Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak trains’

Amtrak Pennsylvanian Two for Tuesday

December 20, 2022

It is Feb. 8, 2003, a Saturday, at the Cleveland Amtrak station, the last full day of service by the Chicago-Philadelphia Pennsylvanian. It was just over four years ago that Amtrak extended the then New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian to Chicago and rescheduled it operate during daylight hours through Northeast Ohio.

At the time, Amtrak expected increased mail and express revenue to pay for the extension. But then a new Amtrak president decided that the head-end revenue gambit wasn’t working and Amtrak was pulling back expansions it had undertaken as part of it.

In the top image the penultimate eastbound Pennsylvanian to serve Cleveland is arriving in the station on time. I would ride it as far as Pittsburgh, spend a few hours there, and catch the last westbound Pennsylvanian to run through Northeast Ohio.

The last eastbound Pennsylvanian to stop in Cleveland would do so on Sunday morning. The Pennsylvanian would then revert to New York-Pittsburgh operation, which continues to be the case today.

A handful of railroad enthusiasts were on hand to to see and/or ride the Pennsylvanian in Northeast Ohio one final time. Nonetheless, the train was lightly patronized, which underscored another reason why Amtrak ceased operating it west of Pittsburgh.

We would arrive early into Alliance, which gave me time to disembark and make some photographs. Also on board on this day was current Akron Railroad Club newsletter editor Ron McElrath, who made video for his Railroad Video Quarterly series.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Move Faster Clouds, Faster

November 2, 2022

The morning of Oct. 23 in Porter, Indiana, was pleasant but skies had sun and clouds mixed. That meant playing a game of “dodge the clouds” whenever a train showed up.

Such was the case with the arrival of the Amtrak Train 49, the Lake Shore Limited.

If you look toward the front of the train you’ll see it is in sunlight. But the two New York section Viewliner sleepers and baggage car are still in shadows because a cloud hadn’t moved enough out of the way of the sun.

Still I like the contrast between the “dark” end of the train and the brilliant fall foliage in sunlight above and to the side of No. 49.

The train is in the middle of the CP 482 interlocking, which is a junction of the Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern, the Grand Rapids Subdivision of CSX, the Amtrak Michigan District and the NS Porter branch.

Article and Photograph by Craig Sanders

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.

Amtrak to Begin Restoring Service

September 15, 2022

With a national railroad strike and/or lockout now averted, Amtrak said on its website this morning that it is working to restore cancelled trains.

However, no details had yet to be posted by mid-morning. The notice said passengers whose trains had been cancelled would be accommodated on “first available departures.”

The passenger carrier had begun suspending some long distance trains on Tuesday, including the Southwest Chief, Empire Builder, California Zephyr and the Los Angeles-San Antonio segment of the Texas Eagle.

On Wednesday Amtrak said all remaining long-distance trains would be suspended on Thursday as well as late day corridor services.

Some trains still departed their terminals on Wednesday, including the Capitol Limited, but others, including the Lake Shore Limited, were suspended.

The Capitol and Lake Shore use the same Norfolk Southern route between Chicago and Cleveland.

Various commuter railroads around the country also had announced plans to suspend service if a work stoppage occurred as early as Friday morning.

Some commuter railroads own their own tracks and would not have been affected.

Amtrak had indicated that in the event of a work stoppage, it would having continued to operate corridor services on routes where it, a short line carrier not part of the contract talks, or a public agency owns the tracks.

In numerous public statements, Amtrak had said it was not a party to the labor negotiations between the National Carriers Conference Committee, which represents railroad management, and the 12 labor unions representing 125,000 railroad workers.

My First Look at an Amtrak ALC-42

August 21, 2022

Shown above is the first of what I expect to be dozens if not hundreds of photographs of Amtrak trains pulled by Siemens-built ALC-42 Charger locomotives.

The City of New Orleans is just under an hour late as it rips through Humboldt, Illinois, on the Champaign Subdivision of Canadian National with No. 304 in charge.

Amtrak began phasing the new Charger locomotives into revenue service last spring on the Chicago-Seattle/Portland Empire Builder. The CONO was the second train to receive the units.

However, not all CONO train sets have the ALC-42s. The day before this image was made, the northbound CONO was pulled by a P42DC.

Over the next few years the ALC-42 units will replace P42 and P40 locomotives on long-distance and select corridor service trains. In the Midwest, corridor trains have been pulled for the past three to four years by Siemens-built SC-44 Chargers.

The ALC-42s have introduced Amtrak’s Phase VII livery, which features a dark blue carbody with red accenting and white stripes. However, the Charger above wears the Phase VI scheme, which only a handful of Amtrak units will have, including one P42DC.

Perhaps in time I’ll become as tired of seeing this livery and locomotive as I’ve come to be with seeing the P42DC in action in the Phase V scheme. But that day is years away for now.

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.

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.

Amtrak Anniversary Saturday: A Photo Tribute to 50 Years of Amtrak

April 30, 2021

With Amtrak’s 50th anniversary being Saturday I’ve selected a small sample of Amtrak in each decade. Over the years I’ve ridden many trains throughout the country either myself or with family and friends. So many that I rode I also photographed trackside at some point.

For the 1970s, here is the westbound Lake Shore Limited at Madison in July 1977.

For the 1980s, I’ve chosen the Lake Shore Limited again, this time headed eastward in Cleveland on Aug. 29, 1984.

The 1990s tribute is the California Zephyr eastbound in Byers Canyon of Colorado on June 28, 1988. I also included the Vermonter northbound at Hartford, Vermont in fall 1998, and the eastbound Southwest Chief in Albuqerque on May 6, 1991.

For the 2000s I present the Empire Builder eastbound at Red Wing, Minnesota, on June 19, 2002; and the westbound Maple Leaf at St. Johnsville, New York, on Sept. 7, 2002.

For Amtrak’s fifth decade here is the eastbound Empire Builder at East Glacier, Montana, crossing Two Medicine Bridge on July 23, 2016, and the eastbound Pennsylvanian at Summerhill, Pennsylvania, on May 18, 2019.

Now, about that image of No. 49 made in Madison in 1977, yes, it has some flaws.

Here is how Ed explained those: “Believe it or not that is the only Amtrak photo I took in the ‘70s of an Amtrak train.

“Back then I used my Dad’s camera, which was not a 35 mm film camera. The shot was either the first or the last on the negative and when we got it back a giant staple was in it.

“I did not take many photos back then since I shot a lot with the regular 8 mm movie camera.

“I have more movies at that same location. What was always tough with the photos back then was when No. 49 came hrough Madison [I] was looking directly into the early morning sun.

“Amtrak had the early year flaws just like my photo.”

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

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.

When the Pennsylvanian Saw Daylight in Northeast Ohio

November 15, 2020

I enjoyed the few years that Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian ran through Ohio in the late 1990s to early 2000s.

I rode from Cleveland at least twice with family members to Harrisburg and return.

I also rode to Altoona, twice to Pittsburgh and several times just to Alliance. When I wasn’t riding I would be trackside to photograph, make video or just watch.

Here are some of my favorite trackside images of the Pennsylvanian in Ohio.

In the top image, the westbound train is arriving in Alliance where a group of us will board to return to Cleveland during an Akron Railroad Club outing on May 16, 1999.

Next up is a westbound at Hines Hill Road in Hudson on July 25, 1999, followed by the eastbound passing the former Pennsylvania Railroad station in Sebring on Sept. 9, 2001.

In the final image of the sequence, Marty Surdyk introduced me to the Garfield sag after we caught the Pennsylvanian  in Sebring on Sept. 9.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas