For the past six years and eleven months I have been a regular commuter on Metro-North’s Harlem Line. I’ve taken the train regularly from a multitude of stations – Brewster, Goldens Bridge, Southeast, Pawling, Wingdale, and even Wassaic. I’ve also done the reverse commute from Harlem to White Plains for almost a full year now. It is, however, time to move on. Very soon I will be making my final regular ride as a Metro-North Harlem Line commuter.

It didn’t take me a full year of commuting to observe a lot of amusement and craziness on the rails, and on April 10, 2009 I started a site simply entitled “The Train Blog” to convey some of these stories. The diary-type entries revolved mostly around the common topics of strange passengers I observed, occasional train delays and mishaps, and pigeons. It wasn’t until September of 2009 that posts started turning serious – with encouragement of Roxanne Robertson, formerly of the New York Transit Museum – I put together a few photo posts of the “The Last Day of the Myrtle Avenue El” exhibit, and the museum’s annual Bus Festival.

I slowly became engrossed in the subject of trains and their history, and by March 2010 was regularly posting interesting archival materials I had dug up every Friday. By May, I had launched the Panorama Project, which over the course of three years took me to every Metro-North station, and cemented the transition of this site from a comical diary to a more serious photographic and historical exploration of the rails.

It has been, for the most part, a wonderful journey. Over time I became almost like a public figure – people would recognize me on trains, and I even had someone ask me to autograph a timetable for them once. I’ve met many wonderful people on my journeys, and some are like family to me. But on the flip side, I’ve also met my share of not so wonderful people. I’ve had railroad employees yell at me, “Don’t you have some dollies to play with?” I’ve also had people show up at my home, and at my place of work uninvited. I’ve even had a particular self-described “alpha male” who couldn’t take no for an answer try to get my husband fired from his job (among other attempts to make my life a living hell) because I had rejected him. I’ve largely been ignoring that situation, nonetheless I figured it necessary to put that out in the open – mostly because I am expecting him to attempt the same to me with the announcement I am about to make (and yes, I’ll bet 95% of my readership knows who this guy is).

The reason my Metro-North commute is coming to an end is because another opportunity has opened up for me. I’m going to work for Amtrak. What exactly does that mean for this site? Probably not too much. For quite a while I’ve been exploring far outside of Metro-North’s territory, and I will continue to do the same. You’ll probably find a few more Amtrak-related posts than before. I’ll still be riding the Harlem Line – although not regularly – and intend to shortly bring you a new tour of the Harlem Line. Not only has my photography greatly improved since the first Harlem Line tour, various things have also changed over the years at many stations. So expect that tour in the next few months, as well as a whole lot of new railroading adventures.

For the next few weeks, however, this site will be on a temporary hiatus while things settle down. I promise we’ll be back shortly, with a photo tour of a particular foreign transit system that I’ve been dying to shoot for several years.

If you’re not already, be sure to follow the Amtrak Careers blog, as well as their accounts on Twitter and Instagram, where you’ll probably be seeing me in the future.

26 Responses

  1. Emily, congratulations! As one who has greatly enjoyed your work and growth these past few years, I wish you the greatest success at your new position. We all eagerly look forward to your future announcements.

  2. Al Cyone says:

    Best wishes on this next chapter in your life. Amtrak is lucky to have you.

  3. Harry Peltz says:

    Congrats Em!

  4. Metro-North’s loss is Amtrak’s gain. I hope you’ll shoot as many amazing pix of Amtrak as you have of MNR over the years. Hearty congrats on the move!

  5. Steve says:

    Welcome aboard.

  6. adkjoe says:

    Congratulations Emily on your continued journey through life, I wish you all the best.

  7. W. KOCH says:

    It’s been a fun ride. Thanks for the historical tidbits from time to time. Good luck in the future.

  8. Yes, it has been fun run and interesting! Very sad to see you go, but I wish you the best of luck in the future. I will be looking forward to Amtrak related items in the months to come. (Ignore the idiots.)

  9. STrRedWolf says:

    Why nice! I hope you get to come down and tour the MARC train system, and ride the Penn line.

  10. nmhz says:

    Congratulations and best wishes in your new job!

  11. Michael Napolitano says:

    Wishing you nothing but the best going forward!

  12. Bob says:

    Congratulations on the new job. It’s wonderful when your interests mesh with a career. Harassment should be called out and dealt with. Your photography has become world class. Glad you will be around posting and keeping us informed. (grandson of a HD conductor). Best regards.

  13. Howard Wharton says:

    Congratulations on your new job. Amtrak will be gaining a excellent employee. And you take great pictures.

  14. Jeff Morris says:

    Emily, it is so great to hear that your true “passion” and hobby has turned into a career. Hope you will continue to be able to utilize your design talents, and I look forward to seeing lots of new Amtrak material.

    As one of the 5% who apparently have no idea who your problem is, it would pain me to learn he in any way deterred you from the free pursuit of your vision. Good luck to you!

  15. Kayce says:

    THAT’S Awesome!! Congrats Em!! Soooo happy for you!

  16. Lee says:

    Thank you for sharing your observations and excellent photography over the years. It was very interesting and informative.

    Best wishes for your new career!

  17. Walter Haner says:

    Emily — Best of luck at Amtrak. I’ve enjoyed your blog to date and anticipate enjoying it in the future!

  18. Catherine H Scheff says:

    I am commenting on your 2 Dec 2010 article entitled “History of my Hometown: The Railroad in Southbury” The train accident on 10 Dec 1892 was tragic for my ancestors as my Great Grandfather, William Henry Beebe (the engineer on this train) was killed. He was 27 years old and he left behind his wife and 2 sons, age 6 and 1, with a third child on the way. I thank you for the map of the accident. This map is new to me and it pin-points the exact location of the accident. I will be putting it into my genealogical files. I do plan to visit the area sometime soon and hope to learn more about the accident. Again, Thank you.

    Note: William Henry Beebe died on 10 Dec 1892. This was the 1st birthday of his son, John Edward Beebe.

  19. Hank says:

    Emily, thank you very much for providing so much information and entertainment. I rode the Harlem extensively during the late steam and early diesel eras. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing how it has evolved thanks to your blog.

    I wish you all success and happiness with your new endeavors.

    BTW, I’m embarrassed as a male that you had to suffer the indignities of someone my father-in-law called the south end of a northbound horse.

  20. Steve Dunham says:

    I hope you have a great experience working at Amtrak. Thanks for keeping the blog going. I enjoy it immensely.

  21. travelsonic says:

    Been following this blog for some time, always entertaining and informative. Good luck on your endeavors at Amtrak. :D

    Honestly, it sounds like that “alpha-male type” guy is the kind of person who deserves a swift kick in the testicles.

  22. Jamie says:

    Emily, Good For You! Move on and Up! I have greatly enjoyd your blog and will follow it in he future…

  23. Thanks for the memories. May you have a green board, on your track of life.

  24. JOhn says:

    Does this job come with free rides? :)

  25. Russ says:

    I am so happy for you. This is something that should have happened to a deserving person like you long ago. Congratulations and good luck in the future.

  26. Glen heinsohn says:

    Thanks once again for this wonderful site I somehow seem to get to when I start doing my train searches. Good luck at Amtrak I know this is a bit belated but I just stumbled here again. I still ride the Hudson line and will for quite some time as I live in Dutchess county and Manhattan. I’ll be driving up by Hudson NY tomorrow and I hope to glimpse the trains up there.

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