Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Broadway Limited’

Westbound Broadway Limited in 1978

December 14, 2019

Although Amtrak’s Broadway Limited was assigned new SDP40F locomotives in the mid 1970s, that assignment proved to be relatively short lived.

The units became embroiled in a controversy over whether they were derailment prone after being implicated in several derailments.

Some railroads banned at least for a while the SDP40F from their tracks while others imposed speed restrictions on them on certain types of curves.

By the late 1970s Amtrak had replaced most of the SDP40Fs on its long-distance eastern trains with E units.

Later these trains began receiving F40PH locomotives although for a time there were still locomotives with steam generators in the motive power consist to provide steam for heating and cooling.

Starting in late 1979 equipment with head-end power capability came onboard, starting with the Lake Shore Limited, was permanently assigned to eastern long-distance trains and the last of the E units in revenue service with steam generators was retired from long-distance service.

But all of that was a few years down the road on June 3, 1978, when Bob Farkas caught a tardy westbound Broadway Limited in Wooster, Ohio, at Prairie Lane.

His notes from that date indicate that the third unit might have been the first unit painted for Amtrak.

Lead E8A No. 447 should feel right at home on these rails. It was built in May 1952 as Pennsylvania Railroad No. 5790A.

During the Penn Central era it carried roster number 4250 and was initially assigned Amtrak roster number 277.

It renumbered to 447 in November 1975 after being rebuilt in March 1974, which was just before the second order of SDP40Fs began rolling out of the EMD shops in LaGrange, Illinois.

Amtrak retired No. 447 in July 1981 along with several other rebuilt E units as they by then had become surplus as F40s and Heritage Fleet equipment had become the norm on eastern long-distance trains such as the Broadway Limited.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Slower Than We’d Like

November 23, 2019

Shown is a schedule for Amtrak’s Broadway Limited from the mid 1970s. Penn Central was still the host railroad and its tracks west of Pittsburgh were not in great condition.

Therefore Amtrak placed a notice that the schedules were slower than PC was required to provide but faster scheduled were not possible at this this time.

Left unsaid was that PC was in bankruptcy proceedings and couldn’t afford to fix its tracks.

But even with these schedules Nos. 40 and 41 were still subject to delays, some of them major.

The symbol next to times at Canton and Crestline, Ohio, denoted that tickets could only be purchased for some or all trains at this station.

They were to be purchased either from the conductor or a travel agent. There was no cash penalty for buying your ticket aboard the train if no agent was on duty at train time.

The letter “e” for Canton and Johnstown, Pennsylvania, indicated that the train stopped on signal to pickup or drop off passengers.

The train would stop eastbound at Gary only to receive passengers and westbound to discharge them.

Things You Won’t See Anymore

September 20, 2019

There are three things three things in this image made in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, that are no more.

Amtrak’s material handling cars, Pennsylvania Railroad style position light signals and the Broadway Limited are all gone here.

Shown is eastbound No. 40 slowing for its station stop in July 1995.

 

Fort Wayne Group Pressing Ahead for Rail Service

May 14, 2019

The pending discontinuance of the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State is not discouraging Fort Wayne, Indiana, interests seeking to revive intercity rail service.

The Northern Indiana Rail Passenger Alliance is working to establish a route between Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, that would pass through Fort Wayne.

Both Fort Wayne and Columbus previously had Amtrak service but lost it. Columbus fell off the Amtrak route map in October 1979 with the discontinuance of the National Limited while Fort Wayne lost the Broadway Limited and Capitol Limited in late 1990 when both trains were rerouted.

The Indiana General Assembly recently adopted a two-year budget that did not include continued funding for the quad-weekly Hoosier State.

But NIPRA officials say the state’s ending of Hoosier State funding won’t affect their work although it could affect it somewhat.

“It makes our job that much more difficult in getting the story out that the investment in passenger rail in our corridor will have an economic development payoff and attract young professionals to Fort Wayne and attract visitors to Fort Wayne,” said Rich Juram, NIPRA’s board president.

Nonetheless, he said “there’s not a direct relationship between that situation and the project here in northern Indiana, the line from Chicago to Fort Wayne and then continuing on from Fort Wayne to Columbus.”

Juram said his organization is sad to see the Hoosier State end, but said that service “was woefully inadequate for the market.”

Geoff Paddock, a Fort Wayne City Council member who favors the Chicago-Columbus service said losing the Hoosier State will hurt in the sense that the bigger the footprint is for passenger rail the better it is for having rail as a transportation option.

“Eliminating that funding and that investment in that line could be a detriment to our efforts to bring passenger rail back to Fort Wayne,” he said.

Paddock said one takeaway about the demise of the Hoosier State is that passenger advocates need to work with state legislators to make their case.

The Chicago-Columbus service would not be cheap to develop as it has been proposed.

It would require capital costs of $898 million to rebuilt track, signals and other infrastructure to support two daily roundtrips with a top speed of 79 mph.

The cost of four roundtrips traveling 110 mph would be $1.23 billion.

Advocates for the service say that money would largely need to come from state and federal funds.

Paddock said the Chicago-Columbus route may be in a more favorable position than was the Hoosier State because it has better tracks.

In the meantime, supporters of the route are working on an environmental impact study.

One Morning at Chicago Union Station

May 3, 2019

It is mid morning at Chicago Union Station. I’ve just stepped off the inbound Capitol Limited after boarding several hours earlier in Cleveland.

On an adjacent track is the inbound Broadway Limited. Nos. 40 and 41 are living on borrowed time and will be discontinued in just over a month.

It’s difficult to make good images of trains at CUS due to low lighting conditions not to mention the limited sight lines.

The sleepers on the rear of No. 41 caught my attention. Maybe there is just enough light to make a serviceable image on the slide film I was using.

The images turned out dark and a little blurry. But they remind me of something I can’t see anymore, which is Heritage Fleet sleepers on a train that has been gone more than a decade.

I also liked the mood of the subdued lighting, which seems well suited to portray a passenger car designed for nighttime travel.

No. 2432 in the top photograph was built by the Budd Company in 1950 as Union Pacific 1449, Pacific Waves.

Amtrak retained the name and rebuilt the car to HEP capability in June 1980. Its original Amtrak roster number was 2642.

No. 2051 in bottom image has had a more varied history. It was built by Budd in 1949 as New York Central 10360.

The Central rebuilt the all-roomette care in 1961 to a sleeper coach with a configuration of 16 single rooms and 10 double rooms.

Amtrak reapplied the name Fairport Harbor, which had been dropped by either NYC or Penn Central. At one time it carried Amtrak roster number 2001.

No. 2432 was sold in 2001 and according to the book Amtrak by the Numbers by David C. Warner and Elbert Simon No. 2051 at last report was for sale in 2011. It may have been sold or donated to a museum by now.

Two PRR Icons in Lewistown

May 2, 2019

The news that former Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals are now gone between Harrisburg and Altoona, Pennsylvania, got me digging into my archives.

I remembered having made a photograph of another Pennsy icon passing position light signals in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, on the original PRR mainline between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The image above shows No. 40 arriving in Lewistown on July 2, 1995.

The eastbound Broadway Limited had the standard consist for that era of a pair of F40PH locomotives, material handling cars and a mixture of Heritage fleet and Amfleet equipment.

There remain some of the iconic PRR signals between Altoona and Pittsburgh, but the last of those is expected to come down this summer.

So there is still time to photograph Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian splitting position light signals.

This go me wondering where else Amtrak might operate where there remain position light signals.

The most obvious answer is the Northeast Corridor, but what about beyond there?

Amtrak’s Capitol Limited continues to use ex-PRR tracks between Cleveland and Pittsburgh, but as far as I know all of the position light signals either have been removed or are about to fall on that route.

Several Amtrak trains use ex-PRR tracks in Chicago and northwest Indiana and work has been underway for some time to replace the position light signals there.

There are likely to remain some secondary routes with PRR position light signals, particularly if they are operated by short line or regional railroads that do not handle passenger trains and aren’t covered by the PTC mandate.

As the adage goes, get them while you can.

Late Broadway Limited in Massillon

November 30, 2018

Amtrak F40PH No. 282 heads a late westbound Broadway Limited as it goes through Massillon, Ohio, on June 22, 1978.

At the time Conrail was doing quite a bit of track work, and that may have been the reason the Broadway Limited was late.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Last Night for the Broadway Limited in Chicago

October 28, 2018

In its final years, Amtrak’s Broadway Limited was the last train of the day to depart Chicago Union Station from the south boarding gates.

That was a far cry from its glory days during under the Pennsylvania Railroad when its department was late afternoon and much more heralded.

It is Sept. 9, 1995, and No. 41 is departing Chicago for the final time. Tomorrow Nos. 40 and 41 will be discontinued between Pittsburgh and Chicago and renamed the Three Rivers east between Pittsburgh and New York.

Study Favors Chicago-Fort Wayne Service

October 28, 2018

A preliminary study has determined that intercity rail passenger service between Fort Wayne and Chicago is possible between 2026 and 2030.

The study estimated the trains on the route could carry between 387,000 and 765,000 passengers a year by 2035.

Ridership will hinge on the average train speed and number of trips offered. The study examined various scenarios ranging from a top speed of 79 mph to 101 mph.

Although the study looked only at the segment between Chicago and Fort Wayne, that corridor is part of a larger route between Chicago and Columbus, Ohio, via Valparaiso, Gary, Plymouth, and Warsaw in Indiana, and Lima in Ohio.

The route between Chicago and Lima would follow or run parallel to the former route of Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Broadway Limited, which was rerouted away from those cities in late 1990.

The study, conducted by consulting firm HNTB, determined that the estimated capital costs are about $898 million for 79-mph service and $1.2 billion for 101 mph.

Legacy of the Broadway Limited

May 22, 2018

All of America’s premier passenger trains had dining cars, but only the most elite trains had twin-unit diners in which one of the cars contained the kitchen and the other a dining room.

Twin-unit diners operated on the New York Central’s Twentieth Century Limited and the Pennsylvania’s Broadway Limited for many years.

Amtrak had four sets of twin-unit diners, all of them built in 1949 by Budd for the Pennsy.

These cars were assigned to the Broadway Limited in the early to mid 1970s.

One set of those diners now resides at the Midwest Railway Preservation Society in Cleveland.

It is former PRR 4610-4611, which carried Amtrak roster numbers 8800-8801.

The cars still wear Amtrak’s Phase I livery but the effects of wear and tear from sitting in the elements over the years has taken a toll.

A PC herald is bleeding through the Amtrak red, white and blue paint on one end of the cars.

This twin-unit diner set was retired by Amtrak in October 1983. Presumably it was stored for several years before that.

Like so many pieces of equipment sitting outside the MRPS roundhouse the fate of these twin-unit diners is uncertain.

Presumably they will be at least cosmetically restored some day when money for that becomes available.

That day may be a long time in coming, but in the meantime they serve as reminders of what once was in another time and era that increasingly seems like a lifetime ago.