Railfan Pictures of the Week - 12/04/2005
|Amtrak Northeast Corridor Eddystone Station and CSX Greenwich Yard December 3 2005|
A great idea, with only one black mark. In the planning stages for months, the information regarding the "Liberty Limited" had been restricted due to the sensitive nature of the move. However, it had been announced at a major railroad historical society meeting in the spring and its existence had been talked about since. Still, many who knew about the train (including myself) kept it low key. As the day approached, inquisitive people started asking questions and informative people started posting answers, none of it proprietary and all of it valuable for the many people who were not in the loop. Those in the loop were not saying anything due to a nondisclosure agreement in force. The desire for those in charge to maintain secrecy was understandable, but their later insistence on our ignorance was not.
During the week prior to the event, with the collusion of a website bulletin board owner (for more on that website's practices, click here), those in charge of the train had deleted from a popular public railfan bulletin board any posts that were even indirectly related to the train. One post remarked that private cars were on the move on two Amtrak trains, another was about a sighting of the PRR E8's on the NEC, and a third asked the simple question "What is the Liberty Limited?" All were deleted within hours. It would seem that those behind the "Liberty Limited" had a different intrepretation of the train's name, and it was a mocking one at that. They were in effect trying to limit the public's liberties by trying to keep PUBLIC information about the train out of a public forum. They were removing the thoughts of others, thoughts to which they had no claim of ownership, from the public's view. And for what reason? Simply because they wanted to and because they could, a petty exercise of absolute power, which has been known to corrupt absolutely.
However, there is one thing the Internet does really well, something the would-be censors did not seem to comprehend. That one thing: it can spread information at the speed of thought. For those few hours that the posts lived in the public's eye, people were enlightend and educated about the train. And, as any of the former totalitarian regimes that have toppled during this past generation can testify to, a clumsy attempt like this to suppress information in a free society ultimately is also a futile gesture. The information was already in the open. It could be found on postings on other web boards, and in print it could be found in a mention in a historical society magazine and in an article in Trains Magazine that arrived in 100,000 subscriber's mailboxes two days before the event. Combine the widely known origin and destination with one simple published fact, kickoff time of the game, and almost anyone could estimate the route and the schedule, which was in fact posted on two Yahoo groups days before the event. Unfortunately, even with all of this, their censorship had limited success, as the lack of information caused some people to miss seeing what could be called "the train of the century (so far)".
This ham-handed blemish should not detract from the great job done by many other people to pull off what was a tremendous salute to our veterans. People may differ on their views of war, but most share the same pride for the men and women who serve in our armed forces. It was truly a beautiful train doing a wonderful thing.
|The Liberty Limited 2005, a private train carrying wounded Gulf War veterans recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital from Washington DC to the Army-Navy Game in Philadelphia, passes Eddystone Station. Led by former PRR E8A 5711 and 5809, the consist comprised of 18 private varnish cars on its way to South Philadelphia's CSX Greenwich Yard, just south of the stadium complex.|
|Behind the engines were Southern Pacific "Birch Grove", the Ohio Central "Sugar Creek" and Louisville & Nashville "Ohio River".|
|In the middle were M-K-T 403, "Caritas" and "Railforce One - United States of America".|
|Bringing up the rear were Juniata Terminal's "Little Juniata Rapids", "Warrior Ridge" and "Pennsylvania 120".|
PRR 120 brings up the rear as the train arrives at Greenwich Yard in South Philadelphia.
The Liberty Limited (aka OCS-101, Amtrak 802 and CSX P954) consist: Juniata Terminal Pennsylvania Railroad E8A 5711 and 5809, private varnish cars Southern Pacific "Birch Grove", Ohio Central "Sugar Creek", Louisville & Nashville "Ohio River", Chesapeake & Ohio "Chapel Hill", Missouri-Kansas-Pacific #403, High Iron Travel "Caritas", "Railforce One - United States of America" (aka North Star), Charter "Golden Moon", Charter "Imperial Leaf", Morristown & Erie "Birken", "Silver Shore", Louisville & Nashville "Oliver Hazard Perry", Lancaster & Chester "Golden Tower", "Greenwich Harbor", Virginia Rail Investments "Kitchi Gammi Club" and Juniata Terminal's "Little Juniata Rapids", "Warrior Ridge" and "Pennsylvania" (aka "PRR 120").
All pictures December 4 2005 Copyright © 2005 John P. Almeida
Photographs for personal use only. All rights reserved by original owner of image. Reproduction or redistribution in any form without express written permission is prohibited.
Website created June 12, 2002
Last Updated December 25, 2005