Showing posts from October, 2011

VIA Rail F40PH-3

The F40PH shares the same gene as ElectroMotive’s reliable lines of freight locomotives, the GP40 and SD40. It is the passenger version with a full width car body and geared for 103 mph. Many commuter railroads in America and VIA Rail Canada still operate variants of this locomotive today. On this post I’ll focus on the latest of the rebuilt F40s, what is referred to by railfans at the F40PH-3, rebuilt by CAD Railway Industries in Montreal, QC.

Instead using the 3,000 horsepower 16 cylinder 645 engine for traction and head-end power, the -3s have a separate Caterpillar engine to provide 500 kW of HEP and the 645 is upgraded to EPA Tier-0 compliant. Electrical components have also been modernized on these locomotives and a new painting scheme similar to the P42DCs has also been applied. A list of modifications done to the unit can be found here.

The rebuilt program breathes new life into these work horses of the Canadian national passenger rail system and these F40PH-3s are to serve V…

SoundTransit Central Link

The Central Link is one of the two operational Link Light Rail routes in the Puget Sound Region, Washington (hence the name SoundTransit, make sure you check the website out, one very interesting thing I find about the Central Link is that each station has their own unique logo). It is operated by King County Metro and runs between downtown Seattle from Westlake Station in the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel and the Seattle Tacoma International Airport. The Central Link was opened in full in December 2009 and it only took about half an hour for the entire trip to Sea-Tac with a top operating speed of 55 mph. Its route traverses through downtown, SODO, Beacon Hill, Rainier Valley, and Tukwila. The equipment currently being used on the Central Link is low-floor LRVs manufactured by Kinkisharyo-Mitsui from Japan with a top speed of 65 mph. Trains run in two-car sets and are planned to expand up to four cars in the coming years.

This post concludes my train adventures in the US for 2011.…

Empire Builder

The Empire Builder began operation in June 1929 as the premier passenger train of the Great Northern Railway. The name was chosen to honor founder of the railroad, James J. Hill, who was known as the "Empire Builder". Although now operating on a slightly different route, the Empire Builder remains running today as the busiest long-distance train on the Amtrak system. Departing Chicago as the combined Train 7/27/807, the Empire Builder travels on the Canadian Pacific Railway via Milwaukee, WI to the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She then continues on the BNSF Railway (Great Northern’s modern form) as Train 7/27, passes through the northern plains and the beautiful Glacier National Park in Montana. The train is split into two at Spokane, WA where Train 7 continues on towards her final destination, Seattle’s King Street Station and Train 27 heads south to reach her destination, Union Station in Portland, OR.

The Empire Builder I was severely delayed and I missed the scenes of Glac…

Toronto Streetcar

The Toronto Streetcar system, now operated by the Toronto Transit Commission, is one of the very few operational streetcar systems in North America. The system plays a vital role in public transportation in the downtown core of the 6th largest city in North America.

The electric streetcars first started running in the city on 15 August 1892 on the Toronto Railway Company. To prevent the mainline railroads, namely the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Grand Trunk Railway (later became the Canadian National Railways), from running trains on city streets, the streetcar uses a track gage of 4 feet 10 7/8 inches instead of the standard railroad track gage of 4 feet 8 1/2 inches. In 1921, after the formation of the Transit Commission, the TTC took over the operations of the streetcar and became the official transit authority of the city of Toronto.

The TTC once has operated the largest fleet of PCC streetcars in North America. This fact is being honored by the Market Street Railway in San F…