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Posted by Jersey Mike on Wed Jan 9 23:54:24 2019

Every year in January or February I head to the New York Capitol Region for a ski trip and 2018 was no different. However after over a decade of trips I am starting to run out of things to visit and this year the best I could come up with was a repeat trip to the Springfield Armoury stopping off at the Boston Line's CP-187 along the way. I also took Amtrak's Empire Service up and back so there are a bunch of photos from that as well.

You can find the complete set of photos from this trip here.

To start things off, my Amtrak Regional train was delayed for about an hour due to the Portal bridge getting stuck for s test opening. Not sure whose brilliant idea it was to open a somewhat finicky bridge for a test during working hours, but I used the opportunity to get this photo of HUDSON tower, which closed around 2005. Note the yellow pentagonal sign which marks a mileage change dating to the PRR days when the Main Line, New York to Philadelphia, ran to Jersey City with the bit to Penn Station being a "branch". Mileposts west of HUDSON are still measured to Jersey City even though the line is now solely operated by PATH.

Although I had previously recorded multiple videos in the forward direction, I still used my GoPro on the rear window of my Empire train to record video between the MNRR Division Post at DV interlocking and Yonkers and then Yonders and where I remembered to turn off the video north of Croton-Harmon.

Using a DSLR from the back of the Empire Service train I got some reasonable photos of some of the surviving NY Central automatic block signal bridges north of Poughkeepsie.

CP-187 is where the old Boston and Albany line to Albany diverges from the Selkirk Branch, which was constructed in the late 1920's as part of the Central's Albany improvements. With little reason for freight trains to descend into and ascend from the Hudson valley, the old B&A main line eventually became a passenger only route and after 1968, the Penn Central illegally removed the track on what had become known as the Post Road Branch, forcing Amtrak trains to/from Boston to utilize a time consuming detour with a long backup move. The Penn Central was eventually forced to re-install the 12 miles of track between CP-187 and Albany and today it only sees the daily round trip of Amtrak's Lake Shore limited. Because of the light loading, the 80mph Post Road retains its old school jointed rail, as evidenced in the photo below.

Amtrak P42DC #43 at the head of a 2 car inland shuttle train at Springfield Union Station.

Amtrak Metroliner Cab Car #9635 at the other end of the same shuttle trainset.

After being closed for 4 or so decades, the Springfield Union Station has been renovated and re-opened, although at the time of my visit the track level Amshack was still being used for rail passengers. This will become the eventual terminus for the New Haven/Hartford commuter rail service. Unfortunately the renovation resulted in the demolition of the attached express handling wing of the station as well as Tower 96 :-(

Front of the rebuilt Union Station. A heavy rain storm somewhat inhibited my visit.

As my trip was over the MLK Day weekend, Amtrak was running a different schedule on Sunday which had the ~8am Empire train to NYC originate in Niagara Falls instead of Albany. This allowed me to catch the train at the temporary Schenectady station, which had recently been erected while the old Amshack was replaced by something nicer.

The old Amshack had already been demolished.

Although the line between Albany and CP-169 west of Schenectady primarily serves passenger traffic, the new station platform was of low level construction. Here Empire train #252 stops at the station.

The Albany terminal had also been re-signaled. Here are some new signals at CP-LAB.

Ice covering the mighty Hudson looking north from the Livingston Ave Bridge.

Amtrak P32AC-DM #717 at the NY State Senate President Joe Bruno Albany-Rensselaer Rail Station.

Clear signals for Train 252 heading south to New York City.

The new 4 track station configuration.

I'll wrap things up on the Hudson Line where at Milepost 114 we find the old Athens lighthouse standing in the middle of the river.

Next week we head to Texas for a walk around the Dallas Union Station complex.


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