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Nostalgia & History > Saluting roster shots (#28): Amtrak in a blizzard


Date: 02/23/21 16:09
Saluting roster shots (#28): Amtrak in a blizzard
Author: santafe199

Although it was NO picnic being furloughed during the first winter of my new Santa Fe train service career, there was one tiny perk: A furloughed brakeman didn’t have to be out on some main line @ 3:30 in the morning digging out some snowed-in, iced-up dual control switch whose switch-point heaters went and shot craps. It didn’t pay nearly as well, but it was much more fun to just mosey downtown and shoot some very late Amtrak train that would normally have rolled through town in the wee hours.

The great Midwest blizzard of 1978 ~ 1979 kicked Amtrak operation right squarely in the jock strap. It was brutal! As I vaguely recall this particular Lone Star hit Emporia in the mid/late morning ~ lunch hour time slot, making it approximately 7-9 hours late. For a couple of weeks that kind of tardiness became the rule rather than the exception. My future fellow retired RRer & fellow TO-er Dave Franz & I were able to commit a rather large number of extremely late passenger train scenes to K-64 emulsion, courtesy of a Kodak lab somewhere. Ah yes… the good ol’ days. Hard to believe those days are now 42 years astern…

1. AMTK 524 points a ‘several hours late’ train #15, the “Lone Star” at Emporia, KS on January 4, 1979.

Thanks for looking back!
Lance Garrels
santafe199




Date: 02/23/21 18:59
Re: Saluting roster shots (#28): Amtrak in a blizzard
Author: irhoghead

Great photo. At least back then, some snowflake in an office somewhere didn't cancel those trains.



Date: 02/23/21 19:29
Re: Saluting roster shots (#28): Amtrak in a blizzard
Author: RuleG

irhoghead Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Great photo. At least back then, some snowflake in
> an office somewhere didn't cancel those trains.

?????

Amtrak, in fact, did suspend service during severe winter conditions in 1977.



Date: 02/23/21 19:47
Re: Saluting roster shots (#28): Amtrak in a blizzard
Author: Hou74-76

That is a good shot of the 524. The nose looks pretty clean and shiny too.

As I look at your photo it seems that last week we had more snow here in Texas than Emporia had in this picture.  That is not normal of course.  I remember in the winter of 1975 the Lone Star would arrive in cool Houston with melting icicles hanging off the engine. We knew it must have been cold up thar. A perfect photo for these changing times and climes.



Date: 02/23/21 21:31
Re: Saluting roster shots (#28): Amtrak in a blizzard
Author: santafe199

Hou74-76 Wrote: > ... more snow here in Texas than Emporia had in this picture ...

Keep in mind the shot above was taken 1-4-79. A massive amount of snowfall was STILL AHEAD! During the 78 ~ 79 blizzard Emporia did get a lot of snow. But we didn't get the same bombardment the upper Midwest did. The closer you got to Chicago the worse it got. Overall, many of Amtrak's outbound trains (from Chi) were a few hours late by the time they got even one crew district out. Several times trains didn't even get out of Chi until they were already several hours down. It was a real disaster for passengers making connections, and for the national NRPC grid overall...

What Emporia DID get was trains #3 & #15 so routinely late they were through town in daylight hours more often than not. Coming the other way #4 was late and into daylight hours pretty often as well. Only #16 seemed to avoid that kind of habitual lateness. There was even this one very special occasion I made sure not to miss: ( https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,4214444,4214444#msg-4214444 ). It was a real boon for us local K-64 burners! One night later in Januray #15 was SO late it lost its class rights. When a 1st Class train goes over 12 hours late it loses it class distinction and becomes "an extra". I have a shot of AMTK 523 at Emporia over 17 hours and displaying white marker lights. It was also into the darkness of the next evening, so I had to go back to using a tripod! Fun times for young railfans...

Lance/199

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/21 21:32 by santafe199.



Date: 02/24/21 08:02
Re: Saluting roster shots (#28): Amtrak in a blizzard
Author: mp51w

RuleG Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> irhoghead Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Great photo. At least back then, some snowflake
> in
> > an office somewhere didn't cancel those trains.
>
> ?????
>
> Amtrak, in fact, did suspend service during severe
> winter conditions in 1977.
Back then, It probably had more to do with steam heated equipment being frozen up.
IIRC, they ran a train down to New Orleans, just to thaw it out!



Date: 02/24/21 09:55
Re: Saluting roster shots (#28): Amtrak in a blizzard
Author: texchief1

Love that shot, Lance!

RC Lundgren



Date: 02/24/21 18:59
Re: Saluting roster shots (#28): Amtrak in a blizzard
Author: RuleG

mp51w Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Back then, It probably had more to do with steam
> heated equipment being frozen up.

In the Buffalo area and much of the midwest, the snowstorms were so bad that some railroad lines were impassable.

> IIRC, they ran a train down to New Orleans, just
> to thaw it out!

Yes, I remember that.



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