Over My mid-winter Vacation, I took a short trip up to Windsor, Vermont some relitives. I'm gone from February 15-18, 2005. I took the Vermonter up and back to Windsor that had no snow at all. The train ride up was amazing, we ran into no freight traffic, and the highlight was arriving 22 minutes early into Springfield, MA. This gave me a number of great photo opportunities in the 40 minutes we were stopped. On the way back, I was worried about since we had terrible winds the night before. The ride was fine and on time until we were stuck waiting to get into the switchback at Palmer, Mass where CSX was in the middle of forming a train, we had to wait a ridicules hour and 20 minutes before proceeding. Yet again terrible dispatching by CSX made me late. With the built in recovery time and a switch to electric in New Haven in only 10 minutes we arrived in New York only a half-hour behind schedule.
15 February, 2006: A very early trip going north|18 February, 2005: The trip back, CSX makes us very late
I walk over to 181st Street getting to the station at 10:33 and just missing the A train. This brings back memories of 10 years ago when I and my mom were taking this train and she misread the time. We got to Penn with only seconds to spare, and just made the train. I wait until 10:40 when the A train comes, R44 #5364. It's fairly crowded. We get to Penn Station at 11:03, I'm just too early
I walk of the subway and stand in Lobby near the big board but with my eyes on an arrivals monitor instead, this will tell me the track so I can be first when the Vermonter arrives from D.C. At 11:14 it does and track 16 is listed on the arrivals board, I consider going down stairs but know I need to wait until the proper call is made. I walk over to Track 6 so I can be first. No one else is their except for a few people coming up the stairs. At 11:16 the proper boarding call is made for gate 6 East, I walk over their and am told by an employee to wait a minute. I due and am the front in line, a few people board with redcaps before me. Finally at 11:20 I walk down stairs and board the first car #44956 which is a Metroliner Car with curtains and more legroom. There are footrests but not leg rests. The seats are in the Vermonter set-up, half one-way the rest the other.
The consist of train #56
Ridership just after leaving Stamford
- AEM7 #919
- Replaced by Genesis P42 #63 in New Haven
- Amfleet #44958-My car-Blue in Metroliner lay-out, with curtains at every seat and more legroom-most seats taken
- Amfleet #82525-normal-all full seats taken
- Amfleet #44203-very unreferbished in red scheme-completely empty-has no power outlets.
- Amfleet #44704-Blue in Metroliner lay-out
- Amfleet #48156-Blue Café car with business class
- Genesis P42 #110 added in New Haven
We depart Penn Station 11:31, the conductor comes almost immediately and isn't confused on weather Windsor is station. (This has happened on past trips), but my seat check is punched WRJ-White River Junction, since there is no WNM on it. She says the conductor in Vermont will
- 11:36-Daylight in Queens
- 11:39-Curve off of the LIRR Main Line.
- 11:42-Go over Hellgate.
- 11:43-In the Bronx we just slow down, I'm already annoyed with the guy behind me, who works for ING, and his long cellphone calls.
- 11:47-Up through South Bronx, 2 of the 4 tracks still covered in snow. We go by co-op city.
- 11:50-Trough Pelham Bay Park and over the Huchinshion River.
- 11:55-Bypass Newrochelle and up the New Haven Line
- 11:59-Harrison-We slow down for some reason, power off
- 12:02-Rye-Running a little slower
- 12:03-Port Chester, NY-We enter Connecticut. Running slower, traffic on I-95 is faster than us
- 12:08-Cos Cob
- 12:09-Riverside-running slow
- 12:11-Old Greenwich-announcement for Stamford
- 12:14-Ar. Stamford-2 people boarding looks like he is boarding.
- 12:18-Dp. Stamford-On Time
- 12:21-Norton Heights-The line continues to fallow I-95
- 12:24-Rowayton-I go for my consist on passenger load walk
- 12:26-South Norwalk-We go through town and across river
- 12:27-Westport-I-95 is now on the westside of the train
- 12:41-Ar. Bridgeport
- 12:42-Lv. Bridgeport
- 12:45-Pass CDOT train yard-empty-We continue through the suburban Connecticut towns
- 12:46-Stratford-Were slowing down-Go over Housatonic River
- 12:50-Milford-Staiton is being rebuilt bridge plates in use on NH-bound track, has have a platform, with no connections, on the other side of a highway underpass-All the rivers up here are iced over
- 12:56-We enter an industrial area of West Haven
- 12:58-Go across a swamp-announcement for New Haven Conduction tries to say station stops but stops after Springfield
1:02-Arrive New Haven
I watch as they take off the electric AEM-7 Locomotive and add a diesel Genesis P42 to each end of the train, guess no more cab cars in use. I get lucky and photograph and Acela train that is stopping. I chat with another passenger about photography. Ask conductor about push-pull. He says they normally use a Control Car, but doesn't know why today it's to engines. I get back on at 1:22, conductor says were waiting for the all clear and that the locomotives are able to fully communicate with one another.
Moving at 1:24, We slowly leave New Haven I can smell the diesel fuel and hear the engine.
- 1:21-Bypass New Haven State Street-We continue along the NEC, just after I can see a catenary pole that says voltage chage. Metro-North MU cars can't go farther then this. That's why Shoreline East uses diesel.
- 1:28-curve of NEC, We pass a large yard that is full of maintenance viacles.
- 1:30-We have left new haven, and are running along the Connecticut River that is here quite swampy. There is some industry on the other side, the river keeps leaving view, and industry prevails.
- 1:33-We continue through a town a freight train waits for us to go first (Were on Amtrak's tracks). We leave down, going under highway underpasses, passing a number of strip malls, and other low rise business establishments.
- 1:36-We go by a state park, and enter another town. We slow way down, going through a town.
- 1:38-Bypass Wallingford, CT (a station stop on the Shuttles).-It has a beautiful station building-Were continuing to run very slowly through Wallingford
- 1:41-Were full speed through town, running along route 5, with super-store after super-store
- 1:42-pass a junkyard, with an abandoned BWI Airport bus., and the area is rural with some houses.
- 1:44-slowing down again-were in a town-"Meriden 2 doors where you see a member of the train crew", its another Connecticut town
- 1:46-Ar. Meriden, in center of town simple station house, with awning jutting out Platform is clear. Lv. 1:47-8 minutes to Berlin-We making our way through this town
- 1:50 leave this town again fallowing the River, and more rural
- 1:52-enter another town-Berlin
- 1:55-Ar. Berlin, a simple station, has high level platform. Dp. 1:56-"Hartford 10 minutes"-Conductor comes through, walk back one car to exit.
- 2:01-Were entering the industrial city of Hartford and it's sprawl.
- 2:05-Were going under a highway overpass and into the city of Hartford, theirs only a little snow still, melting quickly
- 2:07-Ar. Hartford and its cavernous old station building-on viaduct in town. Dp. 2:10-Springfield 20 minutes-another service stop!
- 2:12-We pass a large freight yard north of Hartford, and speed north , the line becoming more rural
- 2:17-Bypass Windsor, CT-another 'historic station' (not my stop, but once the conductor thought it was, I had to talk him into the fact Windsor-Ascutney, VT is a station)
- 2:20-We've veered back to run along the River-and run along a canal in the Town of Windsor Locks, where there are yes, locks.
- 2:23-We go across the Connecticut River, the first of four times.-and begin running slower in this rural area before speeding up following the river
- 2:29-Pass a freight-the line here is rural
- 2:31-Running along I-95-see sign for Springfield
- 2:34-slow running as we enter Springfield and curve through the city.
2:36-Ar. Springfield-25 minutes early-Springfield is meant to be a service stop of 15 minutes anyway, schedule says Ar. 3:00, but theirs so much padding built-in and since we encountered no traffic along the way were early. I use the time as a Photostop. The Springfield station is situated on a viaduct in the city, it's fairly large with six tracks. I photograph a 2 car Springfield Shuttle that's their on layover, one car is a cab car. Train #55, the Vermonter the other way rolls in 2:55, it is the
At 3:10, I get on a the "All Aboard". The sunset is a real beauty.
3:15-Leave Springfield-Conductors comes around to make a list of where people are detraining, and rewrite the NEC punch seat checks with lettering so finding passengers at the tiny stops will be easier. He sees my seat check that says White River Junction, I tell him its incorrect and that I'm going to Windsor, he corrects it. We leave Springfield running in a fairly industrial area.
- 3:19-Running slowly through North Springfield we pass another freight going the other way-We slow down, The rails up here are slower.
- 3:25 Announcement about switching ends in Palmer, Mass, in 10 ten minutes, and that the direction of travel will change. This is in order to get from the east-west CSX railway to the north-south New England Central Railway. It's long, I record the end of it, and see the conductors entering the cab. We pass an Amtrak the other way, the Lakeshore Limited, didn't realize we share trackage here. The line continues through a few small towns, but for the most part is very rural.
- 3:37-We pass the "Steaming Tenders" drive through restaurant, located at the Rail junction. In what looks like the old Railroad station building. The establishment has an old 1915 Porter Locomotive and a covered wagan.
- 3:38-Ar. Palmer, MA, switchback, stop for maybe 2 seconds, and begin moving in reverse onto the NEC trackage.-This is a prime New England train spotting location with so many freight trains each day that must stop. We slowly leave the Palmer Switchback.<>
- 3:40-Stopped in front of Steaming Tenders again, this time on different tracks. guess were behind a freight. We sit for a while, first delay, all day.
- 3:46-Finally moving again-We curve off the CSX trackage and go through the town of Palmer. Are speed as definitely decreased
- 3:49-Pass a long freight train waiting to enter the crossing.
- 3:50-We wend our way through some industry
- 3:53-We roll through the real town of Palmer, I see what looks like an a highway accident.
- 3:56-The line is more rural, the sun setting fast, behind all the trees, were running fast-Their's less snow up here then in New York, but a small dusting. Not the usual 3 feet of accumulation.
- 3:57-I go for another walk, to see how crowded the train is here, count about 35 people on board, and am amazed to see 5 others for Windsor, all the other times I've been alone getting on and off, granted I haven't taken the train up for a good two years. Notice most stations have people, some going all the way to St. Albans. Theirs one stop with no one Clairmont, NH, same as last time I was on this train. The passengers are all adults, many older, but some that look like students. No children on board.
- 4:04-Pass NECR Bordertown.
- 4:18-We run slowly and stop in the large college town of Amhurst, MA. The sun is setting fast.
- 4:28-The line is rural, pass some farms, but mostly woods. The snow is only a dusting but everything is frozen. Up here is northern rural Massachusetts.
- 4:41-We curve through a town and onto a high bridge to cross the Connecticut River, once again. I can hear a guy snoring. The river comes in and out of view.
- 4:47-We make are way through fields-The sunset is beautiful.
- 4:56-Were entering a town. The sun keeps setting.
- 5:02-Pass the Miller farm
- 5:06-Running along River again
- 5:11-We pass a freight yard- and a train since the line here is two tracks
- 5:12-Ar. Brattleboro, VT-station is small and in an open-cut in this fairly large town by Vermont's standards-Lv. 5:13-We fallow the river out of this tiny city
- 5:30-We run full speed, its now totally dark
- 5:48-Qick stop at Bellows Falls, VT, only one person getting off, we go over the Connecticut River again and into New Hampshire, the town Walpole, running slowly, before speeding up again.
- 6:10-Speeding through the night an announcement is made that we have just bypassed Clairmont, NH-No one getting off next and Windsor is next.
- 6:15-Conductor comes and tells me exit is two cars forward (with the other people getting off their)-I gather my luggage and walk up. One of the ladies starts chatting with me, asking me where I'm going, I say Brownsville. She is the local dog breeder and my godmother just got a new puppy from her. She was in New York For the dog show.
6:18-Arrive Windsor, VT I am off the train last stepping onto one of those silly little yellow steps on the platform, my godmother meets me and we go have dinner in the Station House Restaurant, in the old station house. We sit in the area that used to be the old ticket office and is still intact. The food was pretty lousy, the restaurant decorated with railroad memorabilia, some that just didn't fit, like a plaque from the South African Railways.
15 February, 2006: A very early trip going north|18 February, 2005: The trip back, CSX makes us very late
Last Updated: February 4, 2006
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