Thursday, May 26, 2016

Have iPhone, will travel

My brother often has to travel around the United States for business. Since his son has shown an interest in trains, Marc has made sure to take shots of trains when he comes across them. We here at the Beachburg Sub are the beneficiaries, as my brother always passes along the shots to me. Recently, he was in Tuscon, Arizona on his way from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base when he stopped for gas. Luckily, he came across a Union Pacific autorack train headed north from the auto plants in Mexico. You can see one of the units is a newer unit with the American flag sheme while the other is an older unit with the old paint scheme. I prefer the older scheme. I think the flag confuses the railway's identity, just like the Canada wordmark and old flag logos did on older Via LRC coaches. I always prefer a cleaner look.

Also recently, my brother was in Kissimmee, Florida, for business when he had a meeting close to the old Kissimmee Amtrak station. You will recall that I caught the northbound Amtrak silver service train en route to New York in this post. My brother also caught the same northbound train, although the consist was significantly different than the one I saw. As you will see from the video he shot (below the image of the P42), the consist featured quite a few newly repainted Amfleet coaches and bilevels.

Here's the video from my brother's iPhone. I like the baggage car scheme. Old school! One thing you will find with Amtrak is that the railway still rosters a fairly wide variety of rolling stock with different paint schemes, when you compare it to Via Rail.

Also recently, my brother found himself watching some trains with his son at the Sarnia Via Rail station. He passed this one along to me. I have to give him credit. He has a sharp eye for interesting rolling stock.

In this case, he caught a former Southern Pacific/CottonBelt/Denver and Rio Grande Golden West Service branded boxcar. The cars were in need of repair at a point in the 1990s, when SP and its subsidiaries were in financial trouble. A deal was struck for Greenbrier to buy the cars and have them repaired. The fleet would then be leased back to SP. Since Greenbrier had to use railway reporting marks, the company secured a number of other railway marks, which meant most of these cars lost their original SP reporting marks over time.

On a trip to Seattle, my brother came across a number of streetcars, some of which sported some interesting advertising wraps. This one, sponsored by Amazon, was my nephew's favourite. He told my brother that this was the smiling train. I like to see the seamless integration of street cars with regular traffic in big cities. Also, the design of this car makes its wheels invisible. It's almost as if the streetcar is floating.

Speaking of street cars, here's a shot I snagged of some new and old streetcars on Spadina Avenue in Toronto in March.

Final shot is a Sound Transit light rail train that my brother hopped aboard to get out to the SEATAC airport. My brother told me he was impressed with the service, which only cost $2.50 to get from the city centre out to the airport. The light rail line enters the downtown through a 1.5 mile tunnel, which has several stops underground. My brother also mentioned that the suburban buses fed into the tunnel as well. You can see from this shot that you can take your bike onto the train.

Marc mentioned that the Sound Transit line parallels freight railway lines, which is great for a rail fan. Sadly, the train was a little too packed for my brother to take shots.

Thanks for my brother for keeping his eyes peeled wherever he goes and sharing some great shots.


Eric said...

Great work by your bro'. Including a new Amtrak baggage car at Kissimmee. Star Trek-like!

Michael said...

Thanks for your comment, Eric. I always love catching Amtrak trains, simply for those little surprises. Via is still fun to photograph, but the variety is sometimes lacking.