NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 3:36 p.m.

The George Washington leaves Charlottesville with a Baltimore & Ohio GP7 lending an assist to an ex-B&O E8. I have to wonder why that rather meager train required the GP7 helping out an E8. Did it really need 3750hp?

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 4:18 p.m.

Three Amtrak F7s, one in Phase I and two in GN Big Sky Blue, prepare to depart Milwaukee with a string of coaches in the Northern Pacific two-tone green livery. The bridge in the foreground crosses the Menomonee River. With the GN and NP equipment, I would guess this is the Empire Builder, but it could very well be the North Coast Hiawatha. Anything was possible in those early Amtrak days

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 4:21 p.m.

Shiny new SDP40Fs make the climb through Raton Pass with the combined El Capitan/Super Chief

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 4:31 p.m.

Elephant-style (nose-to-tail) E-units at Montgomery. The lead unit is interesting in that it has received it's Amtrak number but no Amtrak lettering anywhere. The second unit is either ex-UP or MILW (Milwaukee Road adopted the UP yellow and gray for their passenger trains later in life) and then one in Phase I.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 4:34 p.m.

An Amtrak GG1 leans into the super-elevation as it passes a Penn Central E44 at Bowie, Maryland.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 4:42 p.m.

I'm not sure what is going on here. We have an A-B-B-A set of ex-SP Amtrak FP7s on the head of a freight, along with one of three mammoth U50s owned by Southern Pacific and what appears to be some sort of end-cab switcher, at Colton, CA headed west to San Fran. Perhaps some sort of power-balancing move, or maybe they had been overhauled at SP's shops and were being worked west in whatever capacity they could be used in. Taken in '74, time was running out for that big "Baby Huey".

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/1/21 4:45 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Wow! I knew about the CSX/UP shared trackage from Woodland Junction north, but I don't remember ever hearing about MoPac's partnership with L&N. 

I'm really susprised I never saw the Amtrak trains when they rolled through town. My life was pretty much consumed 100% by railroading during that time, and if one came through while I was hanging around the depot/museum those guys would have definitely made a big deal about it. 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 4:46 p.m.

One of the French-built Turboliner trainsets whirs past the old GM&O depot at Wilmington, Illinois

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
12/1/21 4:49 p.m.

When my kids were younger, we would make regular treks to Ashland, VA to hang out at the library, meet Mom for lunch, check out the cool toys at the hobby shop, and get ice cream.  And of course, we would rush outside when a train rumbled through, which they often did.  Ashland is a cool little town with the two tracks of the RF&P running right down the middle of Center Street.

https://www.railpictures.net/images/d1/5/2/9/2529.1379628919.jpg

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 4:57 p.m.

A brand-new GE P30CH is waiting with a train of bi-level cars (possibly ex-C&NW?) at University of Wisconsin's Breeze Terrace stop. This was a football game special train. The "Pooches", as they were nicknamed, weren't quite the debacle that the SDP40Fs were, but they were also not the hero that the F40PHs were either. They had tracking issues that ultimately led to the move away from 6-axle passenger units, and the 3000hp FDL engines weren't near as reliable as the 3000hp EMD 645 V16. They were noteworthy for being the first HEP generator-equipped Amtrak units.

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
12/1/21 7:04 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

I'm relatively certain that is an SW1500, based on fuel tank shape, radiator screens, and number board location.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/2/21 7:52 a.m.

The Newport News segment of the George Washington preparing to depart Charlottesville, VA. The first dome car is ex-B&O

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/2/21 7:58 a.m.

An ex-PC E8A Renssalaer, NY with a D&H coach and diner, an ex-NYC/PC Amtrak coach and a leased MTA coach 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/2/21 8:07 a.m.

Consider that this photo was taken in May of 1975. Amtrak was four years old, a fair amount of the old E- and F-units were in Phase I livery, Amfleet cars were arriving on the scene, the SDP40Fs had been delivered and the P30CHs were starting to show up in Phase II livery. And yet you have Silver Star near Raleigh with two RF&P E-units and a UP booster unit, and a mishmash of passenger cars. That Penn Central dining car tucked in ahead of the two baggage cars is also odd. Most likely it's being deadheaded to a shop for overhaul

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/2/21 8:36 a.m.

One of the French-built Turboliners unloads passengers at Joliet, Illinois

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/2/21 9:07 a.m.

P30CH #713 with the Champion at Wilson, NC, with an SCL EMD sitting on a switch nearby. The #713 was wrecked 2 years later when it struck a log truck at Sellers, NC. The Champion was an ACL/SCL train from New York City to St. Petersburg, Florida and was an incredibly popular ride. Former ACL/SCL/Amtrak train attendant James Longmire said, "The Champ was always packed and we didn't stop serving dinner until everyone got fed... no matter how long it took. We called the Champ "Big Bertha" because tips were so good we didn't have to cash our paychecks." The Champion was consolidated with the Silver Meteor in 1979

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/2/21 12:32 p.m.

A Phase II E8 and an SDP40F get a once-over at Milwaukee before leaving with the Empire Builder. You can see how much larger an SDP40F is than an E-unit. The story is that Amtrak actually wanted an "E10" from EMD to allow them to retire the worst of their Es and Fs, but EMD had actually destroyed all the tooling in the roughly ten years since the last E9 rolled off the assembly line. I imagine if there had been an E10 built, it probably would have used twin 1500hp 645 V12s, like from an SW1500 or a GP15-1, and a HEP generator. EMD had the 3000hp 645 V16, but twin engines were preferred for passenger power since it gave some redundancy. If you have two 3000hp units with twin 1500hp engine, and you lose one engine, you go from 6000hp to 4500hp, instead of dropping to 3000hp if you are using one engine.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/2/21 12:49 p.m.

One of Amtrak's new E60C electrics at New Jersey. You have to feel bad for Amtrak, because they could not catch a break with their motive power in the early days. The old EMD F-units and ex-PRR/PC GG1s were good machines but were also getting up there in age and had had questionable maintenance. There were newer machines, like SDP35s, SDP40s, GP40Ps, SDP45s, FP45s, but the Class Is all held onto those and just converted them to freight use, since they were in better shape. They inherited the near-new Metroliner EMUs from PC, which were designed for 120+mph running but accelerated poorly, had reliability issues, and were derated to as low as 90mph at times by the FRA. The SDP40Fs were the first new machines they took ownership of, and as a cowl-bodied version of the smash-hit SD40 they should have been a success, but then the derailment issues struck and they were banned by many railroads and EMD was so embarrassed by the whole ordeal that they bought almost all of them back and scrapped them. GE had a chance to move in for the kill with the P30CHs, but they were heavy, slow to accelerate and had very poor reliability, and so Amtrak only owned a handful. The GE E60Cs were supposed to replace the aging GG1s, but were heavy and prone to damaging rails and derailing, and so were rated for lower speeds than the GG1s they were supposed to supplant. The United Aircraft Turbotrain turbine trainsets were never the revolution they were supposed to be, often sidelined with leaks and fires.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/2/21 12:56 p.m.

The P30CHs were such bad leakers that they came from the GE plant with drain tubes at the bottoms of the car body to dump the oil out onto the right of way, rather than building up on the floor. They were initially supposed to handle non-electrified portions of Amfleet trains in New England and Eastern Coastal Regions but their excessive weight and accompanying acceleration difficulties caused them to be assigned to longer-distance Amfleet service in the Mid-west and South. The Pooches did not have cab air conditioning though, and then were on one of the highest temperature routes on the Amtrak system. The units also had no soundproofing and crews were issued earplugs. This did not endear them to the crews any.Also, they used 2 Detroit diesels for HEP, which were a pain to get started. The unit on the Engineer's side was the (A) set and the (B) set on the Firemen's side. The starter relay was located in the same spot on both sets. If the B set did not turn over you could kick it with your boot, however if the "A" set did not start you had to lean over the "A" set and hit the relay box with a pipe to get it to start.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/2/21 3:15 p.m.

Easily one of the most hilariously overpowered trains I've ever seen. This is the Washington D.C. section of the National Limited and it ran Mon-Wed-Fri, leaving Washington at 12:30 p.m. and arriving in Harrisburg at 3:55, and it was usually just a single car. Why Amtrak didn't scare up an RDC or a Silverliner EMU, I have no clue. That GG1 won't be needing many of it's 4620 horsepower.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/2/21 4:07 p.m.

This ex-CB&Q E8 likely has some stories to tell, judging by the mismatched number boards and the non-standard fuel tanks. It's stopped at Missoula in this photo with the North Coast Hiawatha.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/2/21 4:11 p.m.

Two P30CHs and two SDP40Fs lead the North Coast Hiawatha as it leaves Seattle. This is a bit of a rare sight at this date, because BN was one of the railroads that kicked up a fuss over SDP40Fs derailing and restricted their use. This often saw BN freight engines being used to move Amtrak trains over BN rails when no other Amtrak power was available.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/3/21 9:13 a.m.

The F40PH was the first really successful new Amtrak locomotive, and they were proof that EMD still had it in them to make a good passenger locomotive. They were fast, they were reliable, and they didn't mysteriously derail or beat up the infrastructure. The biggest downside to the F40PH? They were loud. Rather than a separate engine powering the Head End Power generator, EMD drove the HEP generator off the prime mover. Because the power has to be at a specific, steady frequency, the engine had to run at a constant 893rpm to provide Head End Power. So, as soon as you engaged HEP, the engine would run constantly in Notch 8, no matter speed or load. Power to the traction motors was instead varied by altering field excitation in the main generator. The fact that they would run wide open, even at a standstill, resulted in the nickname of Screamers.

LS_BC8
LS_BC8 New Reader
12/3/21 10:41 a.m.

And up in the Upper Peninsular of Michigan...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7A1FM44I04

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/3/21 10:58 a.m.

By far the best-looking Amtrak train was the Adirondack from 1974-1977. When Amtrak had entered existence and taken over all passenger service, D&H's New York City-Montreal Laurentian/Montreal Limited (the Laurentian was the daytime run, the Montreal Limited was the nighttime counterpart) had been one of the many trains culled. Frequent patrons of the trains complained to management of the D&H, and D&H president Bruce Sterzing approached Amtrak about reviving the route. Amtrak was not against resuming NYC-Montreal service, but they were still getting off the ground and lacked the equipment and organization to take on a new route. Sterzing and the D&H hammered out an agreement with Amtrak and state and federal governments where the new train, the Adirondack, would be an Amtrak service but operated with D&H crews and equipment until the time that Amtrak was ready to take over operations. Sterzing must have been a real silver-tongued devil, because he also talked the state and federal government into throwing the D&H money to rehabilitate their tracks, reopen shuttered stations, and overhaul and upgrade equipment. The ex-D&RGW lightweight passenger cars that the D&H had purchased in 1967 were dusted off, dome cars were leased from Canadian Pacific, and the two Alco PA-1s that they had traded back in to GE in '71 were bought back and then all four PA-1s were sent to Morrison-Knudsen in Boise, Idaho and rebuilt into PA-4us, with the most notable upgrade being replacing the 2000hp V16 244 engines with 2400hp V16 251s. On occasions where the PAs weren't available, low-nose RS-11s, RS-32s or even trusty old RS-3s would fill in on the head end While an Amtrak train, it was for all intents and purposes a D&H operation, with blue, yellow and silver/gray engines, blue and yellow passenger cars, D&H car staff in D&H uniforms and white, blue and yellow linens and dishes in the dining car. It came to an end in 1977 though, when Amtrak took over operation and replaced it with Rohr RTL Turboliner trainsets. 

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