Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Photos’

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:

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.

Peaking Out From Beneath an Old Bridge

December 28, 2019

Amtrak’s northbound City of New Orleans is arriving in the station at Mattoon, Illinois, on May 29, 1997.

The track was still owned by the Illinois Central then and the standard practice was for Amtrak trains to serve the station on what used to be the southbound main. The former northbound main shown at left was now a siding.

Operating practices have since changed so that Amtrak uses the siding in Mattoon because it is closer to the station.

The bridge that train is passing beneath carries Broadway Avenue and was opened in 1916. It was replaced in 2002 by a modern structure.

Still in the Rainbow Era at Joliet

December 26, 2019

Gulf, Mobile & Ohio motive power is still in place on April 14, 1973, as the southbound Abraham Lincoln calls at Joliet, Illinois.

Pulling Amtrak Train No. 303 are GM&O E7A Nos. 101 and 103A, both of which were built by EMD in the middle 1940s.

The train originated in Milwaukee at 3:20 p.m. and is due into St. Louis Union Station at 10:35 p.m.

Note the mixture of equipment in Amtrak colors and the colors of their original owners.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Once Upon a Time in Sturtevant

December 16, 2019

Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service trains once stopped in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, at the former Milwaukee Road Station.

That was still the case on May 2006 when I was last there. Shown is a Milwaukee-bound Hiawatha with the Milwaukee Road station in the background.

That station was built in 1901 and featured an octagon-shaped tower at one end that can be seen above the train. The station was L-shaped.

The Milwaukee Road discontinued passenger service to Sturtevant in the mid 1960s. It was revived with the coming of Amtrak in order to provide intercity rail service to nearby Racine, Wisconsin.

Amtrak opened a new station in Sturtevant in August 2006 that resembled the old depot except it was built of brick.

The Milwaukee Road station was in danger of being razed but was rescued and moved in four pieces in October 2009 to a new site for restoration.