the eastbound Lake Shore Limited rounded a curve in North East, Pennsylvania, I had the answer to a question I had come here to have answered.

The Chicago-Boston only edition of the train is much shorter than the usual order.

A summer track and bridge project on the route that Nos. 48 and 49 use to access New York Penn Station prompted Amtrak to suspend the New York Section of the train through early September.

Passengers boarding the Lake Shore Limited bound for New York City must make an across the platform transfer in Albany-Rensselaer, New York, to reach the Big Apple and all other points served buy No. 48 south of Albany.

I expected a shortened consist for the Lake Shore, but was a little surprised at how short it was.

What I saw on Thursday was one P42DC locomotive, a Viewliner baggage car, four Amfleet II coaches, two cafe cars and two Viewliner sleepers.

This is just three cars longer than the normal consist of the Boston section of a Viewliner baggage car, cafe car, Viewliner sleeper and two coaches.

Also different is that the train is operating as Nos. 448/449. Those numbers have long been used by Amtrak to denote cars assigned to the Boston section.

But it was the first time I’ve heard the train use those numbers for operational purposes west of Albany.

Late Day in Jackson

June 1, 2018

It is late afternoon in Jackson, Michigan. Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Cities is making its scheduled stop at the venerable former Michigan Central station en route to Pontiac via Detroit.

To avoid having to turn the motive power in Pontiac, the Lake Cities and other trains on the Chicago-Detroit route at the time operated with a locomotive or cab car on one end.

I don’t recall what No. 353 had on the head end, but on the rear was P42DC No. 34 in the Phase IV livery.

When this image was made on Sept. 12, 2003, the Genesis locomotives had been mainstays on Amtrak corridor and long-distance trains for about a decade.

Some things have changed on the Chicago-Detroit corridor since I made this image. All trains have been renamed Wolverine Service and the trains no longer have locomotives or cab cars on both ends.

The Jackson station no longer has a ticket agent, only a caretaker to open and close the depot at train time.

Yet the P42DC remains the mainstay motive power, at least for now. Amtrak was to begin assigning Charger locomotives to this route, once it gets some positive train control issues worked out.

Pair of F40s With Mismatching Looks

May 30, 2018

I was on a tour of Amtrak’s shops and coach yards in Chicago. We were allowed to visit a tower that overlooked the yards and I made this image of two F40PH locomotives on a ready track.

It is a contrast of the old and new, although the contrast is not that much.

No. 302 was built in April 1979 and wears the Phase III look that was introduced that year. It was retired by Amtrak in December 2001, still wearing this livery.

No. 255 was built in November 1977 and still sports the Phase II look. This unit would be involved in a derailment at Silver Spring, Maryland, in February 1996.

It was the trailing unit on the Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited that struck a MARC commuter train that had run past a stop signal.

Second Generation Turboliner

May 29, 2018

Back in the mid 1970s Amtrak tried to make a splash by leasing a couple of French-built gas turbine trains.

Capable of traveling 125 mph, Amtrak knew that the Turboliners would not be able to get close to that in the Chicago-St. Louis corridor where they were introduced in August 1973.

But the Turboliners were the newest equipment that Amtrak had to show off.

The first sets of Turboliners were built in France, but California-based Rohr Industries would build seven Turbotrain sets that were delivered between 1976 and 1977.

These Turboliners were based on the earlier French design but had American couplers and a re-designed cab car.

The Rohr or RTG Turboliners were capable of operating in electrified third rail territory so they were assigned to Empire Corridor Service in New York.

I was waiting for a commuter train in Beacon, New York, in December 1982 on what is now Metro North when one of the RTG Turboliners came charging past.

I had just enough time to get my camera  out and compose this image.

Taking Dinner Orders on No. 7

May 25, 2018

An Amtrak server takes dinner orders from a table in the dining car of Amtrak’s westbound Empire Builder as it cruises through Wisconsin.

It is May 2014 and the train and this is the first meal to be served in the diner after leaving Chicago more than an hour late due to waiting for connecting passengers from a tardy inbound Lake Shore Limited.

In fact, I would have dinner with one of those passengers during the dinner hour. I even recall ordering the steak dinner, one of the few times I’ve ordered it when dining in an Amtrak dining car.

Legacy of the Broadway Limited

May 22, 2018

All of America’s premier passenger trains had dining cars, but only the most elite trains had twin-unit diners in which one of the cars contained the kitchen and the other a dining room.

Twin-unit diners operated on the New York Central’s Twentieth Century Limited and the Pennsylvania’s Broadway Limited for many years.

Amtrak had four sets of twin-unit diners, all of them built in 1949 by Budd for the Pennsy.

These cars were assigned to the Broadway Limited in the early to mid 1970s.

One set of those diners now resides at the Midwest Railway Preservation Society in Cleveland.

It is former PRR 4610-4611, which carried Amtrak roster numbers 8800-8801.

The cars still wear Amtrak’s Phase I livery but the effects of wear and tear from sitting in the elements over the years has taken a toll.

A PC herald is bleeding through the Amtrak red, white and blue paint on one end of the cars.

This twin-unit diner set was retired by Amtrak in October 1983. Presumably it was stored for several years before that.

Like so many pieces of equipment sitting outside the MRPS roundhouse the fate of these twin-unit diners is uncertain.

Presumably they will be at least cosmetically restored some day when money for that becomes available.

That day may be a long time in coming, but in the meantime they serve as reminders of what once was in another time and era that increasingly seems like a lifetime ago.