Posts Tagged ‘Jack Norris photographs’

Christmas on the New York Subway

December 16, 2017

‘tis Christmas time again and New York City puts its full size train set under the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree for all New Yorkers and tourists to enjoy.

The New York City Transit Museum maintains complete sets of vintage subway cars and periodically operates them during the year for public excursions.

The city, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the transit museum rolls out this set of 1930s subway cars every Sunday in December and the trains operate on a regular schedule during the day.

Tourists and regular New Yorkers waiting for a train are suddenly faced with these beautiful old cars. The reactions can be priceless.

To add to the fun, museum volunteers and local actors/actresses dress in period costumes. One can ride the train all day for $2.75, the price of a normal subway ride.

Riding these trains has become a tradition for me over the years. The ultimate train set for under the ultimate Christmas Tree.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

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More Former Erie Passenger Stations

December 13, 2017

The Park Ridge Station of the Erie Railroad.

In June I did a series on Erie Railroad mainline stations from Hoboken, New Jersey, to Port Jervis, New York. Here are some other stations on some lesser known Erie/Erie Lackawanna branches.

The New Jersey & New York Railroad was leased by the Erie in the 1880’s. The railroad served Bergen County, New Jersey.

Even though the Erie took control of the line, it was still the NJ&NY on paper right through the EL days.

There are some beautiful old stations on the NJ&NY RR. Here are (in order) River Edge, Oradell, and Park Ridge.

Today the line is New Jersey Transit’s Pascack Valley Line and all these stations still serve passengers in their waiting rooms. Ticket machines sell the tickets rather than agents.

Another Erie Line was originally The Northern Railroad of New Jersey.

This railroad started before the Civil War and was bought outright by the Erie about 1940.

The EL ended passenger service on this line in 1966. Today CSX owns the line and only a couple industries are served on the lower end of the line.

This line served some very affluent New Jersey communities and their stations demonstrate that. In order, we have Tenafly Station, now a restaurant, and Demarest Station, which looks more like a church.

The railroad is pretty much dead in these parts, although there is talk about making part of this line a light rail system, which still won’t reach these locations.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

The Tenafly station of the Erie Railroad

The River Edge station of the Erie Railroad

The Demarest Station of the Erie Railroad

The Oradell Station of the Erie Railroad

Jack Norris Has a New Railfan Hangout

December 3, 2017

 

I just moved a few miles northeast of where I used to live and now live within 10 miles of four rail lines.

Three of the four lines are very active. I was in Dumont, New Jersey, along the old New York Central West Shore Line (former New York, West Shore & Buffalo), now the CSX River Line. This was NYC’s main freight line between the New York City area (Weehawken, New Jersey) and Selkirk (Albany) New York.

Many changes have taken place here at Milepost NY13 over the years. Until 1959, commuter trains and some Albany-bound trains (as well as trains of the New York, Ontario & Western until 1957) used this line.

The line here at MP 13 was four tracks wide. Dumont was the end of the four-track main and there was a commuter storage yard in town as well.

The main line continued as double track up to Selkirk. Penn Central did away with the four tracks and Conrail did away with the double track.

Where I am standing is the former Dumont Station site. A nice walkway/park lines the strip between the railroad and West Shore Avenue (I wonder where that name came from.)

There is a gazebo and several eating places across the street. CSX provides about 25 trains a day, although since the line is mostly single track the trains tend to come in sporadic bunches.

A concrete slab was most likely the base of a signal bridge. This will be a nice new spot for me to railfan.

Up, Up and Away

September 9, 2017

I know you guys like boats, airplanes and blimps. How do you feel about hot air balloons? We passed a launch site on the way to Steamtown on Saturday morning. We parked on the shoulder of the highway for about 20 minutes. It makes you forget your troubles for a while. These are for you.

Photographs by Jack Norris

Visiting Railfest Weekend at Steamtown

September 5, 2017

Former Baldwin Eddystone Plant switcher No. 26 ran around pulling short excursions through the yard.

A big event here in the New Jersey/Eastern Pennsylvania area is the annual Railfest at Steamtown National Historic Site over Labor Day Weekend. It is a two-day event, featuring displays, train rides and a night photo session. This day was sunny on Saturday morning but turned to overcast skies as the day went on. Here are some highlights.

Photographs by Jack Norris

Original Lackawanna No. 426, a model SC switcher built by EMC, which predates the change to EMD.

The New York, Ontario & Western entered the diesel age in 1941 with the purchase of five GE 44 tonners. This is one of the original five.

Grand Trunk Western 4-8-2 No. 6039.

Nickel Plate Road No. 759 needs no introduction.

Lackawanna painted F-3 #663 pulled caboose rides through the yard.

Reading F-7s 902 & 903 are not owned by Steamtown but reside their when not pulling excursions for the two groups that own them.

Reading T-1 No. 2124 is one of the four T-1s that the Reading preserved for their Iron Horse Rambles. The 2124 was basically a reserve engine for the 2100, 2101 & 2102.

R&R Article Triggered Reading 2102 Memories

August 9, 2017

If any of you get Railfan & Railroad magazine you probably read about the Chessie Steam Special and Reading 2101.

The article states that work was done on the engine at the Saucon Roundhouse in Hellertown, Pennsylvania.

I pass through Hellertown on occasion and I have photographed the roundhouse over the years. Here are images of it with the roundhouse and coaling tower still standing in 2009, and the last time I saw it in 2014.

I never experienced the Reading 2101 except on the American Freedom Train when it came to New Jersey. I have encountered and ridden behind 2102 several times.

Photographs by Jack Norris

Hickory Creek to Ride Rear of LSL

June 14, 2017

Here is a heads up for Akron Railroad Club members. The Hickory Creek, the ex-Twentieth Century Limited tail car will be traveling to Chicago for the Nickel Plate Road 765 trips. It will leave New York City on the Lake Shore Limited on June 14. It will head back to NYC on the Lake Shore on June 19. I don’t know how many members can be trackside at the ungodly hour that the Lake Shore goes through Berea, but I just wanted to let you know that a treat is heading your way.

Article and Photograph by Jack Norris

Memorial Day Weekend in an ex-Erie Tower

June 3, 2017

On the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, I spent my day volunteering in the former Erie Railroad WC interlocking tower in Waldwick, New Jersey.

Four trains an hour go through the interlocking on a Sunday. Two start and end in Waldwick Yard while the others continue to/from Suffern, New York, or Port Jervis, New York.

Waldwick Tower was built by the Erie in 1880 and for about 103 years the operator controlled movements on the four-track Erie main as well as movements into and out of the commuter terminal.

Today, the main goes from three tracks to two in the interlocking  and it is controlled by an operator at a computer in a location where they cannot even see the railroad.

While sitting up there, one can only imagine the operator on a dark and stormy night listening to the telegraph spitting out orders from the dispatcher.

A new addition this year is the beautiful Erie logo, made from colored stones courtesy of a local landscaping company. A day watching trains from a 137-year-old interlocking tower is a great way to spend a holiday.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

CSX ‘Wall’ Blocks Circus Train View

May 15, 2017

Last Wednesday (May 10) was the anniversary of the golden spike at Promontory Point, Utah. The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus Red unit was passing through New Jersey for the last time.

It traveled over the old New York Central West Shore line, now the CSX River Line. I had a schedule for the train.

There was blue sky and sunshine. The train was heading south, perfectly lighted.

There were about a dozen of us at the old NYC Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, station.

The station is privately owned and the owner happens to like railfans and lets us hang out there 24/7 if we want as long as we respect the property and don’t trash it.

A special train, a safe place to watch it, blue sky and perfect angle. What could possibly go wrong?

Two minutes before the RB train hit the station area, CSX sent a northbound auto rack train, the only type of train that can’t be seen over, through or around.

As a result, the dozen of us — including a couple who had been there since 4 a.m. — didn’t get to see the head end or the first half of the train at all.

I did get part of the train and actually I am pleased with what I got. Since the train was special rather that the locomotives, I did get to witness its passing – in more ways than one – which was what I wanted to see.

Now, ask me how many times do trains pass each other in this particular spot? You already know the answer to that I’m sure.

As I said in the beginning, great area, sun, special train. What could possibly go wrong?

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

 

PRR Artifact Found at PRR ‘Burial’ Site

May 10, 2017

My girlfriend and I frequent flea markets. Usually we find old timetables, maybe a piece of china (Baltimore & Ohio more often than not, since so much of it exists) or an old railroad lantern from an old barn.

Once in a while, however, something truly remarkable or unexpected shows up. This is a story about such items.

Locomotive builder’s plates are rare, treasured items. They are also very expensive.

The builder’s plates in this photo are reproductions. They represent some of the most successful groups of Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotives: Class K-4s Pacific, Class E-6s Atlantic, Class L-1 Mountain and Class I-1sA Decapod.

These were found as a group at a table that had absolutely no other railroad items.

What is even more fun is that they were found at the weekly flea market at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey. For those unfamiliar with the Meadowlands (home of the New York Giants and Jets as well as a horse racing track), the facilities are built on landfill.

The entire area was swamps and pig farms way back when. In the 1960s, Penn Station in New York City was demolished.

All of the rubble from the massive building was shipped to the Meadowlands and dumped as landfill. When at the flea market or football game, Penn Station is under your feet.

I always get excited when a PRR item shows up at the Meadowlands. Sure, it is mostly coincidence.

But I like to think it is the old PRR letting you know that in spirit she is alive and well. Sort of like an occasional oil slick coming to the surface from a long forgotten ship wreck saying, “I’m still here. Remember.”

Article and Photograph by Jack Norris