Monday, September 4, 2017

Railfanning: Lancaster Station

Heading north from Strasburg I made a quick stop at Lancaster train station in Lancaster, PA.  Built by the Pennsvlania railroad in 1929, back in the days when even the most remote stations wee built to be impressive.

The station underwent a major restoration, completed in 2013.   The inside of the station looks amazing, while the platforms are a mix of nostalgia and needing a bit of TLC.

Building exterior. 

Renovated lobby
Past the doors is an over-track waiting room

The way up
Stairs from the waiting room to the platform

Waiting Area
Older style platform shelter

Rivets and lattice steel.    Definitely the original shelter

It looks like the station used to have at least 8 tracks through it - almost hard to imagine a smaller city having this large a station.    The station is now down to 4 tracks - two for passenger service and 2 for freight service.

Tracks heading West.  You can see the empty space where additional tracks once were.  Also notice fencing has reduced the length of the platforms - smaller trains stopping here these days. While the right (Passenger side) is open, the left side (off camera) has a fence keeping passengers away from the freight bypass (can see more in photos below)

Shot of the above track waiting room and stairs to the platforms.
Elevators have been added opposite the stairs (brick work behind the cab car)
Oh, and the Philadelphia bound train arrives.

I was there on a Saturday morning, and there wasn't much freight action.  Just saw two freight trains in my hour there.

This train never came through the station - just backed to the switch and went back East

This train did come through on the bypass track

This young lady didn't appreciate the noise

Train?   What train? This woman barely noticed

The only predictable traffic are the Philadelphia-Harrisburg trains - Amtrak's keystone service.  If you have the Amtrak smartphone app you can tell when the next train in either direction will arrive.

Westbound Keystone train departs Lancaster station

I had no problem taking photographs in the station, and was able to get to the platform without needing a ticket.  So as long as you are responsible, you should have no problem taking photographs at the station.

Video of the freight passing through the station

Happy railfanning!!   Please add a comment if you get to or have been to Lancaster station


See more photographs on my Flickr pages.

Lancaster, PA

I recently took a short trip to Lancaster, PA.  The area is beautiful rolling farmland, worthy of a much longer visit than I gave it.   But in the day I was there, I managed to take some great photographs.

This is the heart of Amish country, with farms growing corn, tobacco and soy, with plenty of grasslands (not sure if they are unfarmed or just fallow fields).

But even just being there for a day, I took some great photos.   And a lightly clouded sky made for some outstanding black and white images.   I still would love to head back for a longer trip one day and do some more exploring.

Many of the photos below were taken from a trip on the Strasburg railroad,  which gives some great vantage points as you travel through the country side.

Clicking on most images will make them larger.

Typical farm scene

Rolling hills of grass and crops

Clouds make the scene - farmlands extending all the way to the hills.

Concentric Corn
Corn lined up in rows.

Happy Cows
Some happy cows

Some cows not happy to see our train at all.

'round the bend
Our train rolling through farmland

Corn Maze
A corn maze

Fields of Soy

High and Low Tech
Amish farmer with horse drawn equipment

A final B&W image.  Those amazing clouds...

Some more photos from this trip can be found on my Flickr album.

Rail Destination: Strasburg, PA

This year I decided to extend my PA trip to Allentown for DCI East to include a side trip to the Strasburg Railroad.

The Strasburg railroad is the oldest continuously operated railroad charter in the US.   Today' it's a tourist railroad running several steam trains per day on a short 45 minute excursion trip (an out and back ride - 4.5 miles).   The locomotives and various passenger cars are all historic equipment, restored to running condition.   Trains run hourly, and there are plenty of things to do on site for the kids.   There are occasional special trains, like a Wine and Cheese special, or a Day Out with Thomas.  (They also do limited freight service....)  The rail cars range from an open air coach (great for photos!) to an air conditioned parlor car.

Across the street is the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, a large collection of restored equipment, cars and locomotives, preserved in an indoor climate controlled environment.    It's easy to take in both attractions on the same day (at a discounted price).

The trip is through the beautiful Lancaster county countryside, making the train ride a great way to see the area.  You can see some of my on-train photos here.

If you're ever in the Lancaster area, a trip to Strasburg RR needs to make it on your agenda!

Down the tracks
The previous excursion train approaches the station

Train arriving at the station.  
Steam always look great in Black & White - the clouds were an added bonus

Locomotive #90 runs around our train to pull us back to the station
Ironically, the Steam excursion turns around at the Amtrak electrified Harrisburg line.

'round the bend
Our train as we go around a bend.   Farmland runs on either side of us.

An open coach.  
Not the most luxurious, but no windows makes better photograph opportunities

One last Steam photograph

 The RR museum of PA - half the collection, as seen from a catwalk.

You can find more photos from my Lancaster trip on my Flickr pages.