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Philly NRHS - Railfan Pictures of the Week


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The Philadelphia Chapter of the

National Railway Historical Society

Established in 1936


Railfan Pictures of the Week - 6/14/2015

Amtrak Northeast Corridor North Philadelphia Station Philadelphia PA April 11 2015

You usually don't know what you have until it is gone. Case in point: On May 12 2015 at 21:27 Amtrak Regional Train 188 derailed at high speed at Frankford Junction, and the busy Northeast Corridor was cut in two for a week. Amtrak service was suspended between Philadelphia and New York City, turning the railroad into a Washington DC to Philadelphia route and a New York City to Boston route. SEPTA's heavily used Trenton line was also sidelined, as well as the Chestnut Hill West line (CHW was back up in a day). Although NJT did provide service between Trenton and NYC and their Philadelphia to Atlantic City trains returned within days, the disruption was major.

Much of the NEC's route dates back to the Civil War, and owes a great deal of its success to electrification by the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad early in the last century. Unfortunately the physical plant has not kept pace with the times and is in need of improvement and/or replacement. One of the problems is the route, which features curves like Frankford Junction, where train speed is limited to 50 MPH (speed limits west of the curve are 70/80 MPH, east of the curve 90/110 MPH). Add in aging structures, ancient catenary, obsolete tunnels, unreliable movable bridges, you get the picture.

Still, even with all its flaws, when it works, it works. The NEC is a sight to behold, if only for the variety of equipment. Spend a hour trackside, even on a weekend, and you can see Amtrak's flagship service, the Acela Express, passing the crumbling concrete of the bridges over Broad Street just east of North Philly Station ...

trains with forty five year old passenger cars like this converted Budd Metroliner on one end ...
and the barely a year old ACS-64 Cities Sprinter on the other end of this Keystone train.
There is even something for the diesel fans, courtesy of New Jersey Transit's Atlantic City service.
So don't wait, because you never know when it will be gone (but you can bet that shortly after it is, we will wish we still had it).

All pictures April 11, 2015

Copyright © 2015 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 June 14, 2015

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