Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak motive power’

Welcome, Pennsylvanian, to Cleveland

July 3, 2020

The Pennsylvanian is best known as a New York-Pittsburgh train but between November 1998 and February 2003 it operated between Chicago and Philadelphia.

The thinking was that mail and express business would enable the train to cover its operating costs. That gambit failed and it reverted to New York-Pittsburgh operation.

But on Nov. 7, 1998, there was optimism in the air as the first eastbound Pennsylvanian arrived in Cleveland.

The Pennsylvanian would be the first and thus far only Amtrak train scheduled to operate on a daylight schedule in both directions through Northeast Ohio.

Twilight Years of the F40PH

June 24, 2020

For several years starting in the late 1970s the F40PH was the workhorse of the Amtrak motive fleet outside electrified territory in the Northeast.

There were a handful of P30CH locomotives in service then as well as a few GP40TC units acquired from Toronto’s GO Transit, some P32-8s and a few FL9s in the East.

But chances are through the early to middle 1990s your train was pulled by an F40, particularly if it was a long-distance train.

By the late 1999s the Genesis models P40DC an P42DC had begun taking over primary motive power duties.

A handful of F40s hung on in service, but they seldom were leading units.

Such is the case above with the eastbound California Zephyr making its station stop in Sacramento, California, where F40PH No. 302 is the third unit behind a pair of P42DC units.

No. 302 was built in April 1979 and still in active service until being retired by Amtrak in December 2001.

Daylight Capitol Limited in Berea

June 23, 2020

My recollection is that it was late afternoon when I made this photograph of Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited in Berea, Ohio.

That would make Train No. 29 about 12 hours late. I don’t know what happened to cause the delay.

It is July 1996 and the Capitol reflects a transition period for Amtrak motive power.

On the point is a new P40 locomotive wearing the Phase III livery. Behind it is an F40PH.

Between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s the F40 was the primary road locomotive used to pull Amtrak’s long-distance trains. Most corridor trains¬† outside the Northeast Corridor also F40s on the point.

This mixing of Genesis units and F40s would not last long. The P42DC began to join the fleet and away went Phase III paint and F40s aside from a few that were rebuilt into cab control units without prime movers.

Departing Big D

June 3, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Texas Eagle has completed its station work in Dallas. The conductor has given a highball and its time to depart for Fort Worth.

The guy in the blue shirt is an Amtrak conductor who will throw a switch behind the train after it leaves the station track and then get aboard the last car.

Note that when this image was made on March 6, 1997, Amtrak was still in the transition phase between Genesis locomotives and F40s.

The Genesis series was still new then and F40s has been relegated to trailing unit duty on the road.

Amtrak’s Cardinal Flies on the Old Monon

May 30, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal is on the money as it flies along northbound on former Monon Route tracks just south of Linden, Indiana, on a Saturday morning.

About 10 minutes earlier No. 51 had made a station stop at Crawfordsville.

The consist is P42DC No. 45, two Amfleet II coaches, two Amfleet food service cars, a Viewliner sleeper and a Viewliner baggage-dorm car.

The road is old U.S. Route 231. The image was made on May 30, 2020.

State of the Silver Service

May 29, 2020

Due to CSX track work in North Carolina, the Silver Star is now operating Thursday through Sunday and the Silver Meteor is running Sunday through Thursday.

The idea is just one train operates each day although there is some overlap on some days.

For instance the Star runs northbound on Thursday but not southbound while the Meteor runs in both directions. This schedule is temporary and will last through June 2.

Train consists are smaller with the Star running with typically five cars although I did see a four-car train. The Meteor is typically six to seven cars.

The top photograph shows the southbound Silver Meteor at Folkston, Georgia, while the bottom image shows the northbound Meteor at Hardeeville, South Carolina, running with three P42DC locomotives and six cars.

Interestingly, all Amtrak trains that I saw had at least two engines even the four-car train.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Flying Away From Charlottesville

May 21, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal is but a few seconds into continuing its trip to Chicago as it leaves the station in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This is one of the few places where multiple Amtrak routes cross at grade level.

The tracks in the foreground are used by Amtrak’s New York-New Orleans Crescent and a Northeast Regional train between Washington and Roanoke, Virginia.

The Crescent and the Roanoke train operate daily whereas the Cardinal only calls upon Charlottesville on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Train Time in Charlottesville

May 17, 2020

An Amtrak conductor works the baggage car as Amtrak Train No. 51 boards passengers in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The Cardinal, which stops in Charlottesville on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, had what was a standard consist in summer 2012 of one P42DC locomotive, a baggage car, a Viewliner sleeper, Amfleet food service car and three Amfleet coaches.

In spring and summer 2020 the Cardinal’s consist had shrunk to a sleeper, two coaches and one food service car.

The consist may be longer on some days between Chicago and Indianapolis when Nos. 50 or 51 are ferrying equipment to and from the Beech Grove shops in suburban Indy.

When IC Motive Power Still Worked for Amtrak

May 6, 2020

Illinois Central passenger locomotives did not work for Amtrak for very long.

Although IC E units continued to pull Amtrak trains in the Chicago-Carbondale-New Orleans corridor for the three years, they were soon replaced with units that had been owned by other railroads.

That changeover is somewhat visible in this image that was made at Markham Yard on the Illinois Central Gulf on Oct. 15, 1972.

Shown are IC E8A No. 4027, IC E8A No. 4027, Union Pacific E9B No. 970 and IC E8B No. 4105.

The UP B unit would continue to be used by Amtrak as a heater car and carried roster numbers 468, 1919 and 669.

IC Nos. 4027 and 4105 were retired after their Amtrak service and scrapped. IC 4023 would later be sold to New Jersey Transit and was also used by MARC.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Broadway Limited in Beaver Falls

April 7, 2020

Amtrak is hardly a fallen flag, but some of its trains and locomotive models are.

Such is the case for the Broadway Limited, a onetime Chicago-New York/Washington train that was the only intercity passenger train in Northeast Ohio after Amtrak began on May 1, 1971.

At that time the Broadway operated on the Fort Wayne Line via Alliance, Canton and Massillon.

In the photograph above, F40PH No. 361 is leading the Broadway through Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, on April 23, 1983.

The F40 was once the standard locomotive for most of Amtrak’s long-distance but it has since been retired as a locomotive although a few F40 frames are still on the roster for cab car service.

Photograph by Robert Farkas