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The Philadelphia Chapter of the

National Railway Historical Society

Established in 1936


Railfan Pictures of the Week - 01/18/2009

Norwood Station Amtrak Northeast Corridor Norwood PA January 17 2009


The Saga of Norwood

Arrived at Norwood Station, just south of Philadelphia, at 10:00. Temperature hovering around 20 degrees, less in the ample shade. There were about a dozen people there already, including a half dozen photographers. Also there were at least a half dozen local and SEPTA police officers around the station area. The photo line, with police permission, was set up at the north end of the inbound platform. On the scanner, overhearing interesting conversations about the different "orders" that police are enforcing up and down the line (you can stand on the platforms but not on the overpass, you can stand on the overpass but not past this point, no parking on the inbound and outbound sides, it's ok to park on the inbound but not the outbound). We feel lucky because MARC had closed ALL of its stations except Edgewood. About 10:20 an Amtrak catenary and track inspection car, reportedly with Secret Service in the cab, comes south on Track 2 and a military helicopter follows overhead. Shortly after that the police approach the photographers and say they have been advised to clear the platforms on both sides of the tracks. Probably had something to do with all the facial hair displayed by the photographers. The crowd retreats back behind the railing of the ramps that lead to the platforms, about 3 feet from where they were previously, and police put up yellow tape to keep them back. Passengers show up for Train 4610, scheduled to depart Marcus Hook inbound at 10:48, but it does not arrive at the designated time and is assumed held.

Pilot train with P42's 54 and 100, Heritage special service car AMTK 10020 "Pacific Command" and track geometry car AMTK 10002 "Corridor Clipper" comes south on Track 2 about 11:10. Later a helicopter that appeared to be from Homeland Security passes overhead and shortly after that we are advised by police that the goal posts have moved again. They have been instructed to clear ALL people from the inbound side and that we should all go over to the outbound side. They are told to hurry as the train is now imminent. Unfortunately I have six cameras on tripods all over the place, so I am one of the last to move. With half the cameras packed, I have an idea and ask if I can start the cameras rolling and then leave them, and I am told yes. Less than a minute after I start the cameras I hear "Here it comes!" At 11:55 The Obama Express with P42's 44 and 120 (44th President to be inaugurated on January 20), nine Amfleet cars (five coaches and four cafe cars) and heavyweight observation car "Georgia 300" rolls through. Candidate Obama had used "Georgia 300" on a campaign trip from Philadelphia to Harrisburg during the primaries in April 2009.

Afterwards crowd begins to disperse but police are not sure if that was the train. Several calls are placed to various parties, and responses are conflicting: That was the train, that was a decoy train, he hasn't left 30th Street, he is on his way, some people don't answer their phones. At 12:10 the press/protect train appears, powered by P42's 71 and 77 and pulling four Amfleets (three coaches and a cafe car) and Amtrak observation car AMTK 10001 "Beech Grove". Still no definitive answer until minutes later when a civilian on the phone says her sister is watching CNN and Obama is in Claymont DE.

Videos can be found on YouTube
Catenary and track inspection car rolls through an empty Norwood Station.
The Obama Express
Georgia 300
The press/protect train
The highlight of the day was to come. Raced home in time to see the Phillies World Series trophy, pictured here with my kids, on its tour stop at the Montgomery Mall. Presidential inaugurations happen every four years, Phillies World Series wins ... not so regular.

All pictures January 17 2009 Copyright © 2009 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.

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Last Updated January 18, 2009

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