Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak P42 locomotives’

Out of the Fog

March 1, 2021

Last Saturday’s weather forecast called for high temperatures in the 50s and mostly sunny skies so I ventured over to east central Illinois for my first railfan foray of 2021.

The day began, though, in heavy fog caused by a temperature inversion. When I arrived in Rantoul, Illinois, the temperatures were in the low 30s.

Those conditions wouldn’t last long, but while they did I was able to get this image of Amtrak’s northbound City of New Orleans cutting through the fog at the Rantoul station.

Although this is an Amtrak stop, the City is not scheduled to stop here. The train was operating as No. 1158 on a schedule 90 minutes than usual.

That was due to track work by host railroad Canadian Pacific in the South that has the northbound CONO running later than normal two days a week.

Rumbling Into Waterloo on Sunday Morning

August 21, 2020

Amtrak’s westbound Lake Shore Limited is about 20 minutes late as it arrives into the station at Waterloo, Indiana, under cloudy skies.

Somehow that seems appropriate given the future of this train. In another two months you won’t be able to board Amtrak on Sunday morning to travel to Chicago.

The westbound Lake Shore will only be arriving in Waterloo, or in Cleveland and Toledo for that matter, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

Today’s No. 49 has its summer pandemic consist of two P42DC locomotives, a Boston Viewliner sleeper, Amfleet food service car, four Amfleet II coaches, Viewliner dining car that serves as a sleeper class lounge, two New York VIewliner sleepers, a Viewliner baggage car and a deadheading Viewliner sleeper on the rear.

I didn’t count the number of passengers who boarded or disembarked but it was around 10 total.

The train made two stops, one for coach passengers and another to drop off a couple of sleeper class passengers.

And then it was highball and onto the next station in Elkhart, Indiana.

Mission Accomplished

June 22, 2020

I’ve had my eye on this photo spot for the past couple of weeks. With the sun rising toward the northeast this month is a good time to photograph a northbound train on the CSX Monon Subdivision.

Amtrak’s westbound Cardinal is due out of Crawfordsville, Indiana, just before 7 a.m. It takes P051 about 10 minutes to get to this location, a grain elevator in a wide spot in the road known as Cherry Grove.

My first couple attempts to get the image were thwarted. First, the train was too late and, second, there were too many clouds.

But the third time I tried to get this image was, as the cliche goes, a charm.

Train No. 51 is on time with its usual consist of one P42DC, two Amfleet II coaches, an Amfleet food service car, a Viewliner sleeper and a Viewliner baggage dormitory car on the rear.

Flapping Its Wings Westbound

June 1, 2020

Amtrak’s Chicago-bound Cardinal is on the money as it cruises northbound on the former Monon route about 10 miles north of Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Train No. 51, which operates here on Monday, Thursday and Saturday morning has two Amfleet II coaches, two Amfleet food service cars, a Viewliner sleeper and a Viewliner baggage dorm car.

It was the first time I’d seen, let along photographed, a Viewliner dorm-bag.

The train is on CSX tracks that in this location run next to Old U.S. Route 231.

A cloud shelf that was breaking up led to some dramatic light and sky conditions for this image.

We Interrupt Your Daily Routine for an Amtrak Train

December 13, 2019

The Thursday morning plans of Ed Ribinskas did not include railfanning.

He planned to drop his wife, Ursula, off at a dentist appointment in Willoughby at 9:40 a.m., doing business at the post office on the way.

There were also plans to stop at the bank and a couple other places.

Then he saw that Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited was running late and not due out of Cleveland until 8:30 a.m.

He also saw that No. 48 was being led by the Phase III P42DC heritage unit No. 145.

That got his mind to doing some figuring. If they left home at 8:40 a.m., they could hit the post office and make the one minute drive over to Railroad and Elm streets just east of the former New York Central passenger station in Painesville.

He got to the crossing at 9 a.m. and five minutes later No. 48 came charging past.

They made it to the dentist appointment with two minutes to spare.

No. 48 was late because it was stuck behind Amtrak’s eastbound Capitol Limited, which struck a vehicle at West Perry Road in Ligonier, Indiana.

Police reported that the driver of the motor vehicle, William Sanford, 41, of Warsaw, Indiana, was killed.

No. 30 was given a new crew at the scheduled station stop in Waterloo, Indiana, and arrive in Cleveland at 8:07 a.m., six hours and 22 minutes late.

No. 48 arrived in Cleveland at 8:20 a.m., two hours and 42 minutes late.

The police report said Sanford drove onto the railroad crossing in front of the Amtrak train at about 10:50 p.m. No Amtrak crew members or passengers were injured.

Going Away

December 12, 2019

Going away images of Amtrak motive power are not among my favorites to make, but I made an exception on this day largely because of the time of day when I was here.

It is just after 8 a.m. in Waterloo, Indiana, and a late westbound Capitol Limited is pulling into the station.

The sun hasn’t been up all that long so the traditional coming photograph would be a challenge due to strong back lighting.

I did make some images of No. 20 coming toward me, then swung around and got the going away shot of the head end.

It does have the quality of giving a sense of direction and showing where the train is heading.

The warm morning light is a nice attribute, too.

No. 1 on No. 29

November 23, 2019

Not many railroads have single digit roster numbers for their motive power fleet, but CSX and Amtrak do.

Although I’ve never ridden on a train pulled by CSX AC44CW No. 1, I have ridden twice behind Amtrak P42DC No. 1.

One of those trips occurred on May 31, 2012, when I took the Capitol Limited from Cleveland to Chicago.

I had noticed No. 1 was the lead unit when the train arrived in the Cleveland Amtrak station.

As I was walking to the station after No. 29 halted at Chicago Union Station I got my camera out and made this image.

My previous trip behind No. 1 was in June 1999 aboard the Empire Builder from Portland, Oregon, to Chicago.

I also photograph No. 1 in Hinsdale, Illinois, once leading the eastbound Illinois Zephyr.

My travel records show that at one time or another I’ve ridden behind every Amtrak P42DC with a single digit roster number.

Early Morning and the Westbound Lake Shore Limited

October 26, 2019

The sun is slowly climbing over Olmsted Falls as a very late Lake Shore Limited scoots toward Chicago.

Under normal circumstances Train No. 49 would have passed here in darkness.

The sun angle when this image was made on May 11 made photography tricky but did yield a nice reflection from the lead P42DC locomotive No. 92.

The former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern (later New York Central) depot at right is now the home of a model railroad club.

Just Like Sunday Mornings With Grandpa

August 18, 2019

Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited is more than four hours late as it passes through Olmsted Falls, Ohio, on a Sunday morning in mid May.

It was a sunny and pleasant Sunday morning in Olmsted Falls as I stood next to the tracks of Norfolk Southern at the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern station that is now owned by a model railroad club, the Cuyahoga Valley & West Shore.

I was waiting for a tardy eastbound Lake Shore Limited that Amtrak predicted would arrive in Elyria at 9:12 a.m. and depart two minutes later.

If that held, that would put No. 48 through Olmsted Falls at about 9:25 a.m.

As I waited, my thoughts flashed back to Sunday mornings in the early 1960s when my grandparents on my mother’s side would come to my hometown in east central Illinois from St. Louis for a weekend visit.

On Sunday morning, grandpa would take my sister and I for a walk of about four blocks that we called “going to the trains.”

On the west side of Mattoon not far from our house was an open area that still had tracks leading to a an abandoned shop building once used by the Peoria, Decatur & Evansville, which was absorbed by the Illinois Central in the early 20th century.

The tracks leading into that long-closed shop were still in place, but rusty and covered in weeds. Cinders were plentiful in the ballast.

This area was located between the tracks of the IC – that former PD&E – and the St. Louis line of the New York Central.

We would walk across those tracks to stand near the Central tracks. Two NYC passenger trains were scheduled to pass through Mattoon during the mid to late morning hours.

The eastbound train was the Southwestern and the westbound train the Knickerbocker. They were all that was left of the Central’s service to St. Louis.

In the early 1960s, both of those trains were still quite grand with sleepers, dining cars and coaches, some of which operated through to New York and all of which operated to and from Cleveland.

Sometimes the motive power for the trains were E units still wearing NYC lightning stripes, but at others times the motive power was Geeps in the cigar band look.

I thought about those trains as I waited for Amtrak No. 48, which had lost time starting with a late departure from Chicago Union Station the night before.

But something happened between Chicago and South Bend, Indiana, where the bulk of the lost time occurred.

Amtrak equipment, like much of that used by the Central, is silver-colored stainless steel. The Central had some two-tone gray smooth sided passenger cars that were assigned to the St. Louis trains.

There are some parallels to where the Central’s passenger service was in the early 1960s and where Amtrak is today.

NYC management under the leadership of Alfred Perlman was convinced that long-distance trains had no future and throughout the 1950s the Central had aggressively discontinued as many of those trains as regulators would allow.

There might not have been any NYC passenger trains for myself, my sister and my grandpa to watch during our walks “to the trains” had the Illinois Commerce Commission allowed the Central to discontinue all service to St. Louis as it wanted to do in the late 1950s.

Amtrak management under the leadership of Richard Anderson has been signaling that it wants to transform its network into a series of short-haul corridors between urban points.

That strategy would eviscerate Amtrak’s long-distance network and probably spell the end of the Lake Shore Limited, the only daily train between Chicago and New York.

Those walks “to the trains” did not last long. By the middle 1960s my grandparents were no longer traveling from St. Louis to Mattoon to visit us.

In the meantime, the Southwestern and Knickerbocker grew shorter, shrinking to one sleeper and a couple of coaches. The dining car no longer operated west of Indianapolis.

In late 1967 the Central posted notices of its intent to discontinue its last trains to St. Louis. By then the trains only operated between St. Louis and Union City, Indiana, the NYC having used the “Ohio strategy” to discontinue them between Union City and Cleveland.

The “Ohio strategy” was a rule of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that allowed a railroad to discontinue a passenger train within the state of Ohio without PUCO approval provided it was not the last passenger train on that route.

The NYC and other railroads used that rule to devastating effect in the 1960s.

The Interstate Commerce Commission stayed the discontinuance of the remnants of the Southwestern and Knickerbocker, but after conducting an investigation concluded they were not needed for the public necessity and convenience. They made their last trips in March 1968.

By then they had shrunk to one E unit and one coach.

My grandpa died in 1982, the same year that Conrail won regulatory approval to abandon the former NYC through Mattoon. The tracks were pulled up through town in May 1983.

In the meantime, the IC razed the former shops used by the PD&E. That area where we used to walk remains an open field passed by a handful of trains of Canadian National.

No. 48 was slowly gaining back some of its lost time a minute or two at a time as it made its was east from Toledo. It departed Elyria about when Amtrak predicted it would.

The Lake Shore Limited continues to be an impressive looking train with three sleepers, six coaches, a baggage car, café car, dining car and two locomotives. But the dining car no longer serves meals freshly prepared onboard.

Just like the Central did, Amtrak is slowing chipping away at onboard service in an effort to cut costs.

As the Lake Shore flashed past, I again felt myself going back to the early 1960s and watching the Southwestern rush past also en route to New York City.

I couldn’t think of too many better ways to spend part of a Sunday morning.

Passing the Olmsted Falls depot, now the home of a model railroad club.

All the meals being served in that dining car behind the Amfleet coach were prepared off the train. The chefs were laid off or reassigned to other runs.

Hanging With the Hoosier State in its Final Week

August 11, 2019

Boarding has begun for the Chicago-bound Hoosier State on June 25 at Indianapolis Union Station.

By the time I arrived in Indianapolis Amtrak’s Hoosier State had just one week left to live.

I would experience No. 851 three times before it made its final trip on June 30, riding it once and photographing it trackside twice.

I had ridden the Hoosier State several times but not since August 1991.

Interestingly, my purpose for riding the Hoosier State nearly 28 years later would be the same as why I rode it in 1991.

I was moving and needed to go back to my former hometown to pick up a car and drive it to my new hometown.

In 1991 I had driven from Indianapolis to State College, Pennsylvania. In 2019 I drove from Cleveland to Indianapolis.

Boarding of No. 851 began shortly after I arrived at Indianapolis Union Station on the morning of June 25.

I was the second passenger to board the Horizon fleet coach to which most Indy passengers were assigned. The car was about two-thirds full.

The consist also included an Amfleet coach, an Amfleet food service car and two P42DC locomotives, Nos. 77 and 55.

We departed on time but a few minutes later received a penalty application near CP Holt that required a conversation with the CSX PTC desk.

We would later encounter a delay between Crawfordsville and Lafayette due to signal issues.

Yet there was no freight train interference en route that I observed. We stopped briefly in Chicago so a Metra train could go around us.

That was probably because we were early. We halted at Chicago Union Station 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

I had heard the former Monon can be rough riding, but I didn’t think it was any worse than other Amtrak routes I’ve ridden.

There wasn’t any of the abrupt sideways jerking that I’ve experienced on other Amtrak trains.

The journey did seem to be slow going at times, particularly through the CSX yard in Lafayette; on the former Grand Trunk Western west of Munster, Indiana; through the Union Pacific yard on the former Chicago & Eastern Illinois; and within Chicago proper.

Overall, the experience was much the same as riding any other Amtrak Midwest corridor train although it featured an entrance into Chicago that I had not experienced before in daylight.

The crew said nothing about it being the last week of operation for Nos. 850 and 851.

My next encounter with the Hoosier State came in Lafayette on June 28.

No. 851 arrived on time with a more typical consist that included cars being ferried from Beach Grove shops to Chicago.

These included a Superliner sleeping car, a Viewliner baggage car, a Horizon food service car, and a Heritage baggage car. There also was the standard Hoosier State consist of three cars. On the point was P42DC No. 99.

I was positioned next to the former Big Four station at Riehle Plaza so I could photograph above the train.

Although a sunny morning, the tracks were more in shadows than I would have liked. Nonetheless I was pleased, overall, with what I came away with.

After No 851 departed – it operated on CSX as P317, an original Hoosier State number – I went over to Fifth Street to photograph it sans railroad tracks.

One stretch of rails has been left in the street in front of the former Monon passenger station.

My last encounter with the Hoosier State would be my briefest.

I drove to Linden to photograph the last northbound run at the railroad museum at the former joint Monon-Nickel Plate depot.

No. 851 was 24 minutes late leaving Indianapolis Union Station and about that late at Crawfordsville.

It had a consist similar to what I had seen in Lafayette two days earlier. P42DC No. 160 had a battered nose with some of its silver paint peeling away.

I wasn’t aware until I saw them that two former Pennsylvania Railroad cars had been chartered to operate on the rear of the last Hoosier State.

They were Colonial Crafts and Frank Thomson. The latter carried a Pennsy keystone tail sign on its observation end emblazoned with the Hoosier State name.

It was a nice touch and after those cars charged past the Hoosier State was gone in more ways than one.

 

That’s my Horizon coach reflected in the lower level of the Lafayette station.

 

Watching the countryside slide by west of Monon, Indiana.

The Hoosier State has come to a halt on Track 16 at Chicago Union Station. That’s the inbound City of New Orleans to the left.

A crowd lines the platform in Lafayette as the Hoosier State arrives en route to Chicago.

The former Big Four station in Lafayette was moved to its current location to serve Amtrak. At one time it also served intercity buses.

Pulling out of Lafayette on the penultimate northbound trip to Chicago.

P42DC No. 160, which pulled the last northbound Amtrak Train No. 851 had a well-worn nose.

Two former Pennsylvania Railroad passenger cars brought up the rear of the last northbound Hoosier State.