Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak photography’

Nabbing Amtrak’s Silver Service

April 24, 2018

My travels during my Florida vacation took me to the city of Lakeland, Florida. This is the Junction of the CSX A line and S line.

We set up at the abandoned former Atlantic Coast Line station. First we got Amtrak train 91, the Silver Star, going to Tampa. About an hour and a half later it returned on its way to Miami.

A pair of CSX freights went through, one north, one south, but that was the extent of activity in Lakeland.

On our way east we pulled up to a crossing only to watch the northbound Amtrak No. 92 fly by with no time for photos. Our next stop was Davenport where we just caught the southbound Silver Meteor, this time getting photos.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

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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.

The Chief Has Arrived

March 26, 2018

The inbound Southwest Chief has arrived from Los Angeles and intermediate points at the bumper post at Chicago Union Station. On ad adjoining track is a corridor train with a former Metroliner cab car facing the station. It is probably one of the Chicago-Detroit line trains.

Boarding CONO in New Orleans

March 16, 2018

The first call for boarding of Amtrak No. 58, the City of New Orleans, has been made at New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal and the sleeper class passengers are the first allowed onto the platform to board their train.

They will shortly be in their assigned rooms, which are in the last car on the train today.

Further down the platform, station workers are stocking the dining and lounge cars. The first meal to be served will be dinner with initial seating coming somewhere in Mississippi. Passengers will watch the Illinois prairie roll by as they have breakfast the next morning.

Traces of Amtrak on the Side

February 23, 2018

If you look around you sometimes find traces of Amtrak in unexpected places.

Often a former Amtrak passenger car will be stored at a or near a museum or tourist railroad that hopes to restore it some day.

The exterior paint may be fading, but the markings and the interior unmistakably say Amtrak.

I was riding an excursion train back on Sept. 27, 1997, on the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway when I spotted this former Amtrak 56-seat coach in the yard in Brewster, Ohio.

It has an interesting history. It was built in 1947 by Pullman-Standard for the Illinois Central Railroad, where it had roster number 2640.

It later was sold to the Auto-Train Corporation, which numbered it 560 and named it Prairie Rose.

After Amtrak acquired it, the car was renumbered 5688 and named Roaring Camp.

When I photographed it, the car was apparently en route to the Mad River & NKP Museum in Bellevue, Ohio, where it apparently is today.

Station Stop in Greewood

February 17, 2018


Greenwood, Mississippi, is one of that places that has intercity rail passenger service because of Amtrak.

When Amtrak began service on May 1, 1971, it had been several years since a scheduled passenger train had halted in Greenwood.

It would remain 24 years before that would occur again. But thanks to a rerouting of the City of New Orleans between Chicago and New Orleans, Greenwood would join the Amtrak network.

No. 59 is shown at Greenwood during its station stop in March 2012.

Last Dinner on the Broadway Limited

February 3, 2018

It Saturday night in the dining car on Amtrak’s eastbound Broadway Limited. Despite the train having departed Chicago at 8:55 p.m., the dining car is open and serving.

At first glance, there is nothing out of the ordinary about these scenes. What is playing out has occurred countless times aboard this car, whose heritage predates the creation of Amtrak by two decades.

It was built in 1948 by Budd for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, which named it Silver Cafe.  Amtrak modernized it when it rebuilt the car in June 1980 for head-end power as part of the Heritage Fleet.

Tonight every table and nearly every seat in the Silver Cafe is taken as train No. 40 roars toward New York through Indiana on CSX tracks that once belonged to the Baltimore & Ohio.

But this trip was different because it would be the last run of the Broadway Limited.

The next day, Nos. 40 and 41 will began operating only between Pittsburgh and New York and will be renamed the Three Rivers.

The change was part of a route rationalization plan launched amid a budget cut and the cutbacks could have been more severe than they were.

These images that I made during the last dinner on the Broadway Limited were made on color print film and turned out grainy.

Nonetheless, they remind me of one of my most memorable dinners aboard Amtrak.

The entree, I believe it was trout with a mustard sauce was served with steamed carrots and a rice pilaf, and was quite tasty. The desert was chocolate cake that I recall was embellished by the server, John Long.

Despite it being a last run, the dining car crew was courteous and seemed to go out of their way to make the event something special and worth remembering.

The Conference is Over

January 24, 2018

Having conferred with the engineer of Amtrak’s westbound Empire Builder during a station stop in Milwaukee, the conductor is walking back to his post. No. 7 was running behind schedule due to having to wait in Chicago for connecting passengers from a late Lake Shore Limited. The Milwaukee Amtrak station was built by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad.

Vanishing Sight

January 23, 2018

All of Amtrak’s long-distance trains carry baggage cars. Given that these cars are new Viewliner equipment that went into service in the past few years, it is likely that Amtrak trains will continue to carry baggage cars and offer checked baggage for the foreseeable future.

But rapidly vanishing at intermediate stations is the practice of the local station agent wheeling a baggage cart out to the platform to load and unload bags on the train’s baggage car.

Shown is an Amtrak agent at Minot, North Dakota, loading a box aboard the westbound Empire Builder in May 2014.

As Amtrak tells the story, it has pulled its agents from many stations because most passengers are buying their tickets online. Many passengers are using their smart phones for their tickets rather than using paper.

So, the story goes, there is less need to have agents at stations that sell few tickets. With the disappearance of agents have also come the end of check baggage at those stations.

In some instances, an Amtrak conductor can check items, such as bicycles. But in most towns served by Amtrak, checked luggage has become another relic of history.

Running in a Winter Wonderland

January 22, 2018

When the weather in the upper Midwest turns wintry, Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited often runs late.

Earlier this month Nos. 48 and 49 were running as much as six hours or more behind schedule due to the effects of winter conditions. Delays in turning the equipment in Chicago were given some of the blame, but winter operating conditions can also lead to frozen switches, broken rails and freight train emergencies that are not Amtrak’s fault.

If No. 48 leaves Chicago late, it likely will be even later as it rolls eastward toward New York and Boston.

On a sunny but frigid day last week when the early morning temperatures were in the low teens and the wind chill was sub zero, I braved the elements to photograph No. 48 at Geneva, Ohio, which was more than two hours off its schedule.

It was running a few minutes behind an eastbound CSX stack train. I can only speculate that the dispatcher put the intermodal train out ahead of Amtrak because it would not be stopping in Erie, Pennsylvania, but Amtrak would be.