Amtrak Along the Hudson at Stuyvesant, New York, May 17, 2013.

Visions of the Great Steel Fleet.

 

On Friday, May 17, 2013, John Pickett and I went for lunch at the Riverview Cafe at Stuyvesant, New York. This is one of John’s favorite places to eat, as it offers a view of both the former New York Central Water Level Route and the Hudson River, and sits a short walk from the old Stuyvesant railway station.

I was visiting John to review some black & white negatives for upcoming book projects. John has a wonderful collection of steam-era photographs, many that he exposed with his own lens, and I’ve published a number of these in recent books, including North American Locomotives published by Voyageur Press.

I enjoy perusing John’s files and finding hidden gems among his images.

One of the photos he made shows a New York Central streamlined J3a Hudson racing west through Palentine Bridge in 1946. John grew up in Canajoharie on the opposite side of the Mohawk River from Palentine Bridge and he has great memories of watching trains in the glory days of the New York Central.

Before we sat down for lunch, John consulted his Amtrak schedule and worked out the times for train 238 running south from Albany and train 281working north from New York City. It was a toss up as he figured they were both due about the same time. ‘How exciting! I wonder which will get here first?’

Amtrak along the Hudson River
Amtrak train 238 crawls by the old New York Central station at Stuyvesant, New York. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.

As it turned out, 238 came first, but rolled through at a crawl. Soon after it passed us, we could here 281 blasting north. John passed the train a friendly wave, and, to our delight, we saw that it had a classic New York Central round-end observation at the back! ‘That was Babbling Brook!’. Neat to see a vestige of the Great Steel Fleet (what New York Central called its Water Level route passenger service) still rolling along at speed.

 

Amtrak along Hudson River.
John Pickett waves to Amtrak train 281 led by dual-mode General Electric locomotive 702 at Stuyvesant, New York on May 17, 2013. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
Observation car on Amtrak 281.
New York Central observation Babbling Brook passes Stuyvesant, New York. Today, the former New York Central Hudson Division has just two main tracks at Stuyvesant; the days of 4-6-4 Hudson-types, 4-8-2 Mohawks, and 4-8-4 Niagaras on the great four track main line are just a memory. Canon EOS 7D with 28-135mm lens.
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