Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak heritage fleet’

Long Way From Its Roots

January 5, 2020

Amtrak dining car 8507 was part of the consist of the eastbound Lake Shore Limited in Albany-Rensselaer, New York, on July 12, 2000.

It is wearing at least its third roster number since being built in 1957 by Budd for the Northern Pacific, which assigned it to the North Coast Limited.

At one time this dining car was NP No. 463 and Amtrak No. 8049.

It became No. 8507 when it was rebuilt in March 1980 with head-end power capability.

It is wearing the Phase IV livery with its emphasis on Federal Standard 15090 blue along the windows.

No. 8507 would be among the last of the Amtrak Heritage Fleet dining cars in active service before it was retired in April 2018.

No Time to Waste at Pesotum

July 26, 2019

A tardy southbound Saluki races past the former Illinois Central Railroad depot in Pesotum late on a Tuesday morning.

No. 391 had earlier met its northbound counterpart at Rantoul, where the southbound train was 24 minutes behind schedule.

It lost another 14 minutes between Rantoul and Champaign and by the time it reached DuQuoin it was 1 hour, 8 minutes down.

But through the “miracle” of recovery time, a.k.a. schedule padding, No. 391 pulled into Carbondale a mere 32 minutes late.

No passenger train has been scheduled to stop at the depot in Pesotum for several decades.

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.

Lake Shore Limited State of the Art 2010

December 22, 2018

Amtrak’s westbound Lake Shore Limited rolls through Palmer, Massachusetts, on May 22, 2010, showing the look that it had in the second decade of the 21st century.

No. 449 doesn’t look a whole lot different from its current appearance save for the presence of a Heritage fleet baggage car.

The Heritage baggage car has since been replaced by a Viewliner baggage car that starting in early January 2019 will no longer operate on Nos. 448 and 449.

Amtrak Offering 99 Cars for Sale or Donation

November 29, 2018

Amtrak plans to offer another 99 passenger and baggage cars for sale, although some might end up being donated to museums or preservation groups.

The cars have been deemed surplus by the passenger carrier include 19 heritage dining cars, which Amtrak began retiring in 2015.

Also up for sale or donation are 51 baggage cars, seven refrigerated express cars, four Hi-level coaches and 18 crew dormitory cars.

The baggage cars were built between 1946 and 1962 while the Hi-level coaches date to 1956 when they were built by Budd for use on Santa Fe’s El Capitan.

The crew dorms are former Union Pacific 10-roomette, six bedrooms sleepers while the express cars were used by ExpressTrak in the late 1990s during a time when Amtrak was actively seeking to boost its mail and express business.

Amtrak said it will consider donating some of the cars to museums or preservation groups that submit a letter “stating the reason for the donation request and the intended use of the equipment should the donation be granted.”

Trains magazine reported that Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the “donation requests will be evaluated within the finance department.”

Magliari would not say what criteria will be used to decide what donation proposals will be accepted or rejected, particularly when there are competing proposals.

The cars will be available for inspection starting next week at the Beech Grove Heavy Maintenance Facility near Indianapolis.

However, the refrigerated express cars and one crew dormitory are being stored elsewhere.

All cars are being sold or donated in an “as is-where is” basis with Amtrak saying it will off no performance guarantees nor will it agree to  perform any work required to make the cars acceptable for interchange by a freight carrier.

Amtrak also said the equipment may not leave the property in Amtrak service and must be removed or scrapped on site within 90 days of the transfer of ownership.

The closing date for bids or requests for donations is Jan. 4, 2019.

Not Open for Meals

August 1, 2018

Bringing up the rear of Amtrak’s northbound Saluki is Viewliner diner Indianapolis.

But the diner is not open to serve meals to passengers. Instead, it’s purpose is to help Train 390 meet an axle count requirement mandated by host railroad Canadian National.

It’s a safety measure to ensure that the train triggers grade crossing warning devices. Any Amtrak train using a CN route must have a minimum number of axles.

The Indianapolis is the not the only dining car on the Saluki. Ahead of the baggage car is Heritage diner No. 8505, a former Northern Pacific car built by Budd in 1957.

Amtrak may have retired its Heritage diners from their intended purpose, but some of those cars continue to run up miles in a different type of revenue service.

The Saluki is shown departing Effingham, Illinois.

Amtrak P42 No. 66 Back in the Day

April 12, 2018

To celebrate its 40th anniversary, Amtrak painted a handful of P42 locomotives in past liveries.

P42DC No. 66 received the Phase II livery that Amtrak introduced in 1973 on its RTG Turboliners and a year later on its E60 electric locomotives.

But No. 66 is now out of service, having been damaged on Feb. 19, 2016, when it struck a truck near Joliet, Illinois.

P42DC No. 130 has been tapped to carry on the work of displaying the Phase II livery.

In the photograph above, No. 66 is shown in happier days leading the eastbound Lake Shore Limited near North East, Pennsylvania, on July 31, 2011.

This was the first Amtrak train that I photographed with my then-new Canon DSL camera I had just bought.

I didn’t know that No. 66 would be leading train No. 48. It is always nice to get a pleasant surprise in the viewfinder.

Heritage In Harpers Ferry

January 4, 2018

Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited is coming to a stop in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, on July 16, 2014.

On the point is the Phase IV heritage locomotive wearing a livery that was relatively short-lived on Amtrak in its original incarnation.

The locomotive is not the only heritage to be seen on this train. The baggage car is from the Heritage fleet, having served for decades.

Since this image was made, Amtrak has placed in service its Viewliner baggage cars and most of the heritage baggage cars have been retired.

But the oldest thing in this image is the former Baltimore & Ohio passenger station next to the tracks.  It opened in 1889. Today it is used by the National Park Service and also used by Maryland Area Rail Commuter trains from Washington.

That 90s Look at Lewistown

December 26, 2017

I made this image of  Amtrak’s eastbound Broadway Limited at Lewistown, Pennsylvania, in 1992. In my mind, it was’t that long ago. Yet its been 25 years since this photograph was made on color negative film.

Much can change in a quarter century and there is much to be seen here that is gone.

That starts with the Broadway Limited itself, which would made its last trips between Chicago and New York in September 1995.

On the point on this day is GP40TC No. 192, one of eight such units that Amtrak operated in the 1990s. All were built for Toronto’s GO Transit agency and were purchased by Amtrak in October 1988.

The locomotives could be found in service on routes east of the Mississippi River, but have since been retired.

Behind the GP40TC is an F40PH. Most of those have been retired by Amtrak, but a handful have survived as cab cars while others have gained second lives on other railroads.

The consist includes seven material handling cars, which were common on long distance trains in the 1990s. Amtrak had begun earning additional revenue hauling mail and the MHCs were acquired for that purpose. They’ve since been retired and Amtrak no longer carries mail.

Most of the passenger cars in the consist of No. 40 are Heritage Fleet cars, including the baggage car. Most of those have been retired although in late 2017 a handful of Heritage dining cars continue to work in revenue service.

The Cardinal Lands in Charlottesville

September 21, 2016

cardinal-july-2012

It is a July afternoon in Charlottesville, Virginia. Amtrak’s tri-weekly Cardinal is scheduled to arrive from both Chicago and New York.

In fact, the Cardinal calls in Charlottesville in both directions three days a week, Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. That is not the case on the western end of the route where the Cardinal arrives in Chicago on Monday, but doesn’t depart again until Tuesday.

Otherwise, Nos. 50 and 51 arrives and departs Chicago on the same day, Thursday and Saturday.

I had some free time during a vacation trip so I made it a point to venture to the Amtrak station to catch the Cardinal. It is a train I used to ride when I lived in Indianapolis, but since leaving there in 1991 I seldom see the Cardinal.

On this day, No. 50 has its then standard consist of one P42DC, a Heritage Fleet baggage car, one Viewliner sleeper, a food service car and three Amfleet II coaches.

Since making this image four years, ago, the Heritage Fleet baggage car has been replaced by a Viewliner baggage car and the train now seems to routinely have two Viewliner sleepers.

It has been a long time since the Cardinal had a full-service dining car. Maybe it will get one when the new Viewliner dining car order is completed by CAF USA. And maybe the dining car will arrive, but the food service will be little different than it is today.

Change in Amtrak service on trains such as the Cardinal seems to be incremental. This train is unlikely to ever be confused with the George Washington, the one-time premier train of the Chesapeake & Ohio, whose tracks the Cardinal uses between Cincinnati and Washington.

But then maybe it doesn’t need to be. Given the history of the Cardinal and how political pressure is all that saved it back in the 1980s, having any service at all is a good thing.