Rail Photo of the Month: May 2017

F59PHI 454

F59PHI 454

Location: Santa Fe Depot, San Diego, CA
Operator of Vehicle: Amtrak
Date of Photo: July 17, 2014

Amtrak turns 46 years old today.  It was on this date in 1971 that Amtrak took over the passenger train operations of privately owned railroads that were still offering passenger service at the time.  Today, when most people think of Amtrak, I suspect they picture the electric hauled Northeast Regional and Acela Express services that operate in the Washington-New York-Boston corridor.  Some might think of long distance trains crossing the country such as the Empire Builder, California Zephyr, and City of New Orleans, which are lifelines for many of the communities that they serve.  But Amtrak also operates in a number of regional corridors around the country, and the Pacific Surfliner service between San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Luis Obispo, California is one of those services.  The F59PHI engine featured in this month’s rail photo of the month is one of 15 painted in the Pacific Surfliner’s unique livery.  And yes, those palm trees are real, you can take an Amtrak train through Southern California and see them for yourself.  In other words, the not so scenic Northeast Corridor isn’t all that Amtrak has to offer.  Ride a long distance Amtrak train when you get the chance! 

For more photos of Amtrak’s F59PHI locomotives, please click here.

 

OTP Update: New section and lots of new photos!

After a tease on the Oren’s Transit Page Facebook page a few weeks ago, I have finally made it through my photo queue to add a slew of photos from all over the US to the website this morning.  Highlighting this update is the newest section of the website from Richmond, Virginia.  Richmond has a 175 unit bus fleet and is building a new bus rapid transit line and you can now see some of their current operations here on the website.  Richmond is also home to the Triple Crossing, the only known spot in North America where three Class I railroads cross each other at the same spot, and there is a photo on the Norfolk Southern page from that location.

If you wanted to travel by train from Richmond to other places featured on Oren’s Transit Page, Amtrak would be a great choice, and you can now see photos of the relatively recently restored Main Street Station in downtown Richmond on the Amtrak Stations page, as well as Amtrak’s Genesis P42 Locomotives serving the station.  New photos were also added to the Amtrak ACS-64 Locomotives and Acela Express pages.

Further along the Northeast Corridor, a number of Washington, DC area galleries got updates, too.  New photos of the DC Circulator, as well as WMATA’s now retired New Flyer C40LF buses were added to the respective galleries.  On the rail side of things in DC, there are new photos in the Rohr (1000 Series), Breda Rehab, and Kawasaki (7000 Series) galleries.  

Even further to the north, there are two new Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority bus photos in this update.  If you travel very far to the east, a single photo of an Israel Railways Bombardier trainset that was not included in the most recent update from Israel is now on the site.  

Despite my constantly telling myself there isn’t all that much in the photo queue, getting through it all always seems to take longer than I expect.  I have a number of interesting articles to profile on Oren’s Reading List, and also plan to share more commentary on some of my photos through the Viewfinder, including some of my favorite photos from this update.  In addition to adding new photos from a variety of sections, I also hope to have the New York section rebuilt sometime in the next 6 months.  But while you’re waiting on all the content to come, I do hope you enjoy the new content that was just added or revisiting the content that I’ve posted over the past 16+ years.  

 

Oren’s Reading List: Six Myths About Traveling Cross Country by Amtrak

Airplane might be the fastest way to get from one coast of the United States to the other, but it hasn’t always been my mode of choice.  In 2007, I took Amtrak from Washington, DC to Seattle.  In 2014, I rode trains from Chicago to Los Angeles and from Denver to San Francisco.  Taking Amtrak’s long distance routes is a very unique way to see the country and one I enjoy when I have the time to do so.  It is certainly more pleasant than flying in a number of ways!  

At some point, I hope to write more about why I enjoy this experience so much, but in the meantime, here are six myths about traveling on a long-distance Amtrak train, courtesy of the Gothamist.  

Oren’s Reading List is an occasional feature on The Travelogue in which I share articles that I’ve read that might also be of interest to the readers of this website.

Oren’s Reading List: The 11 Most Beautiful Train Stations Across America

Even if the golden age of train travel in the US is more of a memory than anything else today, its remnants are still visible to anyone who still travels by rail.  Thrillist.com has put together a list of the 11 most beautiful train stations in the United States.  I’ve been to 7 of the 11.  How many have you been to?  Which is your favorite?  Was something left off the list that you think should have been included?  Check out the list here and then answer any or all of these questions in the comments below!

Amtrak to Operate AEM-7 Farewell Excursion

AEM-7 952 enters the New Carrollton, MD station on July 6, 2007

After 37 years of service, Amtrak is retiring its AEM-7 electric locomotives.  Since 2014, the railroad has been accepting delivery of its new ACS-64 “Cities Sprinter” locomotives, which are being built by Siemens.  As the ACS-64s have come on line, Amtrak has been removing the HHP-8 and AEM-7 locomotives from service.  On June 18, Amtrak will send off these workhouses of the Northeast Corridor with a special excursion trip.  The fantrip will leave from Washington’s Union Station at 9:10 AM and operate to Philadelphia and back.  A planned run-by photo opportunity and tour of the Wilmington shops are included, as is lunch.  The train returns to Washington at 5:40 PM.

If you wish to participate in this special excursion, you can purchase tickets directly from Amtrak.  If you wish to see my collection of AEM-7 photographs, you may click here.

Happy (belated) birthday to Amtrak!

Acela Express Power Car 2027 at New Haven-Union Station, March 31, 2013. The Acela Express is Amtrak’s premium service in the Northeast Corridor (Washington-New York-Boston) and is North America’s fastest passenger train, operating at speeds of up to 150 MPH.

Amtrak celebrated its 45th birthday yesterday, having been established on May 1, 1971 when it took over the passenger train operations of privately owned railroads that were still offering passenger service at the time.  Amtrak was not expected to last more than a few years at its creation, as intercity passenger train service was increasingly seen as not being viable in the years leading up to Amtrak’s creation.  However, despite all the difficulties that have been overcome and those that still exist (including the fact that Amtrak does not own most of the track on which its trains operate), Amtrak is still chugging along.  It operates North America’s fastest passenger train in the Northeast Corridor, other heavily used corridor services in Chicago, California, and the Pacific Northwest, and cross country services that provide a truly unique travel experience.

Writing about some of my long distance Amtrak trips is very much on my “Travelogue To Do List” and there are lots of reasons to consider traveling by train whether you’re just going from Washington to Philadelphia or if you’re going from California to New York.  I’ve enjoyed my Amtrak experiences to date, and look forward to what the future will bring.  All aboard for Amtrak’s 46th year!

To see all the Amtrak related photos on this website, click here.

10 New DC Area Photos Added

Last night, a handful of photos were added from the DC area to the WMATA Metrorail 6000 Series, WMATA Metrobus New Flyer DE42LFA Buses, WMATA Metrobus New Flyer DE60LFA Buses, WMATA Metrobus New Flyer XDE40 Buses, and WMATA 1997 Orion V Buses galleries.  In addition, there is a new photo in the Amtrak AEM-7 locomotive gallery.

New Arrivals

Over the course of redesigning Oren’s Transit Page, I was also continuing to travel, take photos, and add them in to the queue to be included in the redesigned website once it launched.  Now that the redesigned website is here, keep reading to find out what new material was added in conjunction with the redesign.  This isn’t an exhaustive list but rather just the “highlights”, there is plenty of new content scattered around the whole site.

NABI 60-BRT 9574 on Main Street at Aliso Street
Los Angeles, CA
July 11, 2014

Starting off in the United States, I traveled to a number of places for the first time in my life in 2014.  I made a Midwest swing in May 2014 that resulted in the creation of sections for Minneapolis-St. Paul (just prior to the Green Line opening) and Kansas City.  After that, in July 2014, I did some long distance Amtrak travel (with some flights in between) and visited Los Angeles and San Diego for the first time.  Also on this trip were stops in Denver (in time for the soft reopening of Denver’s Union Station), Chicago, and San Francisco.  I had passed through Denver before but I had never used or photographed its mass transit prior to that summer.  The stops in Chicago and San Francisco were my first in each city since 2007 and were quite brief, but there are new photos in those sections as well, including my first photos of the CTA 5000 Series cars.

The Washington, DC section now includes photos of some of the newer buses to ply the region’s streets, such as WMATA’s New Flyer XDE40 buses and Ride On’s Gillig Advantage/CNG buses.  On the rail side of things, there is now a gallery for photos of the new WMATA 7000 Series railcars, manufactured by Kawasaki.

PCC 3263 at Capen Street
Milton, MA
May 2, 2011

I last traveled to Philadelphia in 2012 and was able to get a last round of Silverliner II and Silverliner III photos, in addition to my first Silverliner V photos.  I made two trips to Boston, one in 2011 and the other in 2013.  On the 2011 trip, I rode the southern end of the Orange Line for the first time, and both trips included a number of trips on the Green Line and Red Line.  I also was able to get photos from along the Ashmont-Mattapan High Speed Line right of way and of various MBTA buses, including the trackless trolleys, in Cambridge.  Finally, for the first time since Oren’s Transit Page’s initial launch over 15 years ago, there are new photos in the Atlanta section.

There are also new photos from New York City, but due to the immense size of that section, it was decided to leave it “as is” in the old format and add the new photos to the Uncaptioned Photos gallery for now.  The New York section will be updated with the new design as soon as possible.

North of the border, there is a new section for photos from Niagara Falls, Ontario.  My only trip to South America to date was in 2010 so there isn’t anything new in the Brazil and Argentina sections (while Buenos Aires is on my bucket list, I haven’t found the occasion to get myself down there just yet).

Crossing the ocean to Europe, I visited both Hungary and Portugal for the first time.  My stop in Budapest was a layover between flights in 2011 that was measured in hours rather than days, but it was enough time to photograph some of the city’s trams, buses, and trolleybuses and whet my appetite for another trip there that will be longer 13 hours. I spent almost a full week in Lisbon, a city that shares many similarities to San Francisco including the fact that its trams are a tourist attraction in and of themselves, and visited continental Europe’s westernmost bus stop for good measure.

Bombardier Flexity Outlook “Cityrunner” 3069 at Place Royale
Brussels, Belgium
November 21, 2013

In 2008, I unexpectedly found myself with 90 minutes in Brussels due to a missed train connection, which was just enough time to get some transit photos before the next train to my destination came.  In 2013, I was in Brussels yet again, this time for a full 8 hours between flights, so that section has seen some additional expansion including a new gallery for photos of the Belgian National Railway.

Finally, in the Middle East, the Israel section has expanded further and to my knowledge, Oren’s Transit Page’s Israel section is the largest of its kind on any English language website.  The Jerusalem Light Rail opened to passengers just after I began the long process of overhauling the website, so many photos of revenue service along the length of the entire line are now included on the site.  The Metronit bus rapid transit system in the Haifa region opened in 2014, and there are also photos of that.  In addition, there are many new photos of the many bus operators that operate throughout the entire length of the country.

I hope you enjoy exploring the site, whether you choose to browse the new sections, old sections, or a mix of both!  And if you have a favorite section, let everyone know what it is in the comment section below!