Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Counting Down the Year on Metro North

Metro North; Ansonia, Conn.; October 12, 2013
During the fall I started exploring some of the Metro North commuter lines I had been ignoring. There are some interesting locations on the East-of-Hudson routes -- the Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Lines. The exploration started on October 12 on the way to a night photo session in Willimantic, Conn. A diesel-powered train on the Waterbury Branch (which comes off the New Haven Line at Bridgeport) made for a nice view, even if the autumn colors were changing late.

The following day I followed the New Haven Line, pausing to check out the new station at West Haven, which just opened this year. A set of General Electric M2 "Cosmopolitan" cars -- the oldest operating cars on the New Haven Line -- made a nice scene going through the new station.
Metro North; West Haven, Conn.; October 13, 2013

Moving west that day I made a pleasant discovery -- the moveable bridge at Westport, Conn., actually has a public walkway along the tracks. The bridge crosses the Saugatuck River near where the river empties into Long Island Sound. A set of M6 cars, built by Morrison-Knudson, were seen passing the bridge operator's cabin.
Metro North; Westport, Conn.; October 13, 2013

By October 19 the colors were beginning to change in the Hudson Valley. A northbound Metro North train passed a small pond just north of Cold Spring, N.Y., behind a General Electric P32AC-DM diesel. Storm King Mountain across the Hudson provided the backdrop; the geese seemed unimpressed.
Metro North; Cold Spring, N.Y.; October 19, 2013

There is probably no better photo location in the Hudson Valley than off the Bear Mountain Bridge north of Peekskill. It provides good views of the Metro North track (also used by Amtrak and the rare CSX freight) on the Hudson's east shore, while the fairly busy CSX River Line is on the appropriately named former West Shore line. A northbound train circled Anthony's Nose (the mountain at the east end of the bridge) on the mid-fall day.
Metro North; Bear Mountain Bridge, Peekskill, N.Y.; October 19, 2013

A week later I was on the Harlem Line. While the Hudson Line has diesels on its north end and a mix of diesels and electric multiple unit cars on the south end, and the New Haven Line has electric cars with some diesel trains, the Harlem Line is entirely the domain of multiple unit cars. A set of M7A cars, the newest on the Harlem Line, crossed the through truss bridge amid late fall colors just north of the Scarsdale station on October 26.
Metro North; Scarsdale, N.Y.; October 26, 2013
A month later, on November 23, the fall colors were still hanging in there in spots on the Hudson Line. A set of M7A cars paused at the Phillipse Manor station just north of Tarrytown. The splash of yellow is a teaser that says I have to get back next year.
Metro North; Phillipse Manor, N.Y.; November 23, 2013

The late fall air had pushed the summer haze out of the Hudson Valley, opening visibility down to New York City. At Dobbs Ferry a southbound set of M7A cars headed towards the bright lights of Gotham with the George Washington Bridge providing a gateway arch over the Hudson River.
Metro North; Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.; November 23, 2013

We're back on the Harlem Line as the Christmas season begins to gear up on December 7. At White Plains, N.Y., people are dressed festively as a southbound train rolls into the station. Even on weekends the railroad remains busy.
Metro North; White Plains, N.Y.; December 7, 2013
We'll finish off our journey through the end of 2013 on Metro North with a ghostly apparition. Metro North had purchased several self-propelled cars from the Budd Company in the 1980s. Officially known as Self Propelled Vehicles (SPV's), they were quickly dubbed Seldom Powered Vehicles. Unreliable working on their own, most became coaches hauled by diesels. An SPV ghost seems to be coming out of the darkness.
Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum; Willimantic, Conn.; October 12, 2013
Actually, this SPV is preserved at the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum in Willimantic. True to its historic reputation, this car is not powered.

And with that we complete our journey to 2014. Happy New Year!!!!

You can see a gallery of all of my favorite photos from 2013 by clicking here.

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