Posts Tagged ‘Superliners’

Coming and Going in Harpers Ferry

August 22, 2017

Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited has just finished its station stop and is leaving the station. No. 29 is about 45 minutes late and can’t afford to tarry.

The Capitol was not out of sight of the station when an eastbound CSX manifest freight came barrelling along, its lead locomotive pouring out smoke as it throttles up.

Had the CSX train come along a couple of minutes earlier, it would have blocked my view of the Amtrak train. But it didn’t and instead I got some good images.

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Capitol Limited at Harpers Ferry

August 8, 2017

Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited is shown crossing the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, on July 25, 2017.

Nearly a week later, the Nos. 29 and 30 began operating only between Chicago and Pittsburgh after a CSX freight train derailment on Aug. 2  closed the Keystone Subdivision at Hyndman, Pennsylvania, for several days.

Rail traffic began moving through the area on Sunday, Aug. 6. The Capitol resumed serving Harpers Ferry and other points east of Pittsburgh that day.

In the interim, passengers had been accommodated by a bus.

Night Visit to Winona

January 28, 2017

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Winona, Minnesota, is one of many typical stations served by Amtrak’s Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder. And yet it isn’t because it is a crew change point.

The crew that boards to go eastbound always goes on duty in the daylight because No. 8 is scheduled into Winona in late morning.

Depending on the time of year, the crew that boards No. 7 to take it further westward, may or may not see daylight.

In this series of images, it is May 2014 and the new operating crew is getting on in darkness.

At the invitation of my sleeping car attendant, I decided to step off in Winona and make a few images to capture a nighttime station stop.

Empire Builder in Milwaukee

January 24, 2017

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The Milwaukee Amtrak station is larger than it needs to be given the level of service that it has. I’m speaking of the train shed, not the waiting room.

It’s not that Milwaukee sees just two trains a day as is the case in many cities. No, it has seven Hiawatha Service roundtrips plus the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder.

Still, there appear to be more track in the station than what Amtrak uses. Shown are three views of the Milwaukee station during the station stop of the westbound Empire Builder in May 2014.

Just 11 Miles Away from Journey’s End

January 9, 2017

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Passengers aboard the inbound California Zephyr are just 11 miles away from the end of their journey to Chicago Union Station as train No. 6 rushes through Riverside, Illinois, on the BNSF Raceway.

Those who know the route might already be gathering their belongings and thinking ahead to what they are going to be doing once they disembark at CUS.

Others, though, might be watching a suburban landscape that must must appear to be one Metra station after another.

Whatever the passengers are doing, the end of their trip aboard this train will arrive soon.

Taking Out the Trash in Denver

January 7, 2017

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It’s late October 1981 at Denver Union Station. Amtrak’s westbound San Francisco Zephyr has backed into the station and servicing of the train has begun.

Superliner equipment has been a mainstay on the route for less than two years. The dining car crew has quite a bit of trash to discard that it has left on the platform.

Once the F40PH locomotives are refueled, the train cleaned and water put into the tanks, No. 6 will depart.

At the time that this image was made, Nos. 5/6 used the Union Pacific mainline through Wyoming. Through cars for Los Angeles will be detached at Ogden to be forwarded on the Desert Wind.

Your Sleeping Car Awaits

January 4, 2017

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If you are holding a sleeper class ticket on Amtrak this is your first view of your train as you board at Chicago Union Station.

You’ve probably been sitting in the Metropolitan Lounge a good hour or more. Perhaps you had a few hours between trains and did some sightseeing or went out to lunch. After all, the Berghoff is within easy walking distance of the station, just a few blocks down Adams Street.

But all that is behind you and the gate agent has led passengers out of the lounge and directed them to their train.

This happens to be No. 7, the westbound Empire Builder. It will have three sleepers as it departs Chicago today. Two are bound for Seattle and one is going to Portland.

There is a bit of rush every time I approach my train when I have sleeping accommodations. I stow away my luggage, settle into my seat and then watch the scene unfold as other Amtrak and Metra trains board and then depart or arrive. My journey is about to begin.

Lounging Aboard the Capitol Limited

December 29, 2016

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It’s morning in Indiana. Some passengers aboard the westbound Capitol Limited have made their way to the lounge car to get a better view of the passing countryside.

Although No. 29 has a full-service dining car, many Amtrak coach passengers don’t patronize it. They either bring something to eat with them or grab something in the cafe car.

Often that might be a cup of coffee and a muffin. Then it is back upstairs to find a table or empty seat, or return to their coach.

Then again, if the train is on time into Chicago Union Station, there is a McDonald’s there and it will still be serving breakfast.

But the view is better from the Sightseer Lounge while you eat.

In Position as Required by Rule

December 17, 2016
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The rear brakeman of Amtrak No. 4 stands watch in Lamy, New Mexico, on Nov. 1, 1981.

Amtrak’s eastbound Southwest Limited is making its station stop in Lamy, New Mexico, and the Santa Fe rear brakeman watches the boarding process from toward the rear of the train.

The two Superliner sleepers assigned to No. 4 today are on the rear end. I got to talking with this crew member during my journey, which began the night before in Los Angeles and would end early the next morning in Kansas City. Before he went off duty, he handed me the train bulletin for that day.

I made this image from the vestibule of the sleeper in which I had a room.

The Very Late Running Season

October 24, 2016

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It is August 2014 and Amtrak is in the midst of a nightmare summer on Norfolk Southern. It was routine then for the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited to operate several hours off schedule.

NS had instituted a new computerized dispatching system and things were chaotic for several months. It also didn’t help that it was the height of the summer track work season and in some places trains had to fit through a single-track stretch.

Yet another complication was that very late arriving Amtrak trains in Chicago meant late turns due to the need for crew rest and equipment servicing.

Although not good for passengers, it was good news for photographers living in places where Amtrak would under ordinary circumstances pass through in the middle of the night.

In the photo above, train No. 30, the eastbound Capitol Limited should have been through Brady Lake, Ohio, located between Cleveland and Alliance, about six hours ago. But on this date it was making a daylight run through Northeast Ohio.