Posts Tagged ‘Amfleet coach’

Pennsylvanian, Capitol Limited Consists Shuffled

January 15, 2020

An online report indicates that Amfleet II coaches have been removed from the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian and replaced with Amfleet I cars.

The equipment change may have been motivated by a bid to increase capacity because Amfleet I coaches have 12 additional seats per car.

At times the Pennsylvanian has experienced standing room only conditions between Harrisburg and Philadelphia on weekends.

The typical Pennsylvanian consist until this week had been a business class car, Amfleet cafe car and lounge, three Amfleet II coaches and one Amfleet I coach. The train also has a Viewliner baggage car.

Reports also indicate that the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited is operating with its winter consist of one crew car, one sleeper, Cross Country Cafe for sleeper class passengers, Sightseer Lounge, two coaches and a Viewliner baggage car.

The crew cars has sleeping accommodations available for sale to the public.

Motive power can be one P42DC, but some recent sightings have shown two locomotives assigned to Nos. 29 and 30.

One online report from a passenger who rode on No. 30 earlier this month said the train was oversold leaving Chicago.

The report quoted two Amtrak onboard employees as saying that overselling had happened before and that the train is often sold out between Chicago and Pittsburgh.

The normal consist for the Capitol includes another sleeper and coach.

The online reports indicated that a computer glitch had allowed some passengers to buy sleeper space in the car that was dropped for the winter.

Amtrak typically reduces the consist of Nos. 29 and 30 in January as well as those of other long-distance Superliner-equipped trains.

All Board the Maple Leaf In Syracuse

August 29, 2019

It’s train time in Syracuse, New York, as passengers board the Maple Leaf bound for New York City and points in between. The image was made in May 2014.

The Art of Black and White Photography

August 15, 2019

Digital photograph has many advantages but one of the most underused one is the ability to transform an image from color to black and white.

I don’t often see this done and I’m just as guilty as anyone else in not thinking about doing it.

What I have learned, though, is that recognizing when to convert an image from color to black and white is an art in itself.

It works well in situations in which the colors are subdued, often to the point of the image virtually being black and white anyway.

When I was processing this image of Amtrak’s westbound Blue Water at Durand, Michigan, it all but called out for conversion to black and white.

There is strong back lighting from the sun that washed out the color anyway.

Making the image black and white helped to draw out the contrast and enhance the mood.

Train No. 365 is waiting for time. It arrived in Durand a little early and all of the passengers have boarded.

A few onlookers are gathered along the fence waiting to see of a Boy Scout troop that boarded.

The conductor is standing by a vestibule waiting to give a highball and accommodate any late arriving passengers.

Note also the contrast in shapes of the Amfleet and Horizon coaches in the train’s consist, a testament to competing philosophies of passenger car design.

Hanging With the Hoosier State in Its Final Week

August 4, 2019

Boarding has begun for the Chicago-bound Hoosier State on June 25 at Indianapolis Union Station.

By the time I arrived in Indianapolis Amtrak’s Hoosier State had just one week left to live.

I would experience No. 851 three times before it made its final trip on June 30, riding it once and photographing it trackside twice.

I have ridden the Hoosier State several times but not since August 1991.

Interestingly, my purpose for riding the Hoosier State nearly 28 years later would be the same as why I rode it in 1991.

I was moving and needed to go back to my former hometown to pick up a car and drive it to my new hometown.

In 1991 I had driven from Indianapolis to State College, Pennsylvania. In 2019 I drove from Cleveland to Indianapolis.

Boarding of No. 851 began shortly after I arrived at Indianapolis Union Station on the morning of June 25.

I was the second passenger to board the Horizon fleet coach to which most Indy passengers were assigned. The car was about two-thirds full.

The consist also included an Amfleet coach, an Amfleet food service car and two P42DC locomotives, Nos. 77 and 55.

We departed on time but a few minutes later received a penalty application near CP Holt that required a conversation with the CSX PTC desk.

We would later encounter a delay between Crawfordsville and Lafayette due to signal issues.

Yet there was no freight train interference en route that I observed. We stopped briefly in Chicago so a Metra train could go around us.

That was probably because we were early. We halted at Chicago Union Station 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

I had heard the former Monon can be rough riding, but I didn’t think it was any worse than other Amtrak routes I’ve ridden.

There wasn’t any of the abrupt sideways jerking that I’ve experienced on other Amtrak trains.

The journey did seem to be slow going at times, particularly through the CSX yard in Lafayette; on the former Grand Trunk Western west of Munster, Indiana; through the Union Pacific yard on the former Chicago & Eastern Illinois; and within Chicago.

Overall, the experience was much the same as riding any other Amtrak Midwest corridor train although it featured an entrance into Chicago that I had not experienced before in daylight.

The crew said nothing about it being the last week of operation for Nos. 850 and 851.

My next encounter with the Hoosier State came in Lafayette on June 28.

No. 851 arrived on time with a more typical consist that included cars being ferried from Beach Grove shops to Chicago.

These included a Superliner sleeping car, a Viewliner baggage car, a Horizon food service car, and a Heritage baggage car in addition to the standard Hoosier State consist of three cars. On the point was P42DC No. 99.

I was positioned next to the former Big Four station at Riehle Plaza so I could photograph above the train.

Although a sunny morning, the tracks were more in shadows than I would have liked. Nonetheless I was pleased, overall, with what I came away with.

After No 851 departed – it operates on CSX as P317, an original Hoosier State number – I went over to Fifth Street to photograph it sans railroad tracks.

One stretch of rails has been left in the street in front of the former Monon passenger station.

My last encounter with the Hoosier State would be my briefest.

I drove to Linden to photograph the last northbound run at the railroad museum at the former joint Monon-Nickel Plate depot.

No. 851 was 24 minutes late leaving Indianapolis Union Station and about that late at Crawfordsville.

It had a consist similar to what I had seen in Lafayette two days earlier. P42DC No. 160 had a battered nose with some of its silver paint peeling away.

I wasn’t aware until I saw them that two former Pennsylvania Railroad cars had been chartered to operate on the rear of the last Hoosier State.

They were Colonial Crafts and Frank Thomson. The latter carried a Pennsy keystone tail sign on its observation end emblazoned with the Hoosier State name.

It was a nice touch and after those cars charged past the Hoosier State was gone in more ways than one.

 

That’s my Horizon coach reflected in the lower level of the Lafayette station.

 

Watching the countryside slide by west of Monon, Indiana.

The Hoosier State has come to a halt on Track 16 at Chicago Union Station. That’s the inbound City of New Orleans to the left.

A crowd lines the platform in Lafayette as the Hoosier State arrives en route to Chicago.

The former Big Four station in Lafayette was moved to its current location to serve Amtrak. At one time it also served intercity buses.

Pulling out of Lafayette on the penultimate northbound trip to Chicago.

P42DC No. 160, which pulled the last northbound Amtrak Train No. 851 had a well-worn nose.

Two former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger cars brought up the rear of the last northbound Hoosier State.

Dashing Through the Snow at Lilly

June 11, 2019

Norfolk Southern is removing position light signals from its Pittsburgh Line in Pennsylvania with crews working their way west.

Of late they have been in the central part of the state, removing signals from such long-favored photo locations as Lilly, Cresson and Summerhill.

Snow was still on the ground when this scene was made of the eastbound Pennsylvanian dashing through Lilly and beneath the signal bridge put up decades ago by the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Photograph by Todd Dilllon

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.

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.

Remembering My First Amfleet Experiences

January 22, 2019

The familiar profile of an Amfleet car brings up the rear of the southbound Saluki pulling out of the station in Mattoon, Illinois, in July 2018. When the equipment was delivered in the 1970s it didn’t have wi-fi antennas.

Amfleet equipment will still be around for at least a few more years and maybe longer, but the recent request by Amtrak for proposals to replace its Amfleet I fleet reminded me of just how long it has been an Amtrak mainstay.

It a dark early evening night in 1975 back in Springfield, Illinois, when I saw Amfleet equipment for the first time.

I lived in an apartment four blocks from the quasi street running of the former Gulf Mobile & Ohio mainline used by Amtrak through Springfield.

I was out walking when I noticed the crossing flashers activate on East Allen Street. It was about time for late afternoon northbound train No. 304 from St. Louis to Chicago to arrive, so I paused to watch.

I couldn’t see much, just a line of lights on the side of the cars in the windows. But something about these windows looked quite different. The rectangular-shaped windows were uniform in size and shaped differently than the square shaped and larger windows of the Turboliners that had been the usual equipment for this train.

The locomotive pulling the train also looked difference from anything I’d seen on the point of an Amtrak train to date.

I didn’t know it at the moment but I had seen Amfleet and a GE-built P30CH for the first time.

A couple days later I was downtown when No. 301, the first southbound St. Louis-bound train, halted at the former GM&O depot used by Amtrak.

That provided me my first opportunity in daylight to see the new Amfleet equipment and a P30 in the flesh.

There was a guy with a camera running around snapping photographs of this train like a proud father recording every move of his first-born child.

I recognized the Amfleet and P30 from photos I’d seen in Trains magazine.

In daylight I was able to see how the shape of an Amfleet car closely resembled that of a Metroliner even though at the time I had yet to see a Metroliner car in person.

I would later learn that Trains 301/304 had been the first Midwest corridor trains to receive Amfleet equipment effective Dec. 18, 1975.

The new Amfleet equipment intrigued me. At the time I considered the conventional streamliner equipment Amtrak had inherited as old fashioned. I wanted to see and ride something modern and new.

I got my first opportunity to see Amfleet from the inside the following January when I rode No. 304 from St. Louis to Springfield.

My first impression of an Amfleet coach was that it resembled the inside of a jetliner cabin with its fold-down tray tables, overhead reading lights and small windows. That was a good thing in my mind.

Those smallish windows have been panned over the years, but I never had any problem with them or being able to view the passing countryside from them in a window seat.

By early 1976 Amtrak had begun to assign Amfleet coaches and café cars to other Midwest corridor trains, including the Chicago-Carbondale Shawnee.

By the end of the year Amfleet was ubiquitous on Illinois-funded corridor routes.

Aside from its jetliner-like appearance, I was impressed with Amfleet because its head end power heating and cooling meant a more consistent environment.

HEP came in handy for Amtrak during the brutal winter of 1977 when it assigned Amfleet equipment to three long-distance trains radiating from Chicago, the Panama Limited, James Whitcomb Riley and the Inter-American.

Those assignments would stick on all those trains except the Inter-American, which reverted back to conventional equipment that spring for several months before being “Amfleeted” again.

I rode in Amfleet coaches numerous times over the next decade when I was most active in riding Amtrak throughout its national network.

This included overnight trips on the Panama Limited, Pioneer and Cardinal.

Some Amfleet coaches were equipped for longer distance travel and had fewer seats, leg rests and a foot rest attached to the seat ahead of you.

The lack of the latter had been one of the few amenities I had missed about conventional fleet coaches. But I never really found the leg rests all that comfortable.

In time the Horizon fleet arrived to spell most of the Amtrak coaches used on Midwest corridor trains, particularly the Amfleet coaches.

Horizon cars have a more conventional profile, but their interiors are similar to those of Amfleet.

The arrival of the Horizon fleet didn’t excite me in the same way that the coming of Amfleet had.

I was older then and less prone to getting excited about equipment changes. From a passenger perspective there wasn’t much difference between Horizon coaches and Amfleet coaches.

My reaction to whatever equipment that Amtrak comes up with to replace its Amfleet I fleet is likely to be similar. It will be interesting and I’ll enjoy riding it and seeing it for the first time.

But it won’t be the big deal that the coming of Amfleet was back in 1975.

Cold Day in Geneva

September 24, 2018

Outside the temperature is in the single digits, but inside Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited the passengers are nice and warm as their train heads for points in New York and Massachusetts.

The train is shown passing through Geneva, Ohio, with the next scheduled stop being Erie, Pennsylvania.

NYC Bridge Removed for Repair

June 23, 2018

The Spuyten Duyvil Bridge in New York City has been removed and towed away so that it can be repaired.

The bridge, which spans the Harlem River, lies on the route of the Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf and Empire Corridor service.

Removal of the bridge prompted Amtrak to suspend the New York section of the Lake Shore Limited for the summer.

Once mechanical and electrical work on the bridge is completed, it will be put back into place and reopened by Sept. 3.

The bridge rehabilitation is part of a rebuilding of the Empire Connection, which also included lowering 645 feet of the Empire Tunnel on the route.

During a meeting with reporters, Amtrak’s chief operating office, Scot Naparstek, and its chief commercial officer, Stephen Gardner, gave an update on the work, which is part of a larger project to rebuild infrastructure at New York’s Penn Station.

The two Amtrak executives said the passenger carrier is seeking replacement equipment for the 500-car Amfleet I fleet, most of which is 40 years old.

They did not give a timetable for that replacement, but indicated that it is not imminent.

Amtrak has been refurbishing the interiors of its Amfleet I cars to give them a more modern look. Those cars are used largely on eastern corridor trains with a few assigned to Midwest corridor trains.