Jonathan Lee

Worldly Images

West Chester Railroad (WCRR) June 2011

Alco’s on the SEPTA, who would have believed it? And what’s more who’d have thought the West Chester would ever get through the tunnels beyond Philadelphia 30th Street! Well they did……….

On Saturday 4th June 2011 the West Chester Railroad ran a “special” Charter Train utilising their MLW RS18u #1803 & Alco C424 #4230. The trip was a very reasonably priced $50 per person with no reserved seating (which was good for those wanting to listen to the Alco’s), but the trip was fully booked. The Railroad used their own stock throughout. The only stipulation by SEPTA was that their Genset #70 was used in multi with 1803, instead of the C424, beyond Philadelphia 30th Street to prevent the Alco clag setting off the fire system in the tunnels.

1803 led 4230 from West Chester to Philadelphia 30th Street. The whole train was shunted out to the carriage sidings for SEPTA’s #70 to be marshalled inside 1803, before picking everyone up again for the run to Lansdale, the destination for the day, where the annual Lansdale Festival was taking place. The same took place in the return direction too.

It was excellent to be able to have open windows at the front of the train and to listen to some Alco thrash on a “proper” running line, with speeds up to 50mph, while trains were passing at speed in the opposite direction. Thankfully the Genset made less noise than a very quiet thing, which meant the only noise that could be heard was the 12 cylinder growl of the RS18.

There were plenty of photo stops in both directions, unfortunately the best of the day was at Leni, on the unused section of track between Glen Mills and the SEPTA line, after it had become too dark to take any decent photos. It was a run-past that had 1803 pouring out black clag in an attempt to bring the onset of darkness ever quicker.

A thoroughly enjoyable day out, with nice weather, decent running speeds, not one but two Alco’s, a load of photo stops and a raft of thrash to boot. What more could the Alco follower want?


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