Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak P42 locomotives’

Getting Lucky

February 10, 2019

Photographer Edward Ribinskas describes this photograph of Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited as getting lucky.

Luck was with him in a couple of ways. It started with No. 48 leaving Chicago several hours late in the middle of the night.

Had No. 48 left on time or nearly on time it would have passed through Northeast Ohio in darkness. Of course those aboard the Lake Shore didn’t consider its tardy departure from Chicago as being lucky.

The other luck that with Ed was that an eastbound Norfolk Southern train with Union Pacific motive power came along at the same time as Amtrak, but not too far ahead to block it.

The image was made on Feb. 9 at Davis Road just east of Perry, Ohio.

Advertisements

Not a Good Restart for No. 48

February 2, 2019

First there was the severe cold that sidelined Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited for two days.

Although other long distance trains out of Chicago were to resume operations on Thursday night (Jan. 31), the restart of the Lake Shore was held until Friday.

Make that Saturday morning. No. 48 left Chicago Union Station 6 hours and 28 minutes late.

It managed to gain back some time en route but was still 5 hours, 35 minutes down when it reached Cleveland on Saturday morning.

It is shown passing through Olmsted Falls, a Cleveland suburb, just before 11 a.m. on the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

Blasting Through Chelsea

January 12, 2019

Chelsea, Michigan, used to be an Amtrak stop. But that was back in the 1970s when the carrier still operated a commuter operation between Detroit and Jackson known as the Michigan Executive.

That serviced ended with the state pulled its funding in early 1984 and the Michigan Executive last ran on Jan. 13.

But Chelsea, located about halfway between Ann Arbor and Jackson, had already fallen off the Amtrak map. Amtrak service ended here on June 14, 1982.

However, Amtrak continues to pass through Chelsea six times a day even if none of the Wolverine Service trains stop here.

The tracks are now owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation and Amtrak has a top speed of 79 mph through much of Chelsea.

Shown is westbound No. 353, which is about 15 minutes behind schedule as it rushes toward Jackson.

To the left of the train is the former Welfare Building of the Glazier Stove Company. It was built to give employees a more productive and safer way to pass their free time than patronizing the local taverns.

The Welfare Building, built in 1906, had a swimming pool, library, billiards hall, theater and basketball court.

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 Buying 75 Chargers for Long-Distance Trains

December 21, 2018

Amtrak said it will purchase 75 Charger locomotives for use on long-distance trains starting in fall 2021.

The Siemens locomotives will replace aging P42DC units that have been the mainstay of long-distance trains for several years.

In a news release, Amtrak said it will have options to purchase additional Chargers for use on some state-funded corridor routes.

Trains expected to be assigned the new Chargers are Auto Train, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, and Texas Eagle.

Funding for the locomotives was not disclosed other than a statement that they will be paid for through available funds and comply with Buy American provisions.

The units will be built in Sacramento, California, with all of them expected to be in service by 2024.

The Chargers will have 4,400 in horsepower capability, 16-cylinder diesel engines with modern control systems and A.C. propulsion.

Each unit will have Tier 4 emissions technology, reducing nitrogen oxide by more than 89 percent and particulate matter by 95 percent while providing an average of 10 percent savings in diesel fuel consumption.

“These new locomotives will offer increased reliability, more hauling power, improved safety features and lower emissions,” said Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson in a statement.

The first of the Chargers will be delivered in summer 2021.

Amtrak currently operates Chargers on state-funded routes in California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Michigan and Washington.

Some of the GE-built P40 and P42 locomotives the Chargers will replace have been in service for more than 25 years.

Amtrak 448 at Bort Road

August 31, 2018

Bort Road is one of those countless rural roads in America that most people will never travel or know about.

It has a timeless quality about it, as though time has forgotten it.

Yet to the engineers in the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bort Road is well known.

It crosses the CSX Erie West Subdivision on a one-lane bridge that was built decades ago when these tracks were owned by the New York Central.

In recent years the bridge has received some repairs and been closed for several weeks at times.

PennDOT would like to replace the bridge, possibly by moving it closer to the town of North East.

Perhaps some day in the not too distant future they’ll do that. But for now passenger trains continue to pass beneath this bridge just as countless NYC and Penn Central trains did in the years before Amtrak.

Shown is Amtrak’s Boston-bound Lake Shore Limited in late May.

The crossing signals in the background are for the Lake Erie District of Norfolk Southern, which Bort Road crosses at grade.

 

Racing Through Cassandra

August 29, 2018

Amtrak’s eastbound Pennsylvanian is headed for New York City from Pittsburgh and will run nearly the length of Pennsylvania on its 444-mile journey.

The standard consist of one P42DC locomotive and six Amfleet cars, including a cafe car, is on display as the train passes through a cut at Cassandra, Pennsylvania, on the Pittsburgh Line of Norfolk Southern.

Soon the train will be rounding the famous Horseshoe Curve and arriving in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

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.

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.