• All things Harrisburg (Keystone) Line

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by west point
That old ballast is certainly dirty. Is Amtrak going to clean it? The old cross ties seem to jam up a lot. They definitely slows up the replacement cycle.
  by STrRedWolf
west point wrote: Mon May 20, 2024 4:06 pm That old ballast is certainly dirty. Is Amtrak going to clean it? The old cross ties seem to jam up a lot. They definitely slows up the replacement cycle.
They'll probably undercut it and replace it later.
  by NortheastTrainMan
I recently struck up a conversation with an Amtrak employee by total chance. Never met them before & probably won't meet them again. However, we had a great convo & I wanted to share some of what we spoke of while it's hot on my mind.

1. HHP-C / HHP-8C
They're testing and seem to be fine on the NEC. But some engineers are having trouble with visibility at low level platforms on the Keystone Corridor (Downingtown, Parkesburg, etc), where lining the train up with the step stools is crucial. Very interesting, because when you think about it, most of the stations on the NEC (where HHP-8s ran) were High Level. I don't know what it's like on the Shore Line, or how many HHP-8s stopped at low level platforms on other areas of the NEC (Aberdeen, Cornwells Heights, etc). But that was a very interesting thing I never thought of. Obviously visibility is important. So I wonder how this will be rectified.

2. Metroliner Cab Cars. Bookended Regionals = Lack of Protect Motors & More Wyeing
So our convo started when I mentioned how I think the Metroliner Cab Cars have less than a decade left. I love em, but I know their days are numbered. The Amtrak employee mentioned how the "new" Amtrak Regionals that operate with a ACS-64 locomotive on each end are leading to a lack of protect motors for Keystone trains. Which leads to more Keystones having to be wyed @ Zoo & Harrisburg (near STATE interlocking), if the Cab Car malfunctions, which causes delays. Now that I think of it, I haven't seen as many "Keystone Sandwiches" lately.

I was surprised to hear the wye in Harrisburg was seeing use. I know that's how they were turned in the "diesel era" pre-cab car. But I found it happening today to be fascinating.

In any case, thanks to them for engaging me in a good conversation. Now, I don't work for a railroad, I'm just a fan.
So I can't verify anything they said, and some of it may be their opinion. That said, they didn't seem capricious.

Just figured I'd share that. If anyone with more info wants to weigh in, please do :-D .
  by CNJGeep
Part 2 is pretty accurate, the wye is actually in State Interlocking

Part 1 not so much.
Engineers have spots where they stop depending on the circumstances at hand, such as which doors they're spotting, and if there's a car closed at the front, cab car or engine etc, and if they need a spot because they're not certain where they need to stop the conductor will spot them, telling them on the radio how far they need to pull and when it's a "good spot." Engineer spots can be pretty wild and incredibly specific, I think many of the railroaders here know a guy whose spot was "the third piece of ballast past the big piece of ballast," or "The Arby's receipt crushed between two stones." It really has nothing to do with what the engineer can see, after all when a train is shoving he can not see either. The Conductor is their eyes and ears.
  by jp1822
Agree with you on this, unless there's something else with the visibility that is going on. Although a bit rare, I've been on an HHP8 powered Keystone train - back in the day - after the restoration of the all-electrified service was completed on the line. One one trip the cab car had failed so we ended up doing a backup maneuver out of Philly 30th Street Station and back to Zoo Interlocking, where we then proceeded west to Harrisburg.
  by STrRedWolf
Definitely. The train would be slowing down, and the conductor would be hanging out to give the engineer guidance. When Track 1 was out by Odenton, MD, MARC conductors (provided by Amtrak on the line) would guide the train in on the mobile single-door platform there. It took a bit longer to align up to the platforms. Eventually they got full-car-length platforms out there that sped things up and they didn't need to hit it exactly.
  by west point
At another transportation facility someone set up 2 orange dots to define a straight line to align a stop.
  by TheOneKEA
A commenter on the Virtual Railfan livestream located at Paradise, PA stated that the catenary is downed at Thorndale. Curiously, power appears to have been interrupted elsewhere east of Lancaster, since the westbound facing interlocking home signals at Leaman Place Junction are currently dark! A westbound Keystone just passed through a few minutes ago operating at restricted speed, so the catenary is still operable at that location; why would the interlocking homes be dark if the catenary power is available?

EDIT: I scrubbed back in the livestream and the interlocking home signals went dark at timestamp 20:45:07 .
  by NortheastTrainMan
Time flies & I'm a bit late.
Thank you to CNJGeep, west point, STrRedWolf & jp1822 for chiming in.
Also, TheOneKEA, I love how detailed & coherent you are with your questions. Makes em easy to follow.
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