Photo 1. A train of Ex-DL&W MUs, which appears to have recently received a fresh coat of Pullman green paint, depart the Hoboken (NJ) Terminal 10-2-82.
Kenneth Gear is no stranger to this blog, as we have featred his photos a few times before.* Starting with this post, he offers a sort of career retrospective of his best work over the last 40 years.
We thank him for sharing these wonderful pictures. Part 1 includes Amtrak, New Jersey Transit GG-1s, and ex-Lackawanna MUs, all electric. As Ken says, it’s an “eclectic group of electric motive power!”
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A Traction Photo Album
By Kenneth Gear
Recently I’ve been scanning some of the slides I’ve photographed over the years. I’m attempting to catalog them into some logical, easily retrievable order. Not such an easy task considering I have shot well over 70,000 slides since I started in 1977. In the process of scanning the slides I was somewhat surprised to realize that a lot of the equipment I photographed is now retired, scrapped or in museums. Of course the GG-1s are gone as well as the Ex-Lackawanna DC electric MU cars- no surprise there, but Amtrak HHP-8s and NJ Transit ALP-44s! It doesn’t seem like their time should have passed yet. NJT has recently solicited bids for new MUs to replace the Arrow MU car fleet and newer PA-5 cars now take commuters through the “tubes” under the Hudson to and from New York. I’m glad I rode and photographed what I did when I did.
I thought readers of the Trolley Dodger might be interested in seeing some of these images so I put together a bit of a photo album to share. I’ve included photos of the equipment no longer in service as well as some of the locomotives and MUs that are out on the rails at this moment serving the traveling public. I also included some slides I shot of fan trips, shop tours, and equipment displays that I attended over the years. Since my photos of the Iowa Traction steeple cabs and the night shots I took of electric railroad operations have already been featured in past installments of this blog, I did not include any here. The photos are categorized by railroad and equipment type. I hope everyone enjoys the photos.
Photo 1. An Amtrak GG-1 arrives at the Metropark station in Iselin, New Jersey in 1978.
Photo 2. I took this photo of an Amtrak train powered by two GG-1s in Edison, New Jersey on December 1, 1980. I was only 17 years old at the time and was using an Electra 135 range finder camera. It was aperture priority so I could not select the shutter speed. I was told that on a sunny day to use an aperture of F5.6 or F8, which I did. I loaded a roll of Kodachrome 64 slide film into the camera and headed trackside to the Edison station. This being one of the fastest pieces of track in the whole country, combined with a camera that automatically picked shutter speeds and, using ASA 64 film, meant the results were going to be predictable. Most of the trains appeared as blurry messes! I was disappointed with this shot and stored it away for many years. I now like the shot very much! It has just the right amount of blur to convey motion but not enough to ruin the shot. Even the newspaper on the platform is being carried along in the wind with just the right amount of motion blur. The word AMTRAK on the side of the second G is blurred just enough to remain legible.
Photo 3. Amtrak GG-1 #918 at Lancaster PA October 3, 1978.
Photo 4. In another of my motion blurred action shots, an Amtrak Metroliner MU train speeds through Edison, NJ on December 1, 1979.
Photo 5. Amtrak Metroliner MU #817 leads a westbound train at Edison, NJ in 1978.
Photo 6. Metroliner #823 crossing the DOCK drawbridge and arriving at Penn Station Newark, NJ.
Photo 7. Amtrak E-60C #972 speeding through Edison, NJ in December of 1979. I couldn’t stop the fast motion of the trains with the camera I had, so I decided to try to make the best of it by using the motion blur to convey a sense of speed and power. This is one more of only a few of the “blur” shots that I actually like.
Photo 8. A tour of Amtrak’s Sunnyside Yard in Queens, New York City on June 20, 1987 officered a rare opportunity to photograph behind the scenes operations there. This photo shows Amtrak E-60 950 at the engine house awaiting attention.
Photo 9. Amtrak E-60 #608 on train #88 the SILVER METEOR passing the Hell Gate Fire train. The fire train is used to fight fires on the elevated approaches and main span of the Hell Gate Bridge where it would be very difficult for the NYFD to reach.
Photo 10. Amtrak E-60 #608 on Train #88 SILVER METEOR is being cleaned and stocked at Sunnyside.
Photo 11. An eclectic group of Amtrak electric motive power at Sunnyside yard, Queens, NY. 6-20-87.
Photo 12. Amtrak E-60 #609 powers Train #91 the SILVER STAR at Holmesburg Junction, PA. 2-9-02.
Photo 13. Amtrak E-60 MA #608 on Train #91 SILVER STAR at Penn Station Newark, NJ. 9-7-02.
Photo 14. Amtrak E-60MA #600 on Track A at Newark, NJ Penn Station.
Photo 15. Amtrak E-60MA #600 & NJ Transit ALP-44 #4423 at Newark, NJ Penn Station 2-2-02.
Photo 16. Amtrak AEM-7 #943 & E-60s #955 and #953 at New Haven, CT. 3-17-84.
hoto 17. Amtrak AEM-7 #900 at New Haven, CT in May of 1986. Prior to the extension of electrification from New Haven to Boston in 2000, Amtrak trains switched from electric locomotives to Diesel before continuing to Boston. The reverse was done for New York Bound trains. Number 900 has cut off a train from New York and is heading to the motor storage yard.
Photo 18. In October of 1997 I made a trip to Rye, New York to photograph Amtrak and Metro-North trains under the New Haven Railroad’s unique triangular catenary. The first photo I took was of the train I arrived on, the FAST MAIL powered by Amtrak AEM-7 #932.
Photo 19. Amtrak AEM-7s 908 & 918 under the triangular catenary.
Photo 20. One more at Rye, Amtrak AEM-7 #904 is New Haven bound. More triangular catenary photos in the Metro-North section.
Photo 21. AEM-7 #909 at HUNTER Tower, Newark, NJ. 2-16-97.
Photo 22. Amtrak AEM-7s 926 & 929 meet at speed in the rain at the Jersey Avenue station in New Brunswick, NJ. November 1991.
Photo 23. AEM-7 #933 at speed. Linden, NJ. March 1, 1992.
Photo 24. AEM-7 #929 departs Newark, NJ Penn Station 10-29-83.
Photo 25. Amtrak AEM-7s 924 & 940 power Keystone Train 644 at Harrison NJ in 2002.
Photo 26. Amtrak AEM-7 912 W/B photographed from a boat on the Passaic River at Kearny NJ.
Photo 27. AEM-7 #928 on Train #170 at Old Saybrook, CT. 4-19-05.
Photo 28 Amtrak AEM-7AC #948 on Keystone Train #661 crossing the Delaware River on the Ex-PRR bridge opened in 1903. Morrisville, PA. 1-10-10.
Photo 29. AEM-7ACs 939 & 919 on Train #162 crossing the Delaware River at Morrisville, PA.
Photo 30. Amtrak #AEM-7 932 at Cornwall Heights, PA. January 10, 2010.
Photo 31. HHP-8 #651 on Train #93 at Old Saybrook, CT. High maintenance costs and low reliability doomed these locomotives to barely ten years of service on Amtrak.
Photo 32. Amtrak HHP-8 #650 on Train #173 at Old Saybrook, CT. 4-19-05.
Photo 33. HHP-8 #660 powers Train #137 at Old Saybrook, CT in this overhead view.
Photo 34 Amtrak HHP-8 #658 with Train #163 at Secaucus Junction, NJ. 9-6-03.
Photo 35. Amtrak HHP-8 #655 is passing a PATH train at Harrison, NJ in 2002.
Photo 36. Amtrak Acela power car #2028 and a PATH train of PA-3 & PA-4 cars at Harrison NJ.
Photo 37. Amtrak’s leased X-2000 trainset was assigned to Express Metroliner #223 on April 27, 1993. It is shown here flying though Edison, NJ.
New Jersey Transit GG-1s
Photo 1. NJDOT GG-1 #4882 awaits her next assignment at South Amboy, NJ in 1980.
Photo 2. The crossing guard takes a little break from manually operating the gates as NJDOT GG-1 #4882 waits for it’s next train at South Amboy, NJ in the summer of 1980.
Photo 3 NJDOT GG-1 #4883 retains her yellow stripe that was applied in PRR days. South Amboy, NJ. 7-24-81.
Photo 4. Ex- PRR GG-1 #4883 departs South Amboy, NJ bound for Penn Station New York.
Photo 5. GG-1 #4873 crossing RIVER drawbridge across the Raritan Bay between Perth Amboy and South Amboy, NJ. 5-4-82.
Photo 6. NJDOT GG-1 #4881 crossing RIVER drawbridge into South Amboy, NJ.
Photo 7. In 1981 NJ Transit restored GG-1 #4877 and painted her in the classic PRR Tuscan red and gold five stripe scheme. She looked great in the summer sunshine at South Amboy, NJ.
Photo 8. NJT restored Pennsylvania GG-1 #4877 and Ex-Southern E-8 #4330 at South Amboy on July 24, 1981. I have never visited Ivy City yard near Washington DC where PRR GG-1s were serviced along with passenger power from connecting Southern railroads, but I imagine this scene is not unlike what it looked like there before the coming of Amtrak.
Photo 9. Doubling-up on the Pennsylvania RR heritage, GG-1s 4877 and 4883 show off their PRR lineage in two different paint schemes.
Photo 10. NJT GG-1 #4877 heads light to the station at South Amboy to couple onto a New York bound train from Bay Head that was just brought in by a couple of E-8 diesels.
Photo 11. Now coupled to the train and with the brake test completed, GG-1 #4877 is about to leave the station.
Photo 12. GG-1 #4883, South Amboy NJ at sunset. 5-4-82.
Photo 13. NJT GG-1 #4882 is about to depart South Amboy early on the cold morning of January 13, 1983. I’m sure the passengers were very happy to have that steam heat. Before the end of the year, the Gs will be replaced by Ex-Amtrak E-60s.
Photo 14. NJT GG-1 4876 in the weeds at the South Amboy, NJ Engine Terminal. 11-7-81.
Photo 15. GG-1 #4876 with tip-toe pantographs at the South Amboy Engine Terminal.
Photo 16. NJT GG-1s in the fog at South Amboy. 5-25-83.
NJ Transit ex-Lackawanna DC Electric MUs
Photo 1. A train of Ex-DL&W MUs, which appears to have recently received a fresh coat of Pullman green paint, depart the Hoboken (NJ) Terminal 10-2-82.
Photo 2. A train of DC electric MUs under the Bush trainshed of the Hoboken Terminal in 1980.
Photo 3. Ex-DL&W MUs sit in the Hoboken yards looking as gloomy as the weather. At this time Conrail was operating the New Jersey Commuter trains for the state’s Department of Transportation.
Photos 4, 5, & 6. On March 25, 1980 I was treated to a tour of the Hoboken MU shed. This was the shop located near the passenger terminal where the Ex-DL&W cars were maintained. This shop was closed and eventually tore down after the opening of NJ Transit’s new Meadows Maintenance Complex in Kearny, NJ.
Photo 7. Stacked pantographs at MU shed in Hoboken, NJ.
Photo 8. NJ Transit catenary inspection car #3408 on display at Hoboken Terminal during the “Hoboken/Try Transit Festival on October 2, 1982. It was originally a DL&W combine. A dome was installed in the roof of the baggage section and a platform with chairs provided inspectors a great view of the wires.
Photo 9 NJT Catenary inspection car 3408 again on display at a festival in Hoboken this time on September 27, 1986. It once again wears the Pullman green paint that the DL&W used on the MU fleet.
Photo 10. Catenary inspection car #3408 once more. This time in company with other Ex-DL&W MUs facing the afternoon sun at Hoboken, NJ.
Photo 11. Looking a little shabby, Ex-DL&W MUs depart Hoboken Terminal. 10-3-81.
Photo 12. NJ Transit DC MU Motor car at Hoboken, NJ. 1-25-81.
Photo 13. Interior of one of the refurbished Ex-DL&W MU cars.
Photo 14. Big changes are coming! In 1982, along with the work to convert the 3000 Volt DC current to 25,000 volt 60 hertz AC, NJT was building a new TERMINAL tower. A train of MUs depart Hoboken passing the new tower still under construction.
Photo 15. NJDOT/Conrail Ex-DL&W MU on a Gladstone Line train at Summit, NJ in January of 1981. At this time Gladstone Branch trains departed Hoboken coupled to the rear of Morristown trains. At Summit the Gladstone section was uncoupled and departed as a separate train. Today’s ARROW MUs are semi-permanently coupled preventing this type of operation. Gladstone passengers must now change trains at Summit, no more one seat ride.
Photo 16. Another view of the Ex-DL&W MUs on a Gladstone Branch train at Summit, NJ. 1-25-81.
Photo 17, 18, & 19. The scenic highlight of the Gladstone branch is the high bridge over the Passaic River at Millington, NJ. Here are three photos of the Ex-DL&W MUs crossing the bridge in August of 1984, just before the DC current was shut off and all of these cars retired.
Photo 20. The Pyle-National headlight & Westinghouse Pneuphonic horn of an Ex-DL&W MU.
Photo 21. A train of Ex-DL&W MUs arrives at Bernardsville, NJ in October of 1982. Work on converting the DC current the MU train is being powered by, to the AC current needed by the Arrow MU replacements, is in evidence. Work equipment on the siding track will spell doom for the venerable DC cars. There is still some time left. The DC MUs will not finally give up the rails they have been polishing since 1930 for almost two more years. The cars will last until August of 1984 but not all is lost, 156 (97 trailers, 59 motors) will be preserved.
Photo 22. NJ Transit DC MUs departs Bernardsville, NJ into the gloom of an October evening and an uncertain future.
Photo 23. After the day’s work the commuters on this train likely feel as weary as the train of Ex-DL&W MUs look. Hoboken, NJ. 3-25-80.
Photo 24. Just before the end of DC operation, the Tri-State chapter of the National Railway Historical Society organized a “farewell” excursion of the Ex-DL&W MUs. Polar car #3454 carried the white EXTRA flags at a photo stop at Bay Street Station, Montclair, NJ on August 19, 1984.
Photo 25. Whatever adhesive was used to apply the LACKAWANNA lettering to the Polar car was certainly not up to the task. “K WANNA” #3454 is shown during a photo stop at Montclair, NJ.
A Recent Find
Color photos from the 1948-49 Chicago Railroad Fair are not that common, especially ones like this with replica cable grip car 532, which was actually built by the Chicago Surface Lines in 1934. It can be seen today at the Museum of Science and Industry. Here is how it looked on September 25, 1949. (James J. Buckley Photo)
We spent two or three hours cleaning up this image in Photoshop. It was full of crud, but it’s practically spotless now.
On the Cover: Car 1747 was built between 1885 and 1893 by the Chicago City Railway, which operated lines on the South Side starting in April 1859. This is a single-truck (one set of wheels) open electric car; most likely a cable car, retrofitted with a trolley and traction motor. The man at right is conductor William Stevely Atchison (1861-1921), and this image came from his granddaughter. (Courtesy of Debbie Becker.)
Check out our new book Chicago Trolleys. Signed copies are available through our Online Store.
This book makes an excellent gift and costs just $17.99 plus shipping. That’s $4.00 off the list price.
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