Heritage locomotives in Pittsburgh

As of late, many of Norfolk Southern’s famous Heritage fleet of 20 locomotives – modern diesels painted in historic liveries for 20 of NS’s predecessor railroads – have been passing through Pittsburgh.  Many of these have been making long-distance trips from the Bakken Shale (in the Dakotas) bringing crude oil east to refineries in Delaware and New Jersey.  This is new business for the northeast, yet another trackside indicator of the changing game in North American energy markets.  Another interesting aspect of these crude oil trains is that they are HEAVY, and require additional horsepower to keep traffic fluid.  In most parts of the US, remote controlled DPU helpers are common, but in the northeast they are still quite rare.  NS’s 64R/65R trains (eastbound loads, westbound empties) often feature a DPU unit, and they often feature Heritage power, too.

Yesterday’s 65R was special in that it was led by 10% of NS’ Heritage fleet – the Penn Central 1073 led the Illinois Terminal 1072.  I had the chance to get out for a bit to see this train at HOME and again at Federal Street on the Pittsburgh Line, and then again at Haysville on the Fort Wayne Line:




Oil Cans


Crossing the Flyover bridge over the Conemaugh Line on the North Side of Pittsburgh


Classic Pennsylvania Railroad Position Light signals at Haysville, Pa.

NS 1019 SD70ACe is trailing the NS 65R as the DPU

While giving chase to the 65R, I learned that a 65W ethanol empty had the Savannah & Atlanta unit leading – but we had dinner guests to hosts and so that was not meant to be captured (by me, anyway).  I also heard that one of Amtrak’s heritage units would be leading this morning’s Amtrak 42.

While Amtrak’s somewhat controversial as the government agency providing subsidized passenger rail service, they saw fit to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Amtrak’s formation on May 1, 1971, by painting a group of their GE P42DC’s in paint schemes representing various time periods in Amtrak’s history.  This morning’s 42 was led by Amtrak 145, painted in the so-called Phase 3 scheme which was common in the mid- to late-1990s.  So, I got up earlier than I’d like (for a Saturday), and took my baby daughter for a ride down to CP-Bloom on the Pittsburgh line to lens an on-time Amtrak Pennsylvanian with Pittsburgh’s skyline in the background.

Amtrak Heritage engine 145 P42DC leads Amtrak 42/NS 04T at CP-BLOOM in Pittsburgh, PA with an on-time departure at 7:30AM

Amtrak Heritage engine 145 P42DC leads Amtrak 42/NS 04T at CP-BLOOM in Pittsburgh, PA with an on-time departure at 7:30AM

While Amtrak 42 scurried off towards Harrisburg and ultimately New York, we scurried home for morning coffee and a bottle.  Thanks for looking!

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