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NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/29/21 3:47 p.m.
11GTCS said:

In reply to NickD :

Yes, do that AND put train horns on the roof!   devil

If I have train horns on the roof, I can avoid more deer collision by causing them to drop dead of a heart attack.

Recon1342
Recon1342 Dork
11/29/21 7:22 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Or you'll miss the deer due to the instant reverse thrust from the air horns...

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/30/21 8:06 a.m.

An Amtrak crew aboard ex-Milwaukee Road E9A #406 waves to the crew aboard Southern #4501 as they meet at Oconomowoc, Wisconsin in 1973. The Southern Mikado traveled farther north than any Southern steam engine before her to haul the circus from Baraboo to Milwaukee for the Old Milwaukee Days

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/30/21 11:42 a.m.

Bessemer & Lake Erie F7s on the Western Allegheny branch on October of '84. The B&LE ran their F-units well into the '80s, by which point they were crusty, dirty old wretches. Still, there are quite a few still in existence, which probably had something to do with them living so long into the preservation era. I can think of at least 7 off the top of my head: the A-B-B-A set at Tennessee Central Railway Museum, the two F7As at Port Clinton that Reading & Northern bought off SRNJ, and the #1500 on the Grafton & Upton that was previously at Adirondack Scenic. And I'm certain there are more out there.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/30/21 11:45 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/30/21 11:47 a.m.

The F7A appears to be freshly painted in this 1979 photo at Brady's Bend, while the F7B looks like it's partway through the painting process.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/30/21 11:50 a.m.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/30/21 11:53 a.m.

The #722 may look headed for the scrapyard in this 1976 photo, but she still has a lot of life ahead of her. This unit still exists and is in use at Potomac Eagle Scenic, although painted in B&O colors.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
11/30/21 11:54 a.m.
NickD said:
Duke said:
NickD said:

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

When Illinois Terminal was jointly purchased by 9 different Class 1s in '56, they didn't want to deal with the money-losing interurban passenger service or the upgrading and maintaining the electric infrastructure, so they dumped passenger service and yanked down the catenary.

So, yeah, medium-distance passenger service in the US has been losing money for almost 70 years and still people think that multi-billion-dollar passenger rail projects will save the world.  California, I'm looking at you.

Illinois Terminal is a bit of a unique case, in the fact that it went everywhere already existing railroads went, so it really didn't bring anything to the table in terms of interurban service that anybody else wasn't serving.

I honestly think that short- and medium-distance passenger service is where they have the most chance of success these days. Long-distance, in my mind, is a losing proposition. Part of that is how US passenger service is configured, Amtrak is the unwelcome house guest of the Class Is. They don't want to run passenger service, so they allow Amtrak to run over their rails...

But why don't the Class Is want to run passenger service?

If passenger service made money, they would run it.  But it doesn't, which is why we have Amtrak in the first place, since it is so heavily subsidized.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/30/21 11:57 a.m.

Leased B&LE F7s on the Illinois Central at Gilman, IL. The lead and rear unit are from the B&LE, while the middle two are from Precision Engineering (now Precision National).

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/30/21 11:59 a.m.

Running on the IC at Lake Fork, Illinois

NickD
NickD MegaDork
11/30/21 3:30 p.m.
Duke said:
NickD said:
Duke said:
NickD said:

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

When Illinois Terminal was jointly purchased by 9 different Class 1s in '56, they didn't want to deal with the money-losing interurban passenger service or the upgrading and maintaining the electric infrastructure, so they dumped passenger service and yanked down the catenary.

So, yeah, medium-distance passenger service in the US has been losing money for almost 70 years and still people think that multi-billion-dollar passenger rail projects will save the world.  California, I'm looking at you.

Illinois Terminal is a bit of a unique case, in the fact that it went everywhere already existing railroads went, so it really didn't bring anything to the table in terms of interurban service that anybody else wasn't serving.

I honestly think that short- and medium-distance passenger service is where they have the most chance of success these days. Long-distance, in my mind, is a losing proposition. Part of that is how US passenger service is configured, Amtrak is the unwelcome house guest of the Class Is. They don't want to run passenger service, so they allow Amtrak to run over their rails...

But why don't the Class Is want to run passenger service?

If passenger service made money, they would run it.  But it doesn't, which is why we have Amtrak in the first place, since it is so heavily subsidized.

Part of that is mired in the past. The whole reason Class 1s dumped passenger service in '71 was because they weren't allowed to set their own rates. It was all (arbitrarily) set by the Interstate Commerce Commission to a point where they couldn't return a profit. Ten years later the Staggers Act was passed that took the teeth out of the ICC and allowed railroads to set their own rates. You also had the issue back then of market oversaturation. There were four or five railroads often running the same general route, often side-by-side. Amtrak profitablity is also a nebulous subject, as befitting a government entity. I know that their income is reported after being run through some algorithm that trends their income down to intentionally make them look worse off so that they can get more budget. Joseph Boardman said as much after he retired. He also said that his successor was treading a dangerous path by downplaying Amtrak's income even more to make it look even less profitable in hopes of getting more budgetary allotments, but Boardman thought that they were running the risk of instead getting Amtrak shut down (although that may have been a bit of a naive view because when has the government ever shut down anything they've created, no matter how unprofitable?). You also have the fact that thanks to the Staggers Act and PSR, your Class 1s have abandoned or sold off a lot of their excess capacity trackage and have also become increasingly risk-averse. So it's easier to tell someone else "Hey, sorry, we can't fit you in, not our problem" than it is to try and have to make room for your own operation that you're running.

Not saying you're wrong, but there is definitely a lot of layers to it. And honestly, I'm not sure I'd want some Class 1s running passenger service. CSX has a mountain of complaints that are being investigated by the STB for poor service or complete lack of promised service. They said you complain for months and months and finally CSX fixes things, and then within a week goes back to neglecting them.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
11/30/21 3:36 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

Fair enough, thanks for the details.

 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 7:16 a.m.

Six of Amtrak's ex-Southern Pacific FP7s (the second one back is still in SP Bloody Nose colors) one of the last all-F-unit trains over Donner Pass before the SDP40Fs arrive. Southern Pacific required that all Amtrak trains running over Donner Pass have one of their former FP7s on the leads, since they were equipped with icicle breakers and larger pilot plows.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 7:22 a.m.

Amtrak E8 #4027 preparing to leave Chicago with the Panama Limited. The #4027 was an ex-Illinois Central unit and the two E-units behind it are still in IC passenger colors 

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 7:48 a.m.

A beat-to-E36 M3 ex-Penn Central E-unit leads a Phase I Amtrak E-unit, a baggage car set up as a HEP generator car (not the grilles on the front for the radiator) and a string of shiny new Amfleet cars out of Providence, Rhode Island. The Amfleet cars were the first cars Amtrak owned that had electric heating, but they still had a lot of E- and F-Units in the fleet, and the GG1s and E60Cs were also steam generator equipped, so Amtrak had to convert some baggage cars to generator cars to make the new cars compatible with the older engines. The SDP40Fs were delivered before the Amfleet cars arrived, but Budd was already working on designing them and HEP was a set feature, so the SDP40Fs were built with steam generators but were configured to be easily removed and swapped out with a HEP generator when the Amfleets arrived.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 11:35 a.m.

A bedraggled-looking Amtrak Floridian at Montgomery, Alabama. The Floridian was Amtrak's version of the PRR/L&N/ACL/FEC South Wind, which ran from Chicago to Miami, although it ran on the ex-NYC trackage to Indianapolis, routing around Logansport, and changed to Illinois Central's Chicago Central Station. The Floridian was actually a very popular train, later warranting two SDP40Fs on the front end, but was discontinued in 1978. It simply became too difficult to keep on schedule on the northern portion of the route as the Penn Central trackage deteriorated further and further, and the situation was made worse with the arrival of the SDP40Fs and their nasty, and unsolved, habit of derailing. Sometimes, it would end up traveling north from Louisville into Chicago either over the MoPac's ex-Chicago & Eastern Illinois trackage or the L&N's ex-Monon line. The discontinuation of the Floridian marked the end of passenger service to Louisville (revived from 2001-2003 for the Kentucky Cardinal) and Nashville, and was the end of direct Chicago-Miami service. Supposedly the new infrastructure bill hopes to revive Chicago-Miami service.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 11:45 a.m.

A shiny new SDP40F, with a pair of GN B-units in Big Sky Blue, leads the eastbound Empire Builder. The SDP40F was to be the star of Amtrak's long-distance fleet and there was a lot of excitment and pride in the new EMDs, only for them to become a complete embarrasment that EMD swept under the rug.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 11:52 a.m.

Mismatch Amtrak E8s and a collection of passenger cars that includes at least two Union Pacific cars rolls out of Harrisburg, PA.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 11:55 a.m.

The Floridian leaving Montgomery with a sad-looking B&O E8A and an SCL E7A on the front.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 1:10 p.m.

Fresh SDP40Fs hustle the westbound North Coast Hiawatha towards the camera, while the eastbound Empire Builder, also with new SDP40Fs, is seen rounding a curve in the distance.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 2:31 p.m.

Three SDP40Fs and a single ex-BN E-unit having their water tanks topped off before leaving Milwaukee with the westbound Empire Builder. Those water tanks are believed to have been a possible contributing factor to the SDP40F's proclivity for derailing. Because they were designed as a long-haul passenger unit, they had a second 1350-gallon water tank mounted transversely over the rear truck in addition to the 2150-gallon tank slung under the frame, and this tank had no internal baffling. Most SDP40F derailments happened when the second water tank was half-drained, leading some to believe that the water was sloshing back and forth in the tank and causing the rear truck to derail.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/1/21 2:54 p.m.

In reply to NickD :

I don't remember the MoPac taking over any C&EI trackage. Do you know which sub it was?

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 3:03 p.m.

In reply to Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) :

Missouri Pacific began buying up C&EI stock in '61 and then in '67 the ICC approved direct control over the C&EI but had to sell off part to the L&N. The line directly south of Chicago to near Danville was actually purchased by both railroads (and continues to be owned and operated jointly by those two lines' successors, UP and CSX)  The route from Woodland Junction, Illinois through Danville into Indiana became part of L&N and its successors (now CSX), while the western fork toward Thebes and St. Louis became MoPac/UP.  The C&EI was maintained as a separate subsidiary for a few years by Missouri Pacific, but they absorbed it in 1976.

NickD
NickD MegaDork
12/1/21 3:20 p.m.

A rare sight: E-units on Donner Pass. While Espee owned E-units, they preferred the FP7s over the Pass, finding the four-axle units more sure-footed and better at navigating the curves than the A1A-truck E-unit. Amtrak tried reassigning ex-UP E-units over Donner Pass after retrofitting pilot plows and icicle breakers. The crews and SP maintenance personnel quickly expressed their displeasure over the units, and FP7s were promptly returned to being the primary power until the arrival of the SDP40Fs.

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