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CLASSIC PHOTOS: INDEPENDENCE DAY NEC
Posted by Jersey Mike on Tue Sep 14 12:33:42 2021Back in 2004 the NEC was a lot more interesting than it has become so it wasn't hard to be able to fill a full set of photos with just what I was able to take on the Amtrak trip to/from my northeast destination. Having coach access to the rear facing window also helped a lot. This set of photos was taken over the July 4th holiday and includes a New Haven power change for what I assume is Amtrak's Train 56 Vermonter. The full set of photos can be found here.
Starting off in Baltimore, the MARC HHP-8's were still pretty new and, despite prevailing trends, examples like #4912 here would still be in service far after the Amtrak fleet was put in storage.
Bi-level Kab Kars like #7849 would also remain a MARC mainstay even after the delivery of newer Bombardier split-level types.
Passing through Philadelphia, SHORE tower still looks to be in reasonably good condition with the wooden staircase still intact. SHORE would suffer a fire in 2021.
FAIR tower in Trenton had recently had a passenger friendly sign added to it.
For the NEC's last two active main line towers, UNION would close in 2009 followed by DOCK in 2017.
Speaking of DOCK, I also captured some of the interesting components that make electrification work across the drawspan of it's 3-track movable bridge.
At Manhattan Transfer we find the since sold-on NJT GP40FH-2 #4144 coupled to a Comarrow coach in the Hudson yard likely part of a Raritan Valley Line trainset.
Entering into the previously open-air block west of Penn Station we find the also since retired NJT ALP-44 #4431.
Position Lights were still up at HAROLD interlocking, still unspoiled by the East Side Access morass.
Climbing the western approach of the Hellgate Bridge I encountered CSX B36-7 #5833 pulling a string of cars out of Queens and towards the Oak Point yard. Retired from CSX in 2009 the Seaboard Coast Line purchased over half the production run for use on their flat coastal main lines and were the last B-boats in service with the railroad.
Phase IV heritage painted P40DC #824 was hanging out south of New Haven to be applied to Train 56 during the switchover from Electric to Diesel.
AEM-7 #948 and GP40TC #524 were both on hand in Amtrak's New Haven motor storage yard. Amtrak's GP40TC engines have been rebuilt into GP38H-3's and are used mostly in work train service, but are on hand to rescue broken down passenger trains thanks to retaining their head end power capacity.
Here we see P40DC #824 backing up along side Metro North M2 #8452 to couple against the rear of Train 56. Due to the Vermonter's routing via Palmer, Mass, the Vermonter trainset would need to reverse direction and was fitted with either a Metroliner cab car at one end or diesel locomotives at both ends.
As #824 comes in for the couple, CDoT owned M2 bar car #8653 can be seen in the background. These unique alcohol service cars were a profitable feature of peak period New Haven Line commuter trains until they were withdrawn in 2015 due to the cost of obtaining replacements as part of the new M8 fleet.
Finally we see Amtrak P40DC #824 again departing with Train 56 after the station stop in Meriden, CT. The Vermonter had made the stop on the holdout platform service the controlled siding due to the need to pass a southbound train on the main track. Note the second Genesis style unit on the head end of Train 56. This arrangement would persist until 2014 when the Vermonter was restored to the more direct Connecticut River Line. In 2016 the new Hartford commuter rail line would result in the demolition and replacement of the old Amshack style station by a modern structure using two full length high level platforms.
Well thanks for reading. Always interesting to look back and see how much has changed in such a short period of time.