Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak P42DC’

Amtrak Fall Foliage Two for Tuesday

October 25, 2022

I’ve been focusing on seeking trains and fall foliage in the past couple of weeks because we are in the peak color period of October.

Last Sunday I made a trip to the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern to find autumn colors. Here are a couple images of Amtrak and fall color.

In the top image, the westbound Capitol Limited is nearly on time as it charges through Chesterton, Indiana. The train had six Superliner cars, which was one more than its usual five. The sixth car was a transition sleeper on the rear.

On the point is a lone P42DC, which also is the norm for Nos. 29 and 30.

In the bottom image, the westbound Blue Water passes a colorful stand of trees in Porter, Indiana. Train 365 originates in Port Huron, Michigan, and runs with a locomotive on each end to avoid having to turn the train in Port Huron.

The consist is six Horizon fleet cars, including a food service car. The motive power is an SC-44 Charger, which has become the standard motive power for Midwest corridor trains.

No. 365 It is on Amtrak-owned trackage and the signal visible on the left protects the junction with the NS Chicago Line at the CP 482 interlocking plant.

The signal also marks the end of Amtrak ownership of the line, which extends from Porter to Kalamazoo, Michigan. This is the longest stretch of Amtrak-owned trackage outside the Northeast Corridor.

The heritage of this track is Michigan Central. Amtrak’s Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Wolverine Service trains also use these tracks.

Ferry Move

August 3, 2022

Once a week Amtrak’s Cardinal ferries equipment between Chicago and Indianapolis that is going to or from its Beech Grove Shops. The normal procedure is to place the ferried equipment, including locomotives, on the front of the train. Shown is the westbound Cardinal on the CSX Monon Subdivision about a mile south of Linden, Indiana. The regular equipment of No. 51 starts behind the two Superliner cars that are trailing a Viewliner baggage car and diner. The image was made on May 30.

Something Special on Amtrak No. 48

July 14, 2022

I saw online that Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited had P42DC No. 108, the Phase VI livery leading on Tuesday morning.

This scheme has been described by Amtrak as “transitional” as well as a celebration of the passenger carrier’s 50th anniversary.

I got up early and went down to the Painesville station. No. 48 was reported to have left Cleveland on time at 5:50 a.m.

My camera showed a time stamp of 6:12 a.m. on my images.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Been More Than a Decade Now

June 8, 2022

I recently ran across this image of the Amtrak 40th anniversary exhibit train in Jackson, Michigan. The exhibit train contained numerous artifacts regarding Amtrak history in those three baggage cars.

The Amfleet food service car contained a gift shop while the sleeping car on the rear provided quarters for the traveling exhibit train staff.

The image was made in October 2011. That was more than 10 years ago. Last year when Amtrak marked its 50th anniversary, it did not send an exhibit train out to tour the country.

Aside from a few historic photographs posted on its website and giving some locomotives a 50th anniversary herald Amtrak did little to celebrate its half century of service.

The lingering COVID-19 pandemic no doubt had something to do with that. So did Amtrak’s aversion to spending money on something management viewed as a “frill” during a time when the passenger carrier continued to struggle with less revenue due to pandemic-induced ridership losses.

On the point of the exhibit train is an F40 non-powered control unit painted in the Phase III livery. The same retro look has been applied to the trailing P42DC, which provided motive power and head-end power to the train.

This image also is noteworthy for having been scanned from a slide that came from one of the last rolls of slide film that I ever exposed. Three months earlier I had purchased a digital single lens reflex camera and I seldom made photographs with slide film after that.

On this day I had both cameras although most of the images I made were created with the digital camera. I finished off a roll of slide film with my other camera, which left just one roll of slide film left in my camera bag.

Later this summer will be the 10th anniversary of my having exposed my last frame of slide film. That image was of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 in Bucyrus pulling a Norfolk Southern employee appreciation special.

Those NS employee specials, like the Amtrak exhibit train, are both now things of the past and nothing similar has come along to take their place.

Photograph and Article by Craig Sanders

Opening the 2022 Photo Season

March 27, 2022

Whether it is a sports team, a theater company, or a musical ensemble, there is something special about opening day or opening night. The players or performers have been putting in hours of practice and planning as they pointed toward the moment when the season, run or concert series would begin.

There is much anticipation and hope for an auspicious start that will herald great things to come.

And so it was as I made my way to east central Illinois back on Feb. 20 for my first railfan photography outing of the year.

That day proved to be far from a promising beginning. Shown above is the only train I wound up photographing.

Amtrak’s northbound Saluki passes the former Illinois Central station in Arcola, Illinois. There is still some snow lingering from a previous storm and Train 390 was more than a half hour late. On the point was a P42DC rather than the usual SC-44.

I would spend the rest of the day hanging out in Tuscola but train traffic was minimal and I ended up going home feeling disappointed. It was just one of those days.

Opening day is never the only game or performance of a season and this won’t be my only outing of this year. More and better days lie ahead. I’m looking forward to them because you never know what you will see, what you will find.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Catching Up with Amtrak’s New Livery

September 3, 2021

I bagged the Amtrak Phase VI unit on Thursday morning – one of them anyway).  I woke up hoping to get another shot at the Midnight Blue Amtrak 50th Anniversary engine – P42DC No. 100 – but realized he was on time and I would have to drive pretty far east to catch him. 

However another 50th Anniversary unit – P42DC No. 108 – was leading No. 49, the westbound Lake Shore Limited, and it was running almost three hours late. 

This one I decided to try for and I ended up catching him on the Sandusky Bay bridge and causeway at Danbury.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

Accelerating in Waterloo

June 27, 2021

Amtrak’s westbound Capitol Limited is picking up speed as it accelerates away from its station stop in Waterloo, Indiana, one hour and 15 minutes late.

It is the first image I’ve made of the Capitol in well over a year and getting this photograph took good timing and fast acting.

Before leaving home I had checked the status of Amtrak trains through Waterloo. There wasn’t enough time to get there before the Lake Shore Limited arrived and chances were good I would miss No. 29 by 15 minutes or so.

It had been reported out of Cleveland an hour and 20 minutes but Amtrak’s website projected No. 29 would make up a good chunk of that and arrive in Waterloo 59 minutes late.

If that held, I had no chance. But I also knew Amtrak can get delayed between Waterloo and Toledo.

As I neared Waterloo I checked the Amtrak website again. No. 29 was now projected to arrive in Waterloo at 7:46 a.m. I figured to miss by that about five minutes.

The exit ramp for Waterloo onto U.S. Route 6 from Interstate 69 is just beyond the bridge over the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern.

As I passed the exit signs for Route 6 it was 7:47 a.m. on my car’s clock. I slowed for the bridge and exit ramp and looked toward the east. No headlight was in sight.

That was a good sign This just might work after all.

Nearly a month earlier as I had driven over that same bridge I had seen the headlight of a fast approaching Amtrak 49. I was going to fast to get to the side of the road in time to try to get a grab shot and a pickup truck also getting off at the exit was right on my tail.

So close and yet so far away.

This time I drove to a road that crosses the Chicago Line at grade shortly after I got onto Route 6. The gates were up. Another good sign.

I checked the Amtrak website and saw No. 29 was now projected to arrive in Waterloo at 7:53 a.m., three minutes from now. Did I have time to get to the station?

I began driving down a road that runs parallel to the tracks. Then there it was up ahead. I immediately pulled to the side of Lincoln Street, grabbed my camera and dashed into the weeds to make this image.

There was no time so think about what I wanted to do. I barely was able to get all of the train in the frame.

Photographing the Capitol Limited is a challenge because much of its journey occurs at night. On the western end of the route the train is always operating in the wrong light. Only on the eastern end can you get 29 or 30 in good light.

In Northeast Ohio, No. 30 is scheduled into Cleveland at 1:45 a.m. and No. 29 at 2:53 a.m.

Still, you can get an interesting image on the western end of the route if you work it right.

The glint off P42DC No. 190 was happenstance but I also knew that this time of year the early morning light would favor the north side of the train.

I’m hoping it won’t be another year before I can photograph the Capitol Limited again.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

Coming to a Long Distance Train Near You

June 18, 2021

Amtrak recently took delivery of its first Siemens ACL-42 locomotive. Released from the factory in Sacramento, California, it deadheaded on the California Zephyr to Chicago where it was displayed at a press event at Union Station on Tuesday.

On Wednesday night it deadheaded to Washington on the Capitol Limited. It will be sent to Wilmington, Delaware, for testing before entering revenue service later this year.

Amtrak has ordered 75 ACL-42 locomotives, which are similar in design and appearance to the Siemens SC-44 locomotives now in service on Midwest and West Coast corridor trains.

The ACL-42 is slated to replace the General Electric-built P42DC locomotives that have been the backbone of the national network since the late 1990s.

The livery shown on No. 300 is expected to adorn some of the initial ACL-42s released in the coming months. However, Amtrak has said it is working to design another livery that will be applied to most ACL-42s.

An Amtrak Two for Tuesday

June 1, 2021

Amtrak’s Cardinal is used to ferry equipment to and from the Beech Grove shops in Indianapolis. Typically, equipment goes north on Monday and south on Saturday.

The usual practice is to add the equipment bound for Chicago to the front of the train at Indianapolis Union Station, which has the effect of creating two trains in one.

Monday’s westbound No. 51 has this double look as seen in the images above. The ferry section added in Indy is on the front of the train followed by the passenger section.

Note also that the ferry section has two P42DC locomotives and two Viewliner baggage cars, which is in keeping with the theme of this post of two for Tuesday. The ferry section also includes a lone Superliner coach.

The passenger section has its customary consist of three Amfleet II coaches, an Amfleet food service car, a Viewliner sleeping car and a Viewliner baggage-dorm.

The Cardinal is shown passing through Brownsburg, Indiana, on the CSX Crawfordsville Subdivision.

Tracking the Amtrak Phase II Heritage Units

April 11, 2021

With the demise of Amtrak No. 66, the Phase II livery heritage unit, its replacement, P42DC No. 130 debuted late in 2018.

The only time I photographed it was on Nov. 11, 2018, trailing at Painesville on the eastbound Lake Shore Limited.

Looking through older photos, though, I found I did photograph it leading on Train No. 48 at Lloyd Road in Wickliffe on June 28, 2010.

Here it is splitting two coal trains for the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company coal-fired power plant in Eastlake when it was still in operation.

This is one of the many photos that I can say I’m glad I got it when I got it.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas