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Philly NRHS - Railfan Pictures of the Day


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The Philadelphia Chapter of the

National Railway Historical Society

Established in 1936


Railfan Pictures of the Day - 04/21/2005

SEPTA Suburban Station Approach 22nd Street Philadelphia PA April 19 2005

In Part One, our intrepid railroaders set out to deliver to the West Chester Railroad its newest acquisitions. In Part Two, they ran into a little engine trouble, but that was remedied and they continued on. The trek through Market East Station on the eastern end of the Center City coummuter tunnel went without incident, and SEPTA Dispatcher told them that the power had been cut to the overhead wires in Suburban Station for their trip through the west end to 30th Street. Technically they were correct......

However they developed another kind of engine trouble just after they emerged from the west portal of the tunnel. Approaching 22nd Street, SEPTA 52 and PC 28209 proceeded without incident, but the exhaust port of WCRL 4230 grounded on the overhead wire. Normally, with the power off, this would only result in a little scraping sound. BUT the power was ON. The resulting arc was brilliant and was followed by a thunderous explosion and a cloud of smoke. Seems the power BETWEEN Suburban Station and 30th Street was not shut off. The crew checked over the train and called the dispatcher, suggesting that they shut off the power so they could continue, as the crew remarked to a query about returning to Wayne with "we already got this far!"

SEPTA 52 had traversed this section many times before, so nothing to worry about.
Thousands of passengers cars have passed this way, so PC 28209 is okay as well.
This IS the first C424 to ply these rails and it is about to get a bit of a shock.
This shot was taken about 2 seconds after the engine grounded. The smoke cloud is not from the exhaust, as the engine is dead in tow, but rather from the "lightning bolt" that struck 4230.
The crew walks back to check the engine.
Not sure if there was any fuel in the tank, but nothing went BOOM after the shock so it must have been ok. Not sure what damage, if any, could have resulted from the jolt.
Here you can see the wire sitting on the exhaust port.
Extra 52 waits while it is decided what to do next.


All pictures April 19 2005 c. 2005 John P. Almeida
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Website created June 12, 2002

Last Updated April 21, 2005