|For Photos—Southeast|Wassaic|Danbury|South Norwalk|Westport|Fairfield|
Today I decided to finally finish off Metro-North, by going up to Wassaic. I decided to go with my friend Robbie and we decided to take the bus over to Danbury and dip down to the main line for some rail fan stops afterwards.
Normally when I take Metro-North I get on in the Bronx. This is in order to save a few bucks on an already expensive day. This also means that I must take local trains on the Harlem and New Haven Lines since most of their respective expresses run non-stop from 125th Street to White Plains and Stamford respectively, and transfer from the terminating locals in each of those stations. Normally I don't mind spending the extra 20 minutes or so, but with this trip requiring an early start, and the fact the super-fast M98 would be running, I decided to spend the extra money and take the express.
My trip started by taking the M98 from 178th Street and Broadway. (I walked down the hill, since I know a number of buses start just from the bus station). The bus had just began its route, since the destination sign said "Not In Service", the driver set the sign as I boarded, and paid my $2.00 fare. On RTS #8775
I step off the bus, you couldn't of asked for a faster ride, it took me longer to walk down the hill from my house to the bus stop then the ~3.5 mile ride took itself. The M98 is definitely one of the few Manhattan bus routes that doesn't deserve a pokey award. Unfortunately it only runs during peak hours. I with much more time that I planned took my time buying a ticket to Wassaic and going up the platform, and had a surprised photo stop photographing a number of inbound trains. No-one said a word to me. I have heard in the past of photographers being harassed. My train came in on time at 09h58 and I found my friend fine in the front-opened car M7a #4149, their were four cars ahead of it that were sectioned out. Why must Metro-North due this all it does is add unnecessary mileage and ware and tare to the cars. The car and the open portion of the train was quite crowded, my friend sitting in the 3 seater was already doubled-up with one other, I had to double-up with someone in a two seater, just across the aisle.
Before entering the station I see an AMTRAK Genesis P40 Locomotive sitting in the yard at Southeast. I later find out that some of these retired locomotives have been leased to Metro-North. Then the 3 car Wassaic Shuttle enters almost immediately with the Amtrak Genesis pulling it.
The shuttle's consist:
We leave Southeast quite slowly at 11h17 going through the switches which end in the one-track branch before speeding up. The line is mainly through forests with houses in view in places. There are some steams and rivers, a little more interesting that the Northern section of the main line farther south, although about equal to the Southern Main Line. All stations have fairly large parking lots.
I then spent the layover photographing portions of the station, there was absolutely nothing around. The Amtrak locomotive did platform and I went up to the end of the platform to photograph it. The only things at the station is a bike path that continues north along the abandoned rail right-of-way, some farms in the distance a large parking lot, and the Metro-North train yard, no commercialism of any kind. I guess no chance of the reestablishment of the rail line any farther north. We both purchase one-way tickets to Brewster where we will catch HART to Danbury in order to hit the New Haven Main Line for some rail fanning.
We get off the train, a number of people waiting on the platform board, before the conductor yells at them that the train is out of service and the continuing train is coming in on track 2. It a train of M7as enters almost immediately. The conductor doesn't come to punch the second half of my ticket. I forget to right down the car # on this very short ride.
We get off the train and grab a bit to eat and the small café in the station house. I get an egg sandwich. We sit and eat waiting for our bus to arrive at 13h30, stepping outside a little before then. The HART Bus Route #3 pulls up on time, at 13h30. Its RTS #207. The ride is very uneventful. We lose a bit of time having to go down to Jenson Park, to pick up an elderly lady. This spur, which is off the main route, is only served by calling ahead. Since we are late the bus driver asks the bus with like 10 people on by the end: "Any transfers?" This is so he can radio the connecting buses at Pulse Point the connection stop, to wait for passengers. We get there late at 14h01. I let my friend take his time leaving the stop so he can get his bus photos. We then walk over to station, poking our heads in the rail museum which is open. We talk to the guy at the front and decide its not worth $5 to spend just 20 minutes. I hit the brochure rack full of info about various Railroad museums. We then hear our Metro-North train coming around the train yard on its way from its lay-up space to the station, and are stunned to see another locomotive surprise, instead of the typical Genesis P32AC-DM on this short shuttle, the locomotive is an old F10, #413 painted in Metro-North Commuter Railroad Colors, with the old M Logo.
The Consist of the Danbury Shuttle:
The ride on the Danbury Branch was uneventful. Departing at 14h37. I didn't log the intermediate stations here either, instead dozing off and reading. We arrived in South Norwalk on Track #5 the stub-track on the GCT-bound platform. This is not the normal track the shuttle uses normally its track #6, which is along the northbound platform. This is due to the fact that main line track #4 is being completely rebuilt this is the New Haven-bound local track.(bridge plates are in use in the station). The track looks sparingly used with some grass growing up through it. This does not exsist on track 5. We took a half-hour photo stop. Not all that much passed except for an Acela which I wasn't ready for. My friend a bus-fan took a walk in Norwalk to photograph Wheels buses. I stayed in the station.
An outbound train came in at 16h09, we took it two short stops to Westport where we had another photo stop, arriving at 16h13. We were on an M6, I forgot to record the car number. We took another half an hour nothing too interesting passed by, just some MUs. I did a photo essay.
We hopped on the next train an M2 at 16h37 arriving at the next stop Fairfield at 16h45. This was to be the stop of the star object of our trip. The Shoreline East train scheduled to arrive in Bridgeport at 17h06, unfortunately it didn't come, an unscheduled MU train passed the station at roughly its time, I guess this could have been a replacement, maybe there were having trouble getting it down to Stamford, and the MU train was substituting with passengers to change to the SLE train at New Haven (MU cars can't operate Shore Line East trips due to the fact their pantographs can't take power from the new Amtrak wires, and some of the stations have low-level platforms (they are all currently being rebuilt to high-level.). An Amtrak train pulled by an AEM-7 did pass.
We took the next city-bound train in leaving Fairfield at 17h21. We were in the front car an M2, yet again I forgot the car number. We ran local to Stamford, before running semi-express stopping in Greenwhich and Rye, then Fordham where I got off at 18h29, a little late. I took the Bx12 Limited (Artic) to 207th Street to the A train (R44) and home.