longest commuter train?

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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby StevieC48 » Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:05 pm

I can recall thanksgiving weekend AMTRAK was short equipment, so they had an 8 car MBTA set take those to Boston South Station. I stood at the cab door for the entire trip looking out the front. An experience I would never forget
Farewell old friend thanks for the memories.
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby Gerry6309 » Thu Nov 06, 2014 12:39 am

TomNelligan wrote:
Gerry6309 wrote:In my days at Northeastern there was an inbound train which would be made up from 3 separate outbounds. There would be two GP-9s, about 14 mismatched coaches and one or two Budd cars bringing up the rear. It usually had mostly P-70s with a few American Flyers and shoreliners thrown in.


I remember that too, but for the benefit of those who don't we should point out that it was basically an equipment move. In the NH/PC/CR era there was no layover facility at Needham Heights and nothing was kept there overnight, so at the end of the rush hour three empty sets would be coupled together at Needham Junction and run back to Boston. The mass equipment move happened in reverse prior to the morning rush hour.

One car in that mess was opened for passengers, so it was a passenger run. With the mix of equipment it was worth watching for, and photographed occasionally, it took multiple frames.
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby StevieC48 » Thu Nov 06, 2014 1:14 pm

I know this is not part of the length of the train. But I will say back in the 80's before the T bought the 1500's and the 1600's. It was a great time at north station seeing various equipment from other railroads that the T never bothered to remove or paint over from the original owner. Example SEPTA/Reading RDC with a CP Rail RDC and were pushed or pulled by an F-10 or a GP-9 from BN. Those were the great times sad to see them go,
Farewell old friend thanks for the memories.
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby boatsmate » Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:04 pm

Regarding Needham,

they used to back the trains onto the Medfield Junction track, separate the engines, tack the passenger cars onto each other then the engines together, the engineer would then bring the crew to the junction drop them off and then head back the WYE and wait for the next set. when all together they would wait for the Budd to come out from Boston around 7, and then get clearance to go to Boston off the wye. As a kid growing up in Needham, it was interesting to watch what was going on. the station operator would talk to the crews on the radio and Boston via wire. he would then switch the switches for the train to come off the wye. I used to ride the engines back then with the crew once and a while... wish I thought to take some pictures.....
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby highgreen215 » Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:16 pm

Must have been a great railroading experience for a kid. No wonder you like trains today.
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby ohalloranchris » Thu Nov 06, 2014 3:23 pm

Dating myself, but I have fond memories of meeting my Dad as he would come off the train at Endicott Station in Dedham in the 1970's. The station consisted of a cinder block shelter, and no platforms. You would reach up to the bottom step from the dirt (or the adjacent track bed because they just kept all doors open in those days on BOTH sides of the train). It was a different hodge podge of equipment from day to day, but usually a black geep pulling a string of ex-New Haven coaches with silver corrugated bodies, and either PC Green or NH Red around the windows. Then a few years later, things got pretty advanced and there would be an occasional Budd RDC used as a cab car. When the MBTA F40's (screamers) and Pullman Coaches arrived (200 series that are still running today), it was a brand new world.
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby jonnhrr » Thu Nov 06, 2014 4:32 pm

I have similar memories train watching at route 128 in the PC days, Providence locals with an ex Pennsy E unit and about 6-8 cars, ex NH "american flyers" and ex-PRR P-70 coaches. Also one train inbound with a GP-9 and a single PRR P-70 coach. Quite a bit of variety, if you were lucky you got to see the UAC Turbo Train!

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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby highgreen215 » Thu Nov 06, 2014 8:54 pm

Isn't this when you could also catch the blue and yellow ex-Delaware & Hudson Alco PAs on the commuter trains??
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby blackcap » Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:33 pm

The PA's were used on Framingham trains, to free up cab signal-equipped locomotives for the other Southside lines then in service.
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby highgreen215 » Thu Nov 06, 2014 10:38 pm

They were used on Providence trains too - I rode behind one of them lashed to (I think) a Geep at least once to Route 128.
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby Gerry6309 » Fri Nov 07, 2014 10:40 am

highgreen215 wrote:They were used on Providence trains too - I rode behind one of them lashed to (I think) a Geep at least once to Route 128.

The most impressive looking trains were made up of two E-8s back to back and any number of shoreliner coaches. Especially if they were all NH Orange around the windows. In the winter steam would be hissing out at every coupling. The four 567s made quite a roar accelerating past "CHICK". GP-9s were nowhere near as impressive. Amtrak was already mostly Amfleet, but the Night Owl still had heritage cars. Amtrak's E-8s looked much better with an Amfleet consist than the later F-40s, though some HEP cars broke the visual smoothness.

Sorry for following this further off-topic.
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby TomNelligan » Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:54 am

highgreen215 wrote:They were used on Providence trains too - I rode behind one of them lashed to (I think) a Geep at least once to Route 128.


There were four PAs and only three Framingham trains at the time, so on days when all four units were available the fourth would sometimes run down to Providence as the trailing unit behind an E8 or GP9. The PAs couldn't lead on the Shore Line because they lacked cab signals. Former PRR E-units had cab signals compatible with the NH's system, so they had no problem leading.

And as long as we're all getting historical, in addition to the B&A, the Needham branch was the other South Side line allowed non-cab-signaled power, because until the Southwest Corridor reconstruction the Needham branch had its own dedicated single track from Chickering Tower (just south/east of Back Bay Station) to Forest Hills. I remember a former New York Central RS3 assigned to one of the rush hour Needham trains around 1970, and when the B&M took over commuter operation a B&M GP9 was assigned there for a while (with an ex-CN steam generator car to provide car heat).
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby Fred Rabin » Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:59 pm

While on a historical kick, I remember the ritual of switching from electric to diesel in New Haven. Unless it was pouring rain, I always went up the platform to the head end and watched them hook up the diesel engine. There were always a few other guys who did the same thing. It marked the comforting transition from New=York-suburbs to real New England. Going the other way, I stayed inside the train.
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby butts260 » Fri Nov 07, 2014 6:32 pm

I win . . . . New Haven was to watch switching steam to electric (both ways).
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Re: longest commuter train?

Postby highgreen215 » Fri Nov 07, 2014 6:34 pm

I used to ride the Providence train between Sharon and So. Sta., both ways, when they were powered by the FP-10 rebuilds that ran elephant style. It wasn't uncommon on the outbound run, when we stopped at Sharon, for the engineer to climb down from the first unit and up into the second to restart the diesel which apparently died on the way out.

But the worst commutes were in those light weight green and white Toronto GO cars they leased when the regular equipment was in pathetic condition. Those Toronto cars had plastic seats and rode rough and noisy like an amusement park ride. How did the folks in Toronto tolerate them??
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