Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak photographs’

The Cleveland Shuffle

January 15, 2020

It’s 0 dark 30 at the Cleveland Amtrak station and passengers are coming and going from the eastbound Lake Shore Limited. I set my camera on a tripod and captured this seen with a telephoto lens.

The view is looking primarily at the Amfleet II coaches. No. 48 still carried a Heritage Fleet dining car and crew dorm in those days.

End of the Line in Carbondale

January 11, 2020

It is a Saturday in June 1979 and just for the fun of it I bought a round-trip ticket to ride Nos. 391 and 392 between Mattoon and Carbondale, Illinois.

Carbondale was the southern terminus for Amtrak’s Shawnee.

I’ve just disembarked from No. 391 in Carbondale. An Illinois Central Gulf locomotive will attach to the rear of the Amtrak train and pull it north to turn on a wye in preparation for its return to Chicago at 4 p.m.

In retrospect I wish I had made this photograph on the other side of the grade crossing.

But then again I can appreciate now the view of the wooden arms that railroads once used on crossing gates and how they were painted black and white. Note that this set of crossing arms is partly painted red and white.

Also note in the photograph a passing northbound ICG freight train and the approaching ICG locomotive that will attach to the rear of No. 391.

Also on this day the Shawnee had a baggage car, which it typically did not except during peak travel periods.

One Morning in Memphis

January 9, 2020

We were en route to New Orleans aboard the City of New Orleans in March 2011 when No. 59 halted in Memphis for its scheduled stop.

Memphis is a crew change point and 23 minutes is allotted for the stop.

It was pleasant spring morning and trees at the station were blooming.

That was quite a contrast with what we had seen as the Capitol Limited had left Cleveland the previous morning during a snowstorm.

There was enough time to disembark, stretch our legs and snap a few photographs, including the head end with a few of those flowering trees.

No. 59 had a consist on this day that as a little out of the ordinary. There were two P42DC locomotives pulling the train rather than the usual one.

There also was a baggage car, which is not always assigned to Nos. 58 and 59. Instead, checked luggage typically rides in a baggage compartment of a Superliner coach.

Soon it was time to get back on board and continue on to the Crescent City for a spring vacation.

Aboard the North Coast Hiawatha During Its Last Days

January 8, 2020

I made it a point in September 1979 to make a trip from Chicago to Seattle aboard the North Coast Hiawatha.

The train was set to be discontinued on Oct. 1 although a court order kept it running for a few more days before the inevitable occurred.

Shown is the dome car assigned to No. 17. I made this image from an open vestibule door as the train made its way through Montana.

Dome cars on Amtrak’s western trains were becoming an endangered species at the time.

New Superliner equipment was coming and watching the Rocky Mountains from a dome would within another year or two become a thing of the past unless you were traveling in a private car.

No. 17 is on the tracks of the former Northern Pacific, which heavily promoted its use of dome cars on its North Coast Limited.

One Night at the Cleveland Amtrak Station

January 7, 2020

On most days if you want to photograph Amtrak in Northeast Ohio you’ll need a good tripod because the four trains that cross the region daily do so between 1:30 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Back in the late 1990s I dabbled with making night photographs of Amtrak trains at the Cleveland station.

The two images shown above were made on Aug. 22, 1998. You’ve probably forgotten but it was a momentous day in railroad history because Norfolk Southern and CSX took administrative control of Conrail.

That had no effect on Conrail operations because the carrier continued to operate as normal until being formally divided on June 1, 1999.

In 1998 Amtrak’s P42DC locomotives still wore the Phase III livery in which they were delivered although some had the Phase IV look and the now ubiquitous Phase V livery would be introduced in the next year.

Shown above is dome lounge No. 2511. Like any Heritage Fleet car that was still operating in the late 1990s, this car has an interesting history.

It was built by Budd in April 1950 as Pacific Park for the Union Pacific, a 10 roomette, 6 double bedroom sleeper. At UP it was No. 1430.

It initially carried Amtrak roster 2623 and became the 2923 when rebuilt in September 1977 for head end power capability.

It was transformed into a dorm lounge in April 1998. Amtrak’s thinking at the time was that it could double as a lounge, but that apparently didn’t happen because Amtrak onboard crew members objected to having revenue passengers in their dorm car.

Amtrak retired the 2511 in June 2006. It was stored at the Beech Grove shops for several years until being offered for sale in 2018.

Bring ‘er on Back

January 6, 2020

Every day the Lake Shore Limited engages in a ritual at the Albany-Rensselaer, New York, station that is as old as the train itself.

The Boston and New York sections separate and a new locomotive is put onto No. 48 to take it to New York City.

It is July 1999 and I’m watching that ritual play out as a crew members gives the engineer of P32DMAC No. 712 a signal to back up and couple onto the consist of No. 48.

Soon I’ll be back on board and on my way to the Big Apple.

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.

Working the Baggage Car

January 4, 2020

An Amtrak station agent loads baggage onto the baggage car of Train No. 353, then named the Lake Cities.

At the time some trains in the Chicago-Detroit corridor offered checked baggage service, but that has since ended.

No. 353 still runs but is now named Wolverine Service and no longer originates in Toledo, Ohio, as it once did.

At one time the Lake Cities ran between Chicago and Toledo, offering connections at the latter to and from Michigan points with the Lake Shore Limited.

Remembering The Empire Builder’s 70th Anniversary

January 3, 2020

For the 70th anniversary of the Empire Builder in 1999, Amtrak commissioned artist J. Craig Thorpe to create a design that would appear on a commemorative menu cover to be used aboard the train.

I rode No. 6 to Chicago in 1999 when those menus were being used. I asked the dining car steward if I could have one but she said no.

So the reproduction above was scanned from a menu that I later purchased from Amtrak.

Back then the Empire Builder even had its own magazine, which was published twice a year.

In a piece written for the National Park Traveler, Thorpe noted that he had created paintings of the Empire Builder in various settings at the eastern end of Glacier National Park and ridden the train to and from the park.

He describes his work in illustrating the Empire Builder in the park in the article, which can be found here: https://www.nationalparkstraveler.org/2013/03/timeless-inspiration-glacier-national-park-and-art-empire-builder22911

The Empire Builder has since celebrated its 80th and 90th anniversaries and although Amtrak did mark it occurred in a more muted way.

A news release noted that passengers departing Chicago on the 90th anniversary of the Empire Builder received commemorative certificates. Sleeping car passengers received a wooden train whistle.

The online Amtrak store had for sale prints of some of Thorpe’s paintings of the Empire Builder along with other merchandise. But there was no special menu cover.

Given the view that the current Amtrak management has toward long-distance trains and its emphasis on saving every possible dime, it seems unlikely that we’ll see menu covers like the one above again anytime soon.

Waiting in Ann Arbor

January 2, 2020

The engineer of Amtrak train No. 350 awaits a highball as passengers board in the distance at the station in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The date is Sept. 12, 2003 and No. 350 at the time was known as the Wolverine. All trains operating in the Chicago-Detroit corridor have since been renamed Wolverine Service.