The Autumn Express and the Return of Passenger Trains to the Lehigh Valley

This past weekend an Amtrak Autumn Express excursion train travelled to the Lehigh Valley from New York City and it was a truly historic event because it was the first time in several decades that a passenger train had actually passed through Easton, Bethlehem and Allentown, the three major cities of the Lehigh Valley. The train then continued west to Harrisburg and Lancaster. After a stop at Lancaster the train headed south to Philadelphia and then north back to New York.

The first Autumn Express train left New York at 8:30 am on Saturday morning, Oct 29th, and crossed the Delaware river at approximately 10:20 am., entering Easton as it headed west the Bethlehem and then Allentown. I made my way to the site of the old Easton Passenger station to watch the Autumn Express roll by. I fairly large crowd of train enthusiasts, including the the mayor of Easton, had gathered to welcome train. A similar crowd formed to Allentown, including the mayor of that city as well, to greet train.



Here is video a shot of the Autumn Express arriving at the site of the former Easton Passenger Station on the morning of Saturday, Oct 29th,

I enjoyed seeing the train so much on Saturday that on Sunday morning  I decided to go to a spot right below the railroad bridge that the Autumn Express would cross the Delaware so I could capture that on video.






Later that morning I shot a brief video explaining why it was such a thrill to see the Autumn Express in Easton and why many in the Lehigh Vally would love the see passenger train service return to this area.




Hoboken Terminal Photos

During one of my recent trips to NYC I took quick trip over to Hoboken so I could snap a few shots of Manhattan’s West Side from the Jersey side of the Hudson. I took the Path train over to NJ and took a stroll through the historic Hoboken Terminal, one of my all-time favorite train stations. It was a Saturday when I visited so the station was largely vacant because the vast majority of the NJ Transit trains it serves only run Monday to Friday.

The Beaux-Arts style Rail and Ferry Terminal buildings were built in 1907. The building was designed by architect Kenneth M Murchison. A lot of work has been put in over the course of the last decade or so to restore this building. I remember what the terminal was like back in the 80’s and 90’s and was no where near as nice as it is now.

Here are a few the pictures I took at the Terminal that day. All photos were taken with my iPhone SE.


74% Rarely or Never Use Mass Transit – Rasmussen Reports™

74% Rarely or Never Use Mass Transit – Rasmussen Reports™.

I am going to come back to this post and add some add comments about this topic. I was a little surprised that so many people in this country never use mass transit. I think more people will use mass transit in the future, but the figures in this report indicate that a lot of work remains to be done to get more people on mass transit.

Santa Fe Depot at night

Here are a couple of pictures I took at Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego last night. The Depot is the main train station for San Diego and services the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, the Coaster train (San Diego commuter train) and the San Diego Trolly. The Spanish Colonial Revival building was opened in 1915 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The safest train in the USA

I was in Oceanside, CA a couple of days ago and happened to see a new Metrolink Hyundai Rotem CEM cab car for the first time. I’m a bit of a train buff so I had to snap a picture. CEM stands for Crash Energy Management. Metrolink is the commuter train line that serves the greater Los Angeles area. Oceanside is the last stop at the southern end of the Metrolink Orange County line. These train cars went into service in 2010 and are claimed to be the safest train cars in the USA by the manufacturer. A total of 117 cars were ordered in the aftermath of two deadly Metrolink train crashes that took place in 2005 and 2008, killing a total of 38 people. The CEM cars have crumple zones that are designed to absorb much of the energy of a crash. The CEM cars also have other new safety features that are designed to make the cars safer for passengers if a crash does occur, including stronger couplers, high backed seats and tables that collapse upon impact. The trains are also equipped with a GPS system designed track the trains and prevent collisions.