Sunday, April 17, 2011

Out and Back, Part 6

From here, a out and back will get complicated in planning. To put Alexandria as a stop is easy because VRE schedules are not good for the return times. Now we have two options. The first is to stay in the Washington DC area to take care of business: watching trains and touring or shopping. The second is to go on the Baltimore, MD to watch more trains. After looking at the Baltimore option and the Washington options, we can see the best option.We might even omit the Alexandria stopover, altogether.

To watch int DC, Union Station must be a stop. My first trip to Union Station revealed a station that saw much better times. The roof leaked and it could use a sprucing up. The last time, I was there, the station had been restored and it was a momument to its former self. It was not only restores, it was now a mall, with real trains.

The only problem is watching trains. The train comes into the station from the south by way of a tunnel.  The northern approach end in a terminal settting, expect for the through. The platforms prevents view from the parking deck built above the tracks in the rear.

Just north of Union Station is a Metro Station, above ground. Great! However, all traffic would be not at speed because of entry or exit from the station. Before the Metro, I used to go to New Carolton to watch. This gave me the advantage of speed on the through trains and also the Metro. We have the Metro, in Alexandria, as well. I could go to New Carollton and watch a while and then return to DC to watch until time to depart south. I laid out several possibllites and thought that the following would be the best alternative. The second alternative is to go on to Baltimore and watch the Maryland Commuter and Amtraks there. I could ad to the trip, the watching of the light rail.

186 Northeast Regional: Departs 8:40a, Washington, DC, Arrives: 8:51a, New Carrollton, MD
New Carrollton: 8:51aNR, 8:54as, 9:10anA, 9:15an, 9:30anNR, 9:34asNR, 9:40an, 9:46as, 9:47asA, 10:10anA, 10:15asC, 10:21as, 10:25asNR 10:35anNR, 10:38asA, 10:40an, 11:10anA, 11:17anNR, 11:14asNR, 11:27asA, 11:30as

427 MARC: Departs: 11:30a, New Carrollton, MD. Arrives:
11:45a, Washington, DC

Washington DC: 11:45asP, 11:47asA, 12:00pnA12:02pnNR, 12:20pnP, 12:35psP, 12:47psA, 1:00psNR, 1:00pnA, 1:02pnNR, 1:20pnP, 1:35psP, 1:45pnB(Fri.), 1:47psA, 2:00psNR, 2:00pnA,

MARC NE Regional Carolinian Accela

until 11:30
6+D 6+A 1 6 19+A+D
after 11:45, Washington DC 5+A 5+M 0 4(-2) 14(-2)+A

91 Silver Star: Departs: 3:00p, Washington, DC, Arrives: 11:21p, Hamlet, NC

2 2158 Acela Express, Departs: 9:00a, Washington, DC, Arrives: 9:33a, Baltimore, MD

Baltimore: 9:33anA, 9:40as, 9:53asNR, 9:57an, 10:02anNR, 10:10asA, 10:30an, 10:33anA, 9:42asC, 10:43asNR, 10:50as, 11:02anNR, 11:07asA, 11:30an, 11:35anA, 11:40as, 11:42anNR, 12:07psA, 12:13psNR, 12:20pn, 12:29pnA, 12:40ps, 12:43pnNR, 1:06psNR, 1:10psA, 1:25pn, 1:29pnA, 1:40ps, 1:43pnNR

MARC NE Regional Carolinian Accela

10 9 1 A+8 28+A
less the 30 minute before dep -1 0 0 0 -1
Light rail from 10:30-12:00 -4 -3 -1 -3 -11
light rail from 12 to dep. -4 -4 0 -4 -12

91 Silver Star, Departs: 2:00p, Baltimore, MD, Arrives: 11:21p, Hamlet, NC

Friday, April 15, 2011

Out and Back, Part 5

I now have the trip narrowed down, for now. The extensions may come later. I first want to take the Baltimore or Washington trip. First would be a stop in Alexandria. This is an excellent to stop for watching trains. Before the closing of Potomac Yards, you got freight and passenger. Before the mergers, You had RFP and Southern trains. In the mid 1970's, there also was the local passenger that Southern ran south to Lynchburg.

Southern Railroad ran passenger well into the age of Amtrak. Not only did their locals but the Piedmont ran the Crescent route during the daylight hours.

Here I looked at the schedule for out and back. However, it would be an overnight as the Silver Star out arrives to close to the back to be effective. Next is to look at the VRE schedule to see how effective the trip wold be. I could do the Alexandria train watching on the way home. However, the schedule prevents this from be a viable alternative. Here are the alternatives, Day 1. Any of the alternatives give a good view of the VRE

92 Silver Star: Departs: 6:29a, Hamlet, NC, Arrives: 2:40p, Alexandria, VA.

1. Alexandria(VRE): 2:45psa, 3:25 Psa, 3:30pn, 3:57ps, 4:04ps, 4:13ps, 4:32pna, 4:32pn, 4:44ps

VRE Silver Star NE Regional Carolinian

4+D 1+A 0 1 6+A

Yellow Line Metro: Departs: 5:05p, King Street Metro Station, Arrives: 5:25p, Gallery Place, Red Line Metro: Departs 5:33pm, Gallery Place, Arrives 5:37p, Union Station
2. Alexandria (VRE): 2:40psa, 3:25psa, 3:30pnv, 3:57psv, 4:04psv, 4:13psv, 4:32pna, 4:32pnv, 4:44psv, 5:03psv, 5:11psa, 5:25psv

VRE Silver Star NE Regional Carolinian

7+D 1+A 1 1 10+A

Yellow Line Metro: Departs: 5:35pm, King Street Metro Station, Arrives: 5:55p, Gallery Place, Red Line Metro: Departs 6:03pm, Gallery Place, Arrives 6:07p, Union Station
3. Alexandria (VRE): 2:40psa, 3:25psa, 3:30pnv, 3:57psv, 4:04psv, 4:13psv, 4:32pna, 4:32pnv, 4:44psv, 5:03psv, 5:11psa, 5:25psv, 5:38psv, 5:49psv, 5:52pnv

VRE Silver Star NE Regional Carolinian

10+D 1+A 1 1 13+A+D

338 VRE: Departs: 5:52p, Alexandria, VA, Arrives: 6:25p, Washington, DC

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Out and Back, Part 4

Coming olut of NYC through New Jersey we have the New Jersey comuter rail as well as Philadelphis. In addtion there is the subways in the cities. New Jersy transit has many light rail lines such as the River line, Hudson Bergen lineBaltimore Light Rail, and teh Newark Light Rail, Newark Light Rail, Pennsylvania has its commuter rail along with subway and trolley line. Baltimore has its Commuter rail orininating in Washington. It also has a light rail systen. Now we come to Washiungton DC. My first impression would say that what is has, I have pictures from previous visits. However, since that visit Northern Virginia has instituted the Virginia Rail Express. The DC Metro was new when I first took picture of it. Maryland's commuter rail is also in my collection.

So this first out and back might include an out and back with an overnight stay in DC. I said that I had pictures of the Metro, but only stills. It would be nice to take video.

Much of the NEC motive power is in photographs. I have picture of the old Metroliner service, started under Penn Central and inherited by Amtrak and finally replaced by Accela.

I even have pictures of the older GG1's.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Out and back, part 3

These last post is simply lead up to the present. I want to do an out and back trip, this spring. A simple day trip would be nice. I would start any trip in neither Hamlet Charlotte, NC, or Fayetteville, NC. Looking at the Amtrak schedule, Hamlet is still the best choice. The next decisions will be what is the destination. Southern Pines is simply too short of a trip. Besides, that long of a stay before the tun around would be boring. T he next stop on this out and back might be Raleigh. That is a beautiful town and the Amtrak station is relatively convenient to much. As far as trains to view there would be 5 with a long turn around time. There is always the chance to see Norfolk Southern pass through town. Selma would be the perfect place for the turn around except for on thing. The Silver Star does not stop there. The next place north would be Rocky Mount. Still, there would be a long turn around and only CSX. I get enough of that at home. We than enter VA with the first stop at Petersburg or Richmond. Both would be nice, but lacking in a good place to view trains and very little else. I know Richmond as I live only minutes from the Staples Mill Station and could walk it if less than 15. There are two shopping centers near by. The problem is that there is not a good platform to view trains from within a comfortable walking distance. So much for a one day, out and back.

Over night trips would expand the possibilities and put me on the Northeast Corridor. Between Washington and NY, there are a half dozen good stops for train and other watching, all without a major layover. With a layover in Washington or New York, I am in a good trip, the skies the limit. Although, for a single night out, NYC is the limit.

The typical out and back involves mainly the train trip. The turnaround point should have some interest. The turnaround might be a good place to watch other trains. I am more into shortline railroads, unless it is beyond my usual stuff, mostly CSX and NS. Short lines became big when the Class's became too big. I have become more interested in what I call traction. In my model railroad days, traction was mainly trolley cars. I use that term for any train or car that runs on its own power. I will include subways, light rail, metroliner, and RDCs

Let's look at the NE Corridor for a bit. I did the Boston thing. Five types of traction on four independent subway lines. In addition there was the commuter rail. Not to forget Amtrak. Twas done and done. However, there were a few shortlines for me to go back and see.

New Haven use to be good, especially if I added the New Haven to Springfield line. No local stuff but a lot of commuter and Amtrak. We have too much to name, coming out of NYC and some that would take weeks to see, so I would save that.Now for the the Washington to NYC corrider, a vacattion in itself but could be done in a number of out and backs. I will, however, save that for a future post. So, I will pick that up later.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Out and Back, part 2

I started this blog with my story about an out and back to Springfield Mass. to take pictures of the (then new) SPV2000. This took two visits as I arrived in New Haven, Conn. about 24 hours too early. Those two trips were the highlights of my railfanning life. The first trip resulted in pictures of the active RDCs running the New Haven to Spring line.


The next year's trip focused on the SPV2000.

During both trips, I took picture of the Metro-north trains

One final note: the route was electrified from Washington, DC to New Haven. The electrification did not extend into Boston. All through trains would have to stop and have motive power changed. southbound would change from diesel to electric while northbound would change from electric to diesel. These were the days of the f40ph's as the primary diesel on Amtrak trains.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Out and Back, part 1

I have taken a number of out and back, train trips. Sometimes these are excursions, just to enjoy a train ride up a river, during fall foliage changes. I took a number of these during the peak of steam excursions under the Southern Railroad banner and briefly under the Norfolk Southern Banner. Beyond the excursions, I have taken many out and back trips, either for fun or to get somewhere. Getting somewhere are not the type of trip I am thinking about here. There the train ride gets you there for some other purpose. The regular out and back is for the ride itself. Any thing done at the end of the line is bonus. One of the first out and backs that I did was the take the Southern Crescent between Washington and Atlanta, when it still ran under Southern colors.It was rainy after arrival so my pictures did not turn out so well I made my way to Washington to board the train and spent the day waiting for the return trip.

Peachtree Street Station still had its old glory.

And DC union had not been restored. I showed it former glory but a leaky roof and much wear.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Greenboro, NC, again

The next train, that I expected, was the Northbound Piedmont. Before I got into postion to actively watch, I saw a southbound work train. When I heard its horn, I thought that it might be the Piedmont arriving early. NO! It was the half the work train. The flats had been left down the line and the crew cars were being moved, north. After the northbound Piedmont came through, They moved this part of the work train on to a sidinging nearby,

All in all, not a bad afternoon of watching. In less less than an hour, I had seen the NCDOT train south, an intermodal freight, north, and a worktrain, and now the finale, the northbound Piedmont. Not bad for the South.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Another Day Trip

Not all trips are train oriented, at least in their entirety. Trains can be side line at the least or can be the whole reason. I am a notorious multi-tasker, from way back. I took a run up the highway to Greensboro, NC. Trains was a central part of the trip. I described, in my last post, seeing the Aberdeen Carolina Western, at Candor, while in route. I arrived after lunch and in time for the Piedmont's schedule arrival, at 1:23. I had my location in my mind. I chose a place across the track from the old downtown Southern station. it is the driveway of a downtown apartment complex. I don't park in the complex but on the street, near the entrance of the complex. I do watch from the complex, and have to stick my camera through a fence. It is a very safe place to watch trains.

I arrived about 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled arrival of the Southbound. location that was good for the northbound but not for the southbound. I heard the horn of the northbound whatever, in the distance.There are a lot of track, in addition to the station track. and a railroad crossing within ear shoot. This means that, not only can I hear the horn, I can heard the crossing warning. That give me time to get the camera on and pointed, in any direction.

My first opportunity was a NS mixed freight, less than 5 minutes ahead of the Piedmont's scheduled arrival. There was that quick thought that it might mess up my ability to video the Piedmont when it came.

Now for the first scheduled show, the Piedmont 75, southbound from Raleigh. I got into a position to video. I checked out the on time status though my smartphone. It was almost 30 minutes late. While waiting I found an even better location. The problem was that I had to video though a fence, but the fence had ivy growing on it which limited my picture taking. I did get this video: