Posts Tagged ‘Jack Norris photographs’

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

 

More Railroad Stock Certificates

May 8, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some more stock certificates that I think would be of interest to the Akron Railroad Club members.

As for stocks issued after a company “died,” most acquisitions and mergers were actually 999 year leases.

Keeping companies as separate entities on paper had great tax and union benefits. Once keeping separate railroads got more expensive than the benefits is when railroads actually consolidated.

That is why Chessie, for example, had locomotives and other equipment with Baltimore & Ohio, Chesapeake & Ohio and Western Maryland sub lettering.

On paper, Chessie System was still three separate railroads. I am showing an old (1930s) and newer Erie certificate for comparison of how certificates were “modernized” over the years. Some that showed steam were remade with diesels.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

Trains of 5 Railroads in 6 Hours

April 6, 2017

New Jersey Transit in Newark station.

I went railfanning out at Bound Brook, New Jersey, last week. I took New Jersey Transit to get there.

At Bound Brook, the old Central of New Jersey and the old Lehigh Valley mainlines are about 50 feet apart.

You can stand on the NJT platform and photograph both lines. The LV line today is Conrail Shared Assets, hosting Norfolk Southern, CSX and local Conrail action.

The CNJ line is strictly the domain of NJT. It was used by the Baltimore & Ohio, Reading and CNJ.

After Conrail formed the CNJ eventually went to NJT and the Reading/B&O connection was switched over to connect with the LV line instead. Any local freight service is handled by NS.

In my travels I also had to change trains at Penn Station in Newark, New Jersey. Here are some shots from the day, including short line Morristown & Erie bringing freight down to Harrison, New Jersey via the old Lackawanna mainline, for interchange with CSX.

It’s a 1964 Alco C424 in actual freight service in 2017. The Pennsylvania Railroad bench is in Penn Station. Some things change, some remain the same.

In all, I made photographs  of five railroads in six hours.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

 

Foggy Day at Princeton Junction

February 24, 2017

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The day was nice here in the suburbs of New Jersey. I was in the mood to go see some big time passenger train action so I headed 40 miles west to where the wide open spaces of central New Jersey yield some nice places to photograph the Northeast Corridor.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas and I ended up in a fog bank at Princeton Junction, 47 miles southwest of New York City and 10 miles from the New Jersey capital of Trenton.

The NEC hosts an interesting variety of equipment, including old and new technologies working together to move tens of thousands of people a day from home to work and back again or countless other destinations.

One minute, you see a New Jersey Transit local made up of New Jersey Arrow MUs, originally built in the late ‘70s and rebuilt in the ‘90s. The next minute, an Acela streaks by at 125 m.p.h.

The fast, quiet electric trains running at more than 100 m.p.h. on 140-pound welded rail are hard enough to photograph on a good day.

I picked Princeton Junction due to dead-straight lines of sight for several miles in either direction.

The fog erased the advantage, but also made for an interesting time because you never knew what was going to pop out of the fog.

I had old NJT MUs as well as their modern ALP46 electrics. Amtrak produced modern ACS-64s as well as a pair of cab cars that were at one time the pride of the Penn Central Metroliner fleet, the future of high speed rail back in the late ‘60s.

I didn’t spend much time there today, but if I had waited long enough maybe the ghost of a Pennsylvania Railroad GG-1 would have emerged from the fog. Only the out-of-service Nassau Tower knows the answer.

Article and Photographs by Jack Norris

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Despite Massive Snow NJT Still Ran On Time

February 10, 2017

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A severe snow storm hit New Jersey on Thursday. Since I live within walking distance of the old Erie/Erie Lackawanna Bergen County Line I wandered down to the station at the height of the storm to see the action. All the trains I saw (except for one) were on time to the minute. Our station is seeing its 88th winter, still doing its job sheltering passengers from the weather. The trains keep rolling on the old Erie, moving passengers just like they have for over a century.

Photographs by Jack Norris

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Looking for Reminders of the Erie in NJ

February 4, 2017

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I recently took a train ride over the former Erie Railroad to Port Jervis, New York. At one time Port Jervis had 12,000 residents, about half of them employed by the Erie.

Today, Port Jervis is a run-down town trying to survive by reinventing itself as a go-to destination. There are plenty of relics of the Erie to be seen there.

At the west end of Campbell Hall Yard, 22 miles east of Port Jervis, sits a typical Erie concrete phone booth.

In Port Jervis itself, restored Erie E8A No. 833 and a short line railroad’s RS-3 bring the Erie back to life.

The 115-foot turntable once handled the Erie’s largest steam locomotives.

The base of a huge water tower remains at the east end of a snow-covered wasteland that was once a 10-track coach yard.

The old Port Jervis station now serves as a commercial office building. Trains of Metro-North Railroad pass by on their way to a replacement Metro-North station about a half mile to the west. In the old engine servicing area, the old sanding towers remain where Berkshires and 2-10-2s once roamed.

The old Erie signals are getting replaced between Suffern, New York, and Port Jervis.

Those at Port Jervis, however, should still be around for a while. An underpass that at one time had 15 tracks passing above it proudly proclaims its former owner.

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