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Hudson Line back on track… sort of Trains Observations Photos

Last week’s Hurricane Ida brought massive winds and torrential downpours from Louisiana on up to the northeast, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. In New York significant flooding adversely effected our entire transportation system—making highways and railroads resemble something more like waterlogged canals. Stuck vehicles were abandoned up and down the Bronx River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway, and the entirety of Metro-North service was suspended.

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White Plains, Reflections Trains Observations

It has been nearly six years since I was a regular commuter on Metro-North. Though my origin point varied—starting off at Brewster, eventually moving to Goldens Bridge, then trying out Southeast, Pawling, and even Wassaic, and eventually finishing off with a reverse commute from Harlem—my destination point was always the same. White Plains. Earlier this month I visited the station, and it felt like I hardly knew the place. Gone were the yellow taxis with their interesting names—no more Desire of Nation or Very Fine Money Fishing—in their stead some run of the mill white taxis. There’s a bright remodeled...

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Metro-North Rail Train at Riverdale Trains Observations Photos Videos

Throughout my travels, I frequently find myself fascinated with various types of railroad engineering. During my five years at Amtrak, I got the chance to observe quite a few distinctive machines devoted to the process of building railroad tracks. Particularly memorable were Portal-Krane 1, which maneuvered large pre-constructed switches into position during Penn Station Renewal, the catenary maintenance cars that lift technicians into position to service the wires on the Northeast Corridor, and the various rail grinders and welding machines used to replace Continuous Welded Rail (CWR). Closer to home but in a similar vein, Metro-North’s rail train has recently...

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A Colorful Life at the Depot – Prints & Illustrations from Grand Central Depot Observations History

Before photographs were commonplace, engravings were often used to illustrate magazines, newspapers, and timetables. An artist would create their image on a plate—usually copper or zinc—and the plate could be copied again and again. Engraving is a little bit of a misnomer, referring to just one technique of Intaglio printmaking. There were several ways to create an illustration on a plate, including using wax and an acid to “bite” linework into the plate, a technique called etching (something I enjoyed while in art school, although I was quite terrible at it). Once an artist completed a plate, ink was applied...

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Up Close With Grand Central Observations History Photos

I always thought it would be a fun challenge to take my 300mm zoom lens and capture the details of Grand Central. There are so many intricate design elements throughout the Terminal that one could spend many an hour doing solely that. From the constellations and their lighted stars to the sculpted acorns and oak leaves, and the brass information booth clock in all her glory there are just so many things that one could adore—and that’s just inside the main concourse. Many of these details were influenced by French aesthetic. The three main artists that created works for Grand...

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Remembering Lou Grogan, “The Coming of the New York & Harlem Railroad” Author Observations

It is with great sadness that I must report that Louis V. Grogan has passed on. Laid to rest yesterday morning (along with a copy of his beloved book) in his long-time home of Pawling, New York, Grogan was 88 years old. Lou’s interest in railroads began at an early age, as many of his family members found employ in that industry. His love affair with the Harlem comes partially due to his longtime residence along its tracks, but also due to fond childhood memories of using the smooth wood floors of the long-gone Philmont station as an impromptu skating...

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